Small Munsterlanders

The Small Munsterlander is little known in North America, but in Europe he’s a popular hunting dog and companion. With his strong natural instincts and high level of endurance in the face of rough terrain and wet or cold conditions, it’s easy to see why. He has a feathered, medium-length patched, ticked or roan coat in chestnut and white and a weight range of 38 to 58 pounds. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering acquiring a Small Munsterlander.

Traits, Personality and Behavior

It would be a shame to get a Small Munsterlander if you don't plan to hunt him. It's what he's born to do, and his tracking, pointing and retrieving instincts are strong. In fact, many Small Munsterlander breeders will only place their pups in hunting homes. If you can meet his needs in this area and provide him with a large fenced yard and plenty of daily exercise, he will be a cheerful, friendly, gentle family companion.

The Small Munsterlander is highly trainable but needs gentle handling with positive reinforcement techniques. Force or unfair treatment will only elicit stubborn resistance.

Comb the coat frequently to prevent or remove mats and tangles. A bath every six weeks or so doesn't go amiss. In addition, trim the nails as needed, brush the teeth, and keep the ears clean and dry to prevent infections. Last but not least, it should go without saying that a people-loving dog like the Small Munsterlander needs to live in the house. It's an unhappy Small Munsterlander who is relegated to the backyard with little or no human companionship.

Health Issues Common to Small Munsterlanders

All purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

That said, Small Munsterlanders are generally healthy. To be approved for breeding by the Small Munsterlander Club of North America, dogs must have passed an evaluation by the SMCNA breed council regarding their genetic health, temperament, conformation and hunting abilities.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of hip dysplasia by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or PennHIP. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Hip Dysplasia Low $1,500-$6,000

5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Small Munsterlander Puppy

Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. For a list of breeders visit the website of the Small Munsterlander Club of North America.

Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health problems in Small Munsterlanders aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an older dog, most of them can be ruled out. Small Munsterlanders can live 13 to 14 years, so an adult dog will still be a part of your family for a long time to come.

Puppy or adult, take your Small Munsterlander to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You're more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to housetrain puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Pet Insurance for Small Munsterlanders

Pet insurance for Small Munsterlanders costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Small Munsterlanders are slightly more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat. Embrace dog insurance offers full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are preexisting) to which Small Munsterlanders are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Small Munsterlander is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.