The Large Munsterlander (or Großer Münsterländer) is a breed of gun dog originally from the Münster region in Germany. The Kennel Club (KC) in England recognised the breed in 1919 and established the breed standard in 1921.
The Large Munsterlander should be athletic, intelligent, noble, and elegant in appearance. Its body should be the same length as its height at the withers. The dog should be muscular without being bulky. Its gait should be fluid and elastic.
Size Large Munsterlander should be 60 to 65 cm (24 to 26 in) at the withers for males, 58 to 63 cm (23 to 25 in) for females. It should weigh approximately 30 kg (66 lb).
Coat and colour The coat is black and white with hair of medium length. Due to the nature of the piebald gene, the amount of black in an individual's coat pattern is highly variable, ranging from predominantly white to predominantly black. Markings occur as solid black patches, with black ticking or roan filling in the white fur in varying degrees of concentration. Usually, the head is predominantly black and the tip of the tail is white, regardless of the distribution of black and white, and roan and ticking on the rest of the body. The coat is dense, but should be firm and sleek.
Breed standard The UK Kennel club standard for the breed is: General Appearance Alert and energetic, with strong muscular body, having good movement with drive. Characteristics Multi-purpose gundog, ideal for the rough shooter. Excellent nose, staying power, and works equally well on land and in water. A keen worker, easily taught. Temperament Loyal, affectionate and trustworthy. Head and Skull Well proportioned to body, elongated. Skull sufficiently broad, slightly rounded, with no pronounced occiput. Strong jaw muscles, well formed black nose, wide soft nostrils, slight rise from the nasal bone to the forehead but no pronounced stop. Lips slightly rounded, and well fitting. Eyes Intelligent, medium size, dark brown, not deep-set or protruding. No haw showing. Ears Broad and set high, lying flat and close to the head, with a rounded tip. Hair on the ears should be long, extending beyond the tip. Mouth Strong and sound, with well-developed teeth, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Neck Strong, muscular, slightly arched, joining the shoulder and chest smoothly. Forequarters Chest, wide and with good depth of brisket. Shoulders laid well back, forelegs straight, pasterns strong. Body Firm, strong back, short coupled, slightly higher at the withers, sloping smoothly towards the croup and tail. Wide, well-muscled loin, wide croup, ribs well sprung, deep and reaching well up to the loin. Taut abdomen, slightly tucked up. Length of body, measured from point of shoulder to point of buttock should, ideally, be equal to height at withers, but may exceed height at withers by 2 cm. Hindquarters Hips broad. Well muscled thighs, well turned stifles, hocks well let down. Dewclaws should be removed. Feet Tight, moderately rounded and well knuckled with dense hair between the toes, well padded. Strong nails. Tail Docked: Previously, docking of tip of tail was optional; Undocked: Well set on, in line with the back. Base thick, tapering evenly towards the tip, well feathered. It should be carried horizontally or curved slightly upwards. Gait/Movement Free, long-striding, springy gait. Coat Hair long and dense, but not curly or coarse. Well feathered on front and hindlegs and on tail, more so in dogs than in bitches. Hair must lie short and smooth on the head. Colour Head solid black, white blaze, snip or star allowed. Body white or blue roan with black patches, flecked, ticked, or combination of these. Size Height: dogs 60 to 65 cm (24 to 26 in); bitches 58 to 63 cm (23 to 25 in) Faults Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog. Note Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
History The Large Munsterlander is one of several continental breeds of versatile hunting dogs. Although the breed is one of the last of the German breeds to gain official representation by a separate breed club, the Large Munsterlander was recognised as a colour variant of the German Longhaired Pointer prior to that time. The breed first gained official recognition in the Munsterland of northwestern Germany in the early 1900s. However, the forerunner of the modern Large Munsterlander can be recognised in artist's representations of hunting scenes as far back as the Middle Ages. The Large Munsterlander was introduced to North America by Kurt von Kleist in 1966.
Field ability This field dog characteristically is calm, gentle with children and well adjusted to living in the master's dwelling. The versatile characteristics of the breed provide for a reliable companion for all facets of hunting. A recent comparison of the scores of 82 Large Munsterlanders with 104 other versatile breeds entered in North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) tests showed that the Large Munsterlander is a versatile dog with a difference. On average, Large Munsterlanders work closer and are more responsive to the handler than other breeds although the Large Munsterlander's pointing instinct matures later. The breed displayed greater cooperation than other breeds and an excellent concentration in the tracking and recovery of crippled game birds. During search for game, most dogs range 50 to 150 yards (46 to 137 m), depending on cover. Their long and thick coat protects them against cold and allows them to search dense cover thoroughly, but as a result leaves them more susceptible to burrs.