New Owners Thoughts on a Large Munsterlander

pups feeding

Introduction

One of the main advantages of the internet is the ease of sharing information and experiences so to this aim I’m attempting to write down my experiences as a first time dog owner and first time dog show participant.  At the time of writing, my wee dog Skye, a Large Munsterlander, is just under 10 months old and some background on my self may help you understand the style of my writing and the types of things that I get interested in. My education and job has geared towards science and IT with charts, numbers, all in the support and problem solving arena. My personal interests, which you may not think to look at me now, have been competitive cycling where I would record things like resting heart rate, weight. I would use a heart rate monitor for training schedules etc.  All of which is very boring to many people but I seem to enjoy.

pups feeding

Thanks

Skye would be a completely different dog if the people that we have met, through owning Skye, had not welcomed our muddy paws into their homes. We thank them whole-heartedly for keeping us on the right tracks and helped socialise our, not so wee now, dog. I will not be offended with any advice, regarding the welfare of my dog, that you are willing to offer so please keep it coming.

pups feeding

Food

Our first concern for the wee dog was food. Are we giving her enough or too much! So we weighed her once a week and our thoughts were that as long as her weight was on the up then that was okay. We were initially shocked at how much she gained per week so we were always asking “Are we feeding her too much?”  The reply was always “She is fine”. We started with Arden Grange puppy complete but changed to Royal Cannin as she always seemed to eat her sister’s food with more gusto.

Food Summary

  • She gained approximately 1kg (2.2lbs) per week between 8 wk's to 24 wk's then it started tapering down. See chart below for details.
  • She would go off her food for a couple of days after worming tablets.
  • Weight of food and no. of meals per day were adjusted as she got older and heavier. The quantities were almost identical to that recommended by the manufacturer but if she finished every meal, in a given day, then I would add some more (about 10%) the next day.  
  • We do add some different flavored tripe type food, which is described as a complete meal for working dogs, to the dry meal. This is not recommended by the manufactures of the dry food but my thoughts are if I give Skye 50% of a dry food complete meal and 50% of tripe complete meal then Skye will be getting a complete meal. 

Large Munsterlander Bitch

Weight by Week

2 – 9 ½ months

A beginners tail pups feeding

Origins of the Large Munsterlander (LM).

Out of curiosity I started looking for more detail on the history of the Large Munsterlander, one of the up sides of the internet, but a downside is that what I found may not be accurate. I was interested to find out how Kennel Clubs in different countries described the breed. We were also interested to find out a rough estimate of Skye’s final weight and height. n.b. we do have a picture in our minds eye as we have met her mum and dad but have never gone with a tape measure and scales. I may do this, if the owners don’t mind, at a later date to compare Skye to once she is fully grown – I told you this could get boring! 

The history of LM’s mentions that the German Longhaired Pointer (GLP) was the basis of the breed and Gordon Setters and Irish Setters were used to “make the GLP more racy”. So I had a nosey around a few Kennel Club web sites to see how they described the size of each of these breeds and found some to be a lot more specific than others. I have included the table below to show what I found.

 

Weight and Height of Breed Imperial Sizes DOGS BITCHES
Weight (lbs) Height (inches) Weight (lbs) Height (inches)
www.grossermuensterlaender.de  * LM

Around 66 23 ½ - 25 ½ Around 66 23-25
UK LMC club LM As UK Kennel club
UK  KC   LM No mention 23 ½ - 25 ½ No mention 23-25
GLP Approx 66 24-28
ideal 25-26
Approx  66 23-26
ideal 24-24 ½
Gordon Setter 65 26 56 24 ½
Irish Setter Weight and height not mentioned in breed standard
LMC club of North America LM The LM is a 53-76 lb black and white dog hair of medium length.
American KC LM Didn’t find anything
GLP Didn’t find anything
Gordon Setter 55-80 24-27 45-70 23-26
Irish Setter 70 27
variance beyond an inch up or down is to be discouraged
60 25
variance beyond an inch up or down is to be discouraged
Irish KC Irish Setter No mention 24 ½ - 26 No mention 22 ½ - 24

* used a web translator to get this so not 100% sure on accuracy

Summary of Size

Well, Skye will end up – goodness knows.  At 9 ½ months she is 23 ½ inches tall and 54 pounds in weight. I’ll check her once a month from now on to see how she changes. I never measured her height on a weekly basis when she was a pup and I wished I had – so that I could have added another line to the graph above.

Exercise

We were advised that 10-15min walking a couple of times per day would be enough for the first 3 to 4 months and it wasn’t until you realised how much the wee dogs weight was increasing that it was sound advise. I.e. there was no need to increase the time as the dog was doing more exercise because its own body weight was increasing by day! Imagine a rucksack on your back and each week add another 5kg, say, then go for a set walk or run.

Most walks were in the 20-25mins when she was 4-6 months then we started throwing in some longer ones as her weight gain stared tapering off. I didn’t plan the increase in time, it just sort of happened and looking back now it was actually quite sensible. She is nearly ten months now and every 2nd day we do a 35-40min walk, well I walk and Skye runs about among the trees. The other days we go back to 20-25min.  On an adhoc basis she meets up with her mum and sister and other relatives where they have a good free run for about an hour. This makes for one tired doggy, so the next day is a rest day, (a cycle training term), therefore a gentle 10min walk is all that’s required. We also try to have an easy day the day before one of these munsterlander bashes.

Training

We took her to a weekly puppy training class as soon as her vaccinations were complete where she met lots of other dogs. I think she did about 8 weeks then it stopped for the summer holidays and on the last night the club had arranged for someone from the Kennel club to judge the pups on their Good Citizen Bronze level.  I was very shocked that Skye passed but the heat in the hall helped that night as all the wee dogs were quite happy to lye down for 1min – something she hadn’t managed, on a oner, before.

I’ve invested in a couple of books on using a clicker which I am finding very useful on SOME aspects of training.  As a first time dog owner, I needed some guidance or a set method to help teach me and my dog.  The steps and ideas in the books have helped.
Another book that was very useful was “Puppies for Dummies” which we bought and read before we collected Skye. We have also enjoyed the TV programme “Its me or the dog” and hopefully that’s enough to make sure we have a happy obedient dog.

Socialisation

Skye’s dad does a lot of agility so we visited him on three or four occasions and couldn’t believe how big these events were. Number of dogs, people, caravans, tents - dogs jumping, weaving, and climbing all weekend. I was told this was good for Skye’s socialisation as she is not likely to meet as many dogs and people for a whole year on her walks at home, and true, she is not phased in these environments but she can’t understand why people on the local High Street don’t have dogs for her to speak to or why they don’t speak to her. Needless to say she tries to speak to them.

Also, for Skye’s socialisation we go to ringcraft classes. We have gone every week, almost, to a class and Skye gets to meet even more dogs which she loves.  I have to agree that all this mixing with people and dogs does help the wee dog.

Separation Anxiety

We were aware that you had to make sure that your dog did not get stressed when left alone so from when she was a pup we deliberately left her on her own a few times a day. The routine was play in the garden for a few minutes, let her do her business, back in the house to relax for a few minutes then we would put her in her cage but its amazing how quickly wee pups fall asleep so we took this as a cue to leave her BUT that was a big mistake as she didn’t really know how long we were away.  Needless to say we ended up with a dog that howled when left alone.

What to do?

We put her in her cage as normal,  i.e. after her walk and with a Kong to chew, then I would sit at the other side of a door and when she started howling I just spoke, things like “settle down” and if she did “Good girl” Eventually she would settle down, take a drink then fall asleep. I did this a couple of times a day for a week or so then decided to record myself saying those things onto a CD. There are random times of silence ranging from 30secs to 3min between my “settle downs” etc. I then placed a CD player behind the door and played the CD, on a loop, when she was placed in her cage and this worked the same as if I was behind the door, each week I would reduce the volume a notch until it was almost inaudible.

When I came back, I would deliberately ignore Skye – which is very hard to do – make a cup of tea and wait until she relaxed from the excitement of my return. When she did, she was let out the cage and we had some fun.

We now have a dog that runs into her cage after her long walk waiting for her Kong chew. We do this every day during the week, and occasionally at the weekend, so that she has time alone – up to 2 hours.   I’m fortunate that I don’t work at the moment so she doesn’t have to be alone any longer than that.

Showing

I was apprehensive before our first show especially as Skye seemed a lot more hyper than normal so I was dreading going in the ring. N.b. I wasn’t as nervous as I used to get before a bike race as it was Skye that would be performing and not me.  I was in a sort of tunnel vision mode and can’t really remember much of what happened.  I do remember deliberately trying to get the first position in the line-up to get the majority of the work over and done quickly. I was quietly surprised how calm Skye was in the ring compared with her behaviour half an hour before so the ringcraft must have worked. My first comments once the judge had decided his result was “I’m not doing this again” as I ran out the ring but we have been to a few more shows. I still have minor tunnel vision and forget to watch what’s going on around us.

When I look at photographs of how I show Skye I can see lots of room for improvement and all the other handlers just seem so relaxed and seem to get the best out of their dogs. A major thing that I have to work on is the ability to hold my dogs head still but it is me that’s a bit squeamish, i.e. I hide behind a cushion with medical things on the TV, and my imagination gets the better of me when I feel the bone under her chin. Get a grip you might say but I seem to be having a problem there.

Judging

When I was noseying around the breed descriptions I came across the following table in the American KC for Gordon Setters. It is the only one that I have seen on my internet travels Nb. I haven’t looked at every breed. As a newbie at showing and having a science background then things like this make me feel comfortable. I consider dog showing to be a bit like ice-dancing, diving, even body building though where you will have your technical element then artistic impression and as it says for the Gordon Setter “to be used as a guide”. So I take my hat off to the people who judge.

Scale of Points To be used as a guide when judging the Gordon Setter:

Head and neck (include ears and eyes) 10
Body 15
Shoulders, forelegs, forefeet 10
Hind legs and feet 10
Tail 5
Coat 8
Color and markings 5
Temperament 10
Size, general appearance 15
Gait 12
Total 100