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Large Munsterlander

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021
The Large Munsterlander is a gundog from an area in Germany called Munster hence its name. It is a large dog with a life span of 11 to 13 years and is also called Großer Münsterländer or Grosser Munsterlander Vorstehhund. It is a modern dog developed at the start of the 20th century to hunt with using the German Longhaired Pointer. It is popular in Europe for its great endurance, strong instincts and ability to handle any terrain and weather. It is multipurpose so it can hunt on both land and water. It is a fairly rare breed though especially in North America.
The Large Munsterlander at a Glance
Name Large Munsterlander
Other names Großer Münsterländer, Grosser Munsterlander Vorstehhund
Nicknames Munsterlander
Origin Germany
Average size Large
Average weight 50 to 70 pounds
Average height 23 to 26 inches
Life span 11 to 13 years
Coat type Sleek, dense, firm, medium length
Hypoallergenic No
Color Black, white
Popularity Not yet ranked by the AKC
Intelligence Very good – this is a smart dog
Tolerance to heat Good to very good
Tolerance to cold Good to very good
Shedding Average with heavier seasonal shedding– will be some hair around the home all year, and then heavy amounts once or twice a year
Drooling Moderate to average – some slobber and drool when drinking mostly
Obesity Average – measure its food and make sure it is well exercised
Grooming/brushing Above average – brush three times a week or more
Barking Occasional – will be some barking but should not be constant
Exercise needs High – this is an active breed that needs active owners
Trainability Easy to train
Friendliness Very good – social and friendly with socialization
Good first dog Very good as long as given enough activity
Good family pet Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with children Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with other dogs Very good to excellent with socialization
Good with other pets Good with socialization but has high prey drive
Good with strangers Good with socialization but wary
Good apartment dog Low – needs space and a yard or land
Handles alone time well Moderate – does not like being alone for long periods
Health issues Fairly healthy but some issues include hip dysplasia and eye problems
Medical expenses $485 a year for basic medical care and pet insurance
Food expenses $260 a year for a good quality dry dog food and treats
Miscellaneous expenses $675 a year for grooming, license, basic training, toys and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $1420 as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $900
Rescue organizations LMAA Rescue, Large Munsterlander Rescue UK, check local shelters and rescues
Biting Statistics None reported

The Large Munsterlander’s Beginnings

The Large Munsterlander was bred to be multipurpose able to hunt on land and water and to be a HPR Gundog meaning it can hunt, point and retrieve. While some refer to it as a German bird dog it can hunt other game too. It has great senses, a strong hunting instinct and can deal with various terrain and climates. It was developed in Germany in a region called Munsterland which is in the northwest, and was at first recognized as a certain coat color type of German Longhaired Pointer.

Its ancestors can be traced back to the Middle Ages, but this dog is fairly modern, it was recognized as a separate breed first in Germany in the early 1900s, and this was also one a separate breed club was formed for it. It actually is one of the last German breeds to have been given official recognition. It stands out from the Small Munsterlander not just in size but also in coloring too. For a few decades it was a popular dog across Europe to hunt with but with the Great Depression making dog breeding hard to afford, and the second world war, its numbers dropped and the breed was facing extinction.

New Lease on Life

This breed was saved from disappearing by some dedicated breeders after the second world war. They were introduced to the US in 1966 by Kurt von Kleist and eventually a breed club was formed there called the Large Munsterlander Club of North America. In 2006 it was given recognition by the United Kennel Club but is yet to have full recognition from the AKC. In the UK it was recognized by the Kennel Club in 1971, and it does well against other continental gun dogs in HPR field trials. While its numbers are low making it rare, its popularity is on the increase.

The Dog You See Today

The Large Munsterlander is a large breed weighing 50 to 70 pounds and standing 23 to 26 inches tall. It has an elegant and noble look to it and its body is the same length as its height making it squared shape. It is well balanced and while the dog is powerful and muscular it should not be husky or bulky. Usually as well as being larger in general, the males have larger heads as well as more feathering then the females. The feet are strong and firm with black nails and the tail is held horizontally. In places where docking is still allowed some remove the end of the tail, but in many places in Europe especially it is banned so the tail is its natural length. It does resemble a Setter but in fact the skull is different being slightly rounded and broader. It has broad ears that hang down and have rounded tips, dark eyes and a scissor bite.

The dog’s coat is medium length and black and white in color but there can be variations in how much black there is in the coat so dogs can range from one extreme of being mostly white to the other of being mostly black. There can be patches, ticking or flecking. In most cases though the dog has a mostly black head and the tip of the tail is white, whatever else is happening in between! All black is not desirable but does happen and brown coats are possible but rare. It is a dense coat and is sleek and firm. There is a lot of feathering around the chest, belly, ears, tail and legs.

Large Munsterlander

The Inner Large Munsterlander


The Large Munsterlander is a noble, brave and intelligent dog and as well as being athletic and a great hunting dog, with good owners it is also a great companion and family pet. In the field it is able to hunt, point and retrieve, it is adaptable and focused, hard working, obedient and responsive. As a companion it is friendly, cheerful, loyal and sensitive. It needs owners who are able to be firm as the pack leader without scolding or physically punishing them. If it is with owners who are too meek or do not give it enough mental and physical activity it can be destructive, loud and hard to live with.

This dog does not like being left alone for long periods, it thrives on human companionship and becomes devoted to its owners. It will bark to let you know of an intruder breaking in but is not a guard dog. Its barking should just be occasional not frequent. You will have to deal with it carrying things around in its mouth as it enjoys retrieving things and that will come out even in the home. Usually when raised well it is calm and gentle inside. With strangers if is wary but with socialization should be just reserved until it gets to know them.

Living with a Large Munsterlander

What will training look like?

As the Large Munsterlander is an intelligent dog it is fairly easy to train, especially if you have some experience. Its hunting instincts are actually quite ingrained and obedience training and socialization when started early should go well. Socialization means allowing it to meet and adjust to different people, places, situations, animals and sounds. When training you need to be consistent and firm, patient and positive. Use methods that encourage, reward and motivate it, it is sensitive and does not respond well to harshness. In the right hands its training can even happen quicker than many dogs as it will need less repetition and it is eager to please.

How active is the Large Munsterlander?

This is a strong and enduring hunting dog, it was bred to work so it has a lot of stamina and can concentrate for hours. It needs active owners and ideally ones who take it out to hunt often. If it is not being hunted with it will need other jobs and training to keep it happy. Mental stimulation is as important too. If it is not exercised well enough or given enough mental challenge it becomes high strung, over excited, destructive and hard to live with. It is not best suited to apartment living, as it needs space and a yard or even land. This is certainly a dog best suited to rural living than urban and it can adapt to any terrain. It enjoys the water, it loves to play, it can go on hikes with you and join you for other activity. It will also need two good long brisk walks, play with you, and opportunities to run and roam somewhere safe.

Large Munsterlander

Caring for the Large Munsterlander

Grooming needs

This dog needs regular brushing as the feathering means it can mat easily. It also sheds so there will be some hair around the home and it will shed heavier amounts during its blow outs with seasonal shedding. Expect to brush at least three time a week or even daily and after being out in the field. Some owners also opt to have their dog trimmed by a professional groomer now and then. Only bathe though when it really needs one. It is not a good idea to set a frequent bathing schedule as that can dry its natural oils. That is also why only a dog shampoo should be used. It is worth mentioning that females tends to have shorter coats that need a bit less care than males.

Brush its teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs two to three times a week at least. That will help keep its oral health good and its breath fresher. The nails should be trimmed when they get too long. Get some dog nail clippers or scissors and take a close look at its nails. Look for where it changes color about half way down and make sure you do not cut into the lower part. It will bleed and hurt the dog. Your Large Munsterlander’s ears should be checked weekly in case of infection – signs include redness, discharge or a bad smell for example. Give them a clean by wiping carefully, never inserting anything into them.

Feeding Time

The Large Munsterlander will eat about 2½ to 4 cups of a good quality dry dog food a day split into at least two meals. The amount varies as it depends on different things like how old it is, its size, level of activity, rate of metabolism and its health. Give it water too and keep it as fresh as possible.

How is the Large Munsterlander with children and other animals?

With children the Large Munsterlander can be good, affectionate, playful and gentle when socialized and especially when raised with them. Make sure children are taught how to play and touch dogs in an acceptable manner. It can be boisterous in its play sometimes so small children can get accidentally knocked over, supervision is a good idea. Being raised with other pets it can also accept them as part of the family but being a hunter with a high prey drive it may chase them, especially birds and rodents or rabbits for example.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

This dog has a life span of between 11 to 13 years and is a healthy dog in general though there are a few issues to be aware of. These include hip dysplasia, bloat, arthritis and osteochondrosis. To get a puppy that has better chances at good health use breeders that are certified, experienced and can give parental health clearances.

Biting Statistics

In reports of dog attacks over the last three and a half decades in the US and Canada (which have done bodily harm), there is no mention of the Large Munsterland. It is not an aggressive dog but that said this is also not a dog that is common in North America. Therefore the chances of it being involved in such things are reduced. All dogs have the potential to have an off day but with good owners the potential for trouble can be lowered though never eliminated. Make sure they are well socialized, trained, exercised, stimulated and loved.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

A Large Munsterlander puppy will cost about $900 from a respectable breeder of pet quality dogs but that could go up a good amount for something from a top breeder, and it is a rare breed so will take longer to find. Expect the possibility of being placed on a waiting list when you do. Do not use questionable breeders like backyard breeders or pet stores, or puppy mills. Rescuing a dog is another way to bring home a new best friend if you are not set on only having a Large Munsterlander or if you are happy with a mix. There are many dogs in local shelters and rescues, desperate for someone to love them and a new home. Adopting such dogs usually ranges from $50 to $400.

Large Munsterlander

There are obviously some other costs to pay out when your dog is coming home. Items needed include things like a crate, carrier, collar and leash, bowls and such for about $200. Then it should be taken to a vet once it has settled in for some medical needs like a physical, shots, microchipping, spaying or neutering, blood tests and deworming and these will cost about $290.

Yearly costs to care for the dog are another factor to think about in pet ownership. Basic health care needs like shots, flea and tick prevention, check ups and pet insurance will cost about $485 a year. A good quality or better dry dog food and treats will cost another $260 a year. Then miscellaneous annual costs like toys, grooming, basic training, license and miscellaneous items are another $675. This gives a starting figure cost of about $1420 annually.


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The Large Munsterlander really is a dog bred to hunt and will be happiest with owners who hunt with it. Otherwise it will need other avenues for physical activity and mental stimulation. Owners need to be active and happy to be out every day with the dog. In fact there are some breeders who will only place the dogs in homes that will hunt with them. It makes a loyal and cheerful companion too and training is easy just do not be too harsh with it.

Featured Image Credit: Cavan-Images, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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