In the 17th century German, Italian and Dutch artists already pictured Small Munsterlander-like dogs on their paintings. Although there are many similarities between these dogs and the Small Munsterlander that we know today, the true origin of the dogs from that time has never been proven exactly

The development of our Small Munsterlander or Heidewachtel can be traced back up to the 19th century. Over one hundred years small brown and white dogs were the companions of hunters in the marshes and moors in the northwestern part of Germany, especially in Westphalia.

By the land reformation introduced in 1840 the viability of hunting in Germany changed. The Small Munsterlander lost its popularity and it seemed that for this type of dogs extinction was inevitable. Only on isolated farms in the moors farmers were able to keep the bloodlines pure by keeping the most promising bitch from a nest and finish the other female pups.

In 1870, there were reports of long-haired dogs in Münsterland that were very good pointers, had a huge rail security and were good in retrieving.

In 1906 the famous German "heather poet" Hermann Löns placed a call in the magazine "Unser Jagdhund" in order to provide him with more information on the remaining "Rotes Hannoversische Heidehund" or "Hannover Bracke”. Instead, his brothers, Edmund and Rudolf Löns, found pointing Wachtelhunden on farms inLower Saxony and called them "Heidewachtels". Together the three brothers then went searching to find good breeding dogs.

In the meantime Baron von Bevervörde-Lohburg, Salesman mr. M.W.Rühl from Burgsteinfurt and Anton Bartscher from Osnabrück tried to come to an acceptable breeding base from the remaining Westphalian Quail Dogs. In 1907 they came in contact with teacher Clemens Heitmann from Steinfurt and found the base for a breeding program in his dogs.
Heitman has bred from the same line with his dogs for over 40 years and was able to trace purebred dogs that were short in back, had long legs and good movement, had a dense medium coat and ample feathering on the tail. The head was long with a nose with often a slight downward curve. The mouth was strong, moderately full, but never short. The ears were small from medium length with good feathers, set high and gave the head a refined and reliable expression. The height of the dogs was between 38 cm and 50 cm and none appeared to have a distinct stop. This Heitmann type of dogs had excellent hunting skills, were bold, easy to handle, very social and loud on track.
In 1911 Löns discovered another breeding line, called the "Dörstener Schlag," which was bred in the area of Velen, Reeken and Coesfeld. This Dörstener type was a very good looking dog, slightly larger than the Heitmann dogs with a heavier head, beautiful brown eyes, well-shaped ears, a good coat and a beautiful feathered tail and it was an excellent and expressive bird dog. The opinion about the origin of this type of dog, was divided among the discoverers. The inhabitants of the Münsterland named the dog Spioen or Magister dog because clerics and teachers in particular liked these dogs.

A hypothesis of "von Otto" in 1904 argues that these types Small Munsterlander were nothing but descendants of the Epagneul Breton brought to Westphalia by officers from the army of Napoleon to use for hunting.
Edmund Lons and Friedrich Jungklaus spoke, however, about an ancient indigenous race which came from North-West Germany and the Netherlands to Westphalia and of which the use could be authorized since 1812.

That period would be consistent with the hypothesis of imports by the French.
Presumably the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Establishment of an association
On March 17, 1912, a group of 68 local hunters came together in Osnabrück and established the “Verband für Kleine Munsterlander Vorstehhunde " (Association of Small Munsterland Pointing Dogs), founded regulations  and a stud book. At that time, the association formulated its goal as follows:

"The Association aims to promote the purity and maintenance of the small long-haired pointing dog bred in Münsterland."

Because of their clearly clarified race characteristics the Small Munsterlanders were accepted by the German hunting dog organization (Verband der Deutsche Jagdgebrauchshund – JGHV – which was already founded in 1899).

However, the lack of a clean breeding standard negatively affected the breeding activities. Therefore, on behalf of the Association, Dr. Med and Phil. Friedrich Jungklaus published a standard which consisted of 12 points and was established in 1921. These 12 points are still the foundation of the current breeding standard of the Small Münsterländer.

The breeding standard as it was written by Jungklaus was revised in 1957 and submitted to the FCI 1964.
Since 1968, the Small Munsterlander (Small Münsterländer) is one of the hunting dog breeds recognized by the FCI. The current version of the breed standard, No. 102, was adopted on 06.12.2004. In the standard a clear description of the requirements for the appearance of the race is given, taking the work demands in account, and is therefore a guarantee for good working qualities in field, forest and water.

Nowadays the name of the breed is set by the FCI as Small Munsterlander (Small Munsterlander) in order to obtain a unique name in each country.


World War II and the GDR
In the Third Reich arose a split within the association as a result of disagreement in the breeding goals. Alongside the Verband fur Kleine Munsterlander Vorstehhunde (Association of Small Munsterland Pointing Dogs)  the Deutsche Small Münsterländer Club (German Small Munsterlander Club) was founded. Both associations were reunited in 1961. Since then the breeding base has grown consistently by different breeding lines of the two associations.

After the war the “Special - Zuchtgemeinschaft Kleine Münsterländer, which was integrated in Gesellschaft für Sprot und Technik from 1958 to 1962, was set in the former GDR on 3 May 1952, led by Otto Capsius. From 1962 it fell under the Ministry of Forestry and was named “Zuchtleitung für Kleine Münsterländer bei der Obersten Jagdbehörde der DDR”. When the Great Munsterlander was integrated by order of the ministry in 1971the Great Munsterlander was integrated and the name was changed to Zuchtleitung für Große und Kleine Munsterlander Münsterländer bei der Obersten Jagdbehörde der DDR.

After the reunification of West and East Germany the Small Munsterlander part of the former GDR-association became part of das Verband für Kleine Munsterlander Vorstehhunde eV.