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The Small Munsterlander Club of America

One of the major traits of the Small Munsterlander is its strong tracking and retrieving instinct, something that ensures the recovery of wounded and dead birds that fall in heavy cover.

"Some teams did real well and some needed more practice, but everyone had a good time," says Dr. Gene Kluck, a Watertown, South Dakota, veterinarian, German wirehaired pointer owner and one of the volunteer judges for the Munsterlander chukar hunt. "When I was asked to judge this event, I was at first a little hesitant because a mid-summer hunt for pen-raised partridge didn't sound like a promising idea," Kluck admits.

"The birds, however, were good fliers in addition to sometimes running ahead of the dogs and eventually holding real well to be pointed. Many of the Munsterlanders had never seen chukars, but most of the dogs recognized and treated them as any other game bird and did good work following, finding, pointing and fetching the birds.

"At the end of the chukar hunt, we gathered up the birds and cleaned them, then grilled them for a noon lunch," Kluck recollects. "We cooked the chukars along with beef burgers just in case anyone didn't want to eat partridge. But one taste of the game meat and it was all gone in a couple minutes. That sure added a lot to the hunting experience."

Canine Good Citizen Test
Another regular event of the Small Munsterlander annual meeting is the "Canine Good Citizen Test," a 10-point examination of acceptable "good" dog behavior in a variety of social settings. The test, a formal procedure devised by the American Kennel Club, is designed to evaluate any breed of dog according to its ability to calmly interact with human strangers and the presence of other dogs without lapsing into any form of disruptive or unruly behavior.

The Canine Good Citizen Test, a regular event during the Small Munsterlander national convention, evaluates a dog's trainability, temperament and cooperation in a social situation involving people and other canines.

The test includes having the dog walk through a crowd of people and confront other dogs, sit and stay on command, directly react to distractions and sit and stay when left alone. In addition, the test administrator will examine the dog's ears, mouth and feet, looking for friendly cooperation and calm temperament. Any growling or snapping at any stage of the test will disqualify the dog from the testing program.

"All this sounds pretty simple. But to pass the test, time and effort in training are necessary," says Debra Krsnich, the Canine Good Citizen Test coordinator and head evaluator for the Small Munsterlander Club. "About half the dogs fail the first time through because they have to pass each of the 10 steps in the testing program. Any dog that fails the first time can be re-tested as many times as necessary after some re-training," Krsnich explains.

"The CGC Test goes beyond just seeing if a dog has acceptable social behavior," adds Dean Rasmussen, a Small Munsterlander Club member from Clark, South Dakota. "When you watch any Munsterlander take this test, you will learn a lot about each dog's trainability, temperament and cooperation. All these factors are important considerations when making decisions about breeding my dogs to anyone else's dog."

"One reason we get such a good turnout for our annual meeting is that we have done a good job of mixing business with pleasure," says Bev Turner, newly elected president of the Small Munsterlander Club. "Our sessions on club policy issues, along with the seminars and lectures, are pretty serious. But when we're done, we have fun training our dogs and, of course, a good time hunting with them in the contest."

Only a few of the Small Munsterlanders in the chukar hunt had ever seen pen-raised partridge. A majority of the dogs in the hunting-contest-training-session, however, after being introduced to the birds, did a good job of finding, pointing and retrieving the birds in thick stands of prairie grass.

"Building and maintaining a membership are both key components in establishing a national club for any breed of gun dog," Tom McDonald feels. "What we have here isn't perfect, but every year our membership has increased and the interest in owning and breeding Small Munsterlanders certainly is growing. Because of our club, more good litters of pups are available, more young and adult dogs are being tested in NAVHDA and more of our breed is found hunting game birds every hunting season all across the country."

For more information on the Small Munsterlander Club of America or on organizing a national meeting according to the SMCA model, call Bev Turner at 402-625-2626 or e-mail her at 65610@alltel.net.


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