The Small Munsterlander (in Holland called Heidewachtel) is an elegant, versatile hunting dog with strong hunting qualities which have their base in ancestors from the early 20th century. He is build athletic with middle-long coat in colors brown-white till dark roan. The height varies from 50-54 cm for females and 52-56 cm for males.
It is a versatile hunting dog and hunts before (pointing, searching) and after the shooting (retrieving, trail). In general, it is a dog with a lot of will to please, i.e. combining its versatility with intelligence and rapid adaptability to varied terrain to work for its owner. In the field it is a stabile pointing dog with a great nose and a high endurance even under difficult circumstances. It likes to retrieve and it is an enthusiastic water dog.
However, Small Munsterlander can also be cocky and stubborn. Therefore a solid, consistent but absolutely no harsh way of educating is needed. Yes is always yes and no is always no.
The training of the Small Münsterländer must be consistent and varied in order to teach the dog what is expected of him. Always training in the same way, on the same terrain, does not work with a Small Münsterländer; he will get bored, refuse to do what is asked of him, and can become annoying and will show disobedient behavior.
His stubbornness (which drives some owners to despair) does make him a very initiative hunting dog that can be used for all types of hunting. Through his great retrieving desire and will to please a retrieve of a fox or large Canada goose won’t even be a problem.
The character of the Small Münsterländer is friendly, cheerful and energetic. It's a dog who likes to be with his master who he wants to please by working.
In Holland we see, because of his friendly character, the Small Munsterlander more and more as a family dog instead of hunting dog. There is nothing wrong with that if the dog gets adequate exercise and is sufficiently mentally stimulated. Three times a day a lap around the park for this dog is absolutely insufficient and leads to aberrant behavior as nervousness, destructive behavior and disobedience. When not used as a hunting dog it is important to offer him other challenges in terms of agility, flyball and other dog sports to prevent that the aforementioned undesirable behavior develops.
In huntingtraining groups I unfortunately see more and more Small Munsterlanders that do not meet the breed description and are nervous, anxious to shooting, unwilling to retrieve and/or swim.
Often the problem lies in the upbringing of the dog from the moment that they arrive at their new home as a pup (insufficient training in the important socialization period from week 7 to 5th month), but also the breeding origin plays a role. Because in Holland fewer and fewer Small Munsterlanders are used as active hunting dogs less attention is paid to the preservation of desirable properties as pointing, steady searching, willing to swim and retrieve, steady on shooting and will to please.
Within the Dutch Small Munsterlander Association, all dogs used for the breeding program have to do a performance test where they are more or less tested whether they have the desired properties. (In my oppion unfortunately) Breeding dogs do not need to be in the possession of an official Dutch Hunting Test Certificate, a Field Trial certificate or foreign degree or equivalent foreign Huntingtest (e.g.. VJP, HZP, VGP).They do have to be examined for HD and are yearly tested for hereditary eye diseases.
Moreover, there are still many dogs bred without genetic counseling or even without a pedigree of which it is unclear what the characteristics of his parents are.
Because the Small Munsterlander is so cuddy and so friendly, there is sufficient demand for such dogs with all its consequences.