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This webpage was last updated on May 3, 2024 by Sheila Schmutz

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History of the Large Munsterlander Club of North America®

The Large Munsterlander Club of North America® (LMCNA) was founded in 1977 by Joe and Sheila Schmutz, with the encouragement of the Verband Grosse Munsterlander of Germany. A charter of incorporation was granted by the Minister of Agriculture of Canada in 1999. Randy Haines suggested that an application for a service mark in the United States be prepared and this was registered on December 5, 2000. For 34 years, LMCNA operated as a cooperative group of owners and breeders who believed in its performance-based registry as the sole registry for Large Munsterlanders throughout North America.

In 2012, two daughter organizations were formed.

"The Large Munsterlander Association of Canada (LMAC) will continue to maintain the LM in Canada and the United States. LMAC strives to participate on an international basis in maintaining the essential hunting form and function of the Large Munsterlander as originally conceived in 1919. LMAC invites Canadian and like-minded U.S. breeders to participate in the breed's future and can offer the proven coordination and protection of the Animal Pedigree Act of Canada." (Sheila Schmutz, March 2012)

"The Large Munsterlander Association of America (LMAA) will continue to maintain the LM in the United States, and is committed to building upon the performance-based breeding principles and standards that successfully guided the LMCNA for nearly 35 years. LMAA provides services to LM breeders and owners in the United States. We are committed to maintaining the essential hunting heritage of the LM as originally conceived in 1919. We offer membership to LM enthusiasts in the US, Canada, and internationally." (Craig Ferris, 25 June 2012)

The aims of the Large Munsterlander Club of North America ® (LMCNA®) were to introduce the Large Munsterlander to the North American hunter. LMCNA® fostered a breed-management program which maintained the dog's versatile hunting qualities as a hunter, pointer, retriever and tracker. For offspring to be called Large Munsterlanders dams and sires had to demonstrate adequate performance in hunting, health, temperament and conformation with prior breeding approval by LMCNA®. LMCNA® provided potential buyers of Large Munsterlanders with objective information about all litters born in North America, and invited owners to participate in the breed's management.

Beginning in 2012, the Large Munsterlander Club of North America® (LMCNA®) became a historic entity. All LMCNA® performance and registration records accumulated in its 34-year history from 1977-2011, in Canada, for posterity.

The Large Munsterlander celebrated its 100th birthday in 2019. A review of the major moments in this breed was prepared by Josef Schmutz in commemoration of this milestone.

History of the Large Munsterlander

100 Years of the Large Munsterlander

1919 - 2019

At the 2019 VHDF-Canada test near Alvena, Saskatchewan, participants commemorated the 100-year Anniversary of the Large Munsterlander as a separate breed. Prompted by a picture of LMs and their owners a Century ago, participants reflected on what life was like then, and on the events through time that gave us the dogs we love today. How did this happen?

Long before 1919:

  • Research indicates that dogs were domesticated from Gray Wolves 15,000 to 30,000 years ago. Most of today's 350 dog breeds arose in the past 200 years. Where and how does the Large Munsterlander fit into this timeline?
  • Greek and Roman writers mention a black & white, long-haired hunting dog maintained by the Celts living in what is now Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and southern Germany. The reports already mention pointing as one of the dogs' traits. One of several names in use then was Silk Dog, for its fine hair.
  • These ancestral longhairs became popular in the Middle Ages for bird and small game hunting with nets, falconry and later guns small enough they could be swung. They became recognized as "bird dogs" and at this time brown & white individuals were first mentioned.

Before 1919:

  • These so-called Black and Whites had been part of the Deutsch Langhaar breed, the German Long-haired Pointer (GLP). Its breed standard was formalized in 1879 and allowed brown or black color.
  • This black color variant of the GLP was only reluctantly included then. The mantra was "pure-breeding" and the dominant-recessive inheritance mechanism that controls black and brown pigment was confusing and not generally understood at this time.
  • In 1908, the Verein Deutsch Langhaar decided to exclude black color once and for all, retaining only solid brown or brown-and-white dogs within its breed standard.


At an 11 February 1919 meeting of owners of black & white long-haired versatile dogs in Haltern, in the Münsterland of northwestern Germany, the assembly agreed on a breed standard for one of the last breeds of versatile dogs to emerge in Germany, the Large Munsterlander. This newly written standard for what was actually a very old breed, was recorded in the corporate registry and is protected to today.

  • The original name was Großer Schwarz-weißer Münsterländer. Hunters simply nicknamed the dogs "the Black & Whites", as this colour had not been adopted for any of the versatile breeds at the time.
  • Two separate clubs formed to begin promoting the Large Munsterlander. One club was registered in Essen and one in Haltern, merely 50 km apart from one another. Both clubs merged in 1969 to form the Verband Große Münsterländer (VGM) that we know today.


  • The owners' of the Black and Whites first priority was to encourage breeders to strive for a type that could be recognized across the board as a LM. They participated in the many regional single- or all-breed hunting dog clubs for information exchange and for field testing. These regional clubs were gradually united under the Jagdgebrauchshundverband (JGHV) formed in 1899.
  • As a recognizable type began to emerge, LM owners then formulated a hunting test protocol, similar to so many other breed clubs. The first test was held on 24 October 1925. This test became the foundation test for breeders. The accompanying group picture shows seven LMs that are recognizably similar and would fit nicely into any line-up of LMs today.
  • The brothers Karl and Johann vorm Walde were staunch supporters of the Large Munsterlander. They are recognized for their commitment by the VGM having named its invitational test, the vorm Walde Herbstzuchtprüfung.
  • There are other notable people shown in this group picture. A.E. Westmark was a schoolteacher and bred LMs for decades. Westmark helped form the Haltern club in 1919, and served as secretary in it. The pedigree of the first LM Sheila and I imported in 1972, still showed Westmark’s Karlo as an ancestor, whelped in 1948.
  • Westmark was well acquainted with Edmund Löns, a devoted supporter of the Small Munsterlander, who is also shown in the picture. Sigbot (Bodo) Winterhelt married a daughter of Edmund Löns. Bodo Winterhelt introduced the versatile dog concept to North American hunters when he first emigrated to Canada and later the United States.

The Second World War was a difficult time for maintaining the working dog standards set by hunters decades earlier. The breeds’ population sizes declined reducing the breeders’ choices for mates and threatening the health of the populations overall. All German breeds suffered. During the Allied Forces occupation, hunters had to give up their guns. Especially at this critical time, hunters questioned why the German Longhair and the Large Munsterlander were ever separated. The division served neither group well.

1970 and beyond:

  • The VGM’s breeding commission took the logical step to reach out to the Verein Deutsch Langhaar and introduced German Longhairs into the LM’s gene pool. From 1967 to 1983, 13 litters resulted from pre-planned pairings between LMs and German Longhairs.
  • These “LM-GLP” offspring were recorded in an appendix to the LM registry. This was indicated by the prefix reg. preceding the registration number and year. If the offspring were black, and could pass both a conformation and field test, they could then be bred to the traditional LMs.
  • Hip Dysplasia became a challenge. The VGM began to require x-rays and introduced gradual changes to the breeding protocol.
  • Initially females with borderline HD could still be bred. Then from 1982 on, females had to be HD-free and later both dam and sire needed to be HD-free.


  • The VGM invited other breeders and breed clubs in other nations to join the VGM in a Weltverband, or World Organization, as other versatile dog breed clubs had done. The goal was to avoid a misrepresentation which the VGM feels threatens the identity of the breed abroad. Members of the Weltverband are asked to agree to breed LMs under the guidelines stated in the original intent of the breed in 1919. This is to say a LM needs to conform to the standard and prove full versatility in the field, in water and in the forest.
  • Currently, ten LM clubs have responded to the call to become members of the World Association. The Large Munsterlander Association of Canada (LMAC) has not yet joined.

Many dedicated people applied themselves with forethought and diligence to guide the Large Munsterlander as a first rate hunting dog. The LM gained a reputation not only as a capable hunter but an intelligent dog that responds well to training and living with the family. Among the many people who helped achieve the successes of today was Egon Vornholt. Vornholt also facilitated the import of four dogs to Canada.

  • He died in May 2016, at age 90.
  • He played many key roles in the development of the LM in Germany over more than 50 years, including as a hunter, breeder, VGM officer and particularly as breed warden.
  • He wrote Der Große Münsterländer in 1983 which was updated and reprinted in 2004.
  • Vornholt also wrote a 108-page historical summary for the VGM’s 75th Anniversary in 1994.
  • In 1980, he wrote a book showing the previously scattered registry records, to keep them from being lost.

The accompanying photograph shows left to right: Anneliese Vornholt and Sheila Schmutz with Caesar vom Mennonitenhof. Caesar was the result of a LM x GLP pairing. Egon Vornholt and Joe Schmutz stand with Bea von St. Vit. Both dogs were selected by Vornholt for us.

The successful creation of versatile dogs and a versatile dog culture by the brothers vorm Walde, A.E, Westmark and many, many others is a unique achievement. There is no group of animals on earth that have been so successfully shaped over generations for such a variety and often potentially opposing tasks, as fully versatile dogs do today. It is uncertain what the next hundred years will bring for versatile hunting dogs. For the LM, we can always remember the selfless dedication and achievements of a handful of visionaries and the black & white Longhairs at their sides.


  • Verband Große Münsterländer e.V. (2019). "100 Jahre Große Münsterländer: Chronik des Verbandes Große Münsterländer e.V." 135 pp.
  • Vornholt, E. (1980). "Historisches Zuchtbuch mit Eintragungen des Zuchtjahre 1934-1943." Verband Große Münsterländer e.V., Wilhelm Rehms & Co., Borken, Germany.
  • Vornholt, E. (1983). "Große Münsterländer: Praktische Ratschläge für Haltung, Pflege und Erziehung." Verlagsgesellschaft Rudolf Müller GmbH, Köln-Braunsfeld, Germany, 100 pp. Updated version reprinted in 2004.
  • Wagner, F. (2019). "JGV Bayern: 100 Jahre im Dienste des Jagdgebrauchshundewesens. Klare Bekenntnisse zum Jagdgebrauchshund aus Leistungszucht, seiner Ausbildung und Prüfung, sowie zur Jagd in Bayern als Kulturgut." Der Jagdgebrauchshund(8): 8-10.

by Joe Schmutz

Profile of a Large Munsterlander

The Large Munsterlander is one of several continental breeds of versatile hunting dogs. It gained breed recognition in the Münsterland of northwestern Germany in 1919. Although this makes the LM the last of the German breeds to gain official representation by a separate breed club, the LM was recognized as a black color variant of the brown German Longhaired Pointer going back to its breed club formation in 1878. Even before that time, the forerunner of the modern LM can be recognized in artists' representations of hunting scenes as far back as the Middle Ages.

The LM is a black and white dog with hair of medium length. They weigh 50-75 lbs with males about 60-67 cm and females 58-63 cm at the shoulder. In its German homeland and some other countries, this dog has been bred for over a century for hunting and not show. Hence coat color is highly variable, ranging from predominantly white to predominantly black. Markings occur as solid white patches, or ticked or roan regions.

This field dog characteristically is calm, gentle and intelligent, and therefore also valued as a family dog. The versatile and cooperative characteristics of the LM provide for a reliable companion for all facets of hunting. It is well suited for a variety of game, including the tracking of big game as practiced by some owners. On average, LMs search well outside of gun range in open country but are still responsive and not independent. LMs excel as bird finders before and after the shot due to excellent noses and a purposeful searching style with good coverage, rather than speed. Many LMs point with intensity from puppyhood on, and many honor naturally. Given their passion for retrieving, steadiness needs to be encouraged through training, especially in the exuberant youngster. LMs tend to be strong in the water. The LM's long and thick coat protects them against cold and allows them to search dense cover thoroughly. Even so, their coat is a compromise well suited for temperate climates. Short-haired breeds may be better suited for upland hunting in the hot South, while the oily and dense coat of retrieving specialists makes them better suited for prolonged water work in the late-season North.

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