Home to Beautiful Borzois in the Watchung Mountains
CH. Majenkir My Ksar Mikhailovna
CH. Majenkir My Way x CH. Ksar Majenkir Gifted
After having the privilege of knowing Karen Staudt-Cartabona for two years
through membership in our local breed club, one day she said to Bob and me, “I
would like you to come to see me.” We were quite taken aback by those words,
since we know there are people all over the world who live for such an
invitation, or who wish they could see Majenkir, or meet Karen just once in their
lives. Here we are so fortunate by chance to know Karen, and as if that is not
enough, to have an invitation to visit her at her home and kennel, Majenkir. I
acknowledged a simple “Thank you”, and left it at that. Some time later, she
repeated the invitation. I felt not to accept would be rude, so we set a date and
planned the visit. We had heard so much about Majenkir and Karen’s home,
what was truth and what was myth, we could not imagine how to sort it out.
Immediately upon arriving at Majenkir, I understood that I was entering a
special world: a world immersed in borzoi. Although it was both enchanting and
beautiful, it was also gravely serious. Everything I saw was for and about the
borzoi, but most of all, loving them. There, I had the privilege to see the famous
Majenkir borzoi for which Karen is famous, especially those 100 foot long runs,
like the great Russian borzoi kennels had before the Revolution! They were
everywhere, set up side by side. For the borzoi’s protection from outsiders and
predators, Karen keeps guard dogs. She has a German Shepherd and another
majestic dog I had never seen before, a Leonberger.
For Karen, this is her life and her life’s work. Seeing her at home, at Majenkir –
one and the same – one better understands her unique success. I had never seen a
kennel with so much available space to keep, raise and train dogs in such a
spectacular setting. It is worthy of mention that the grounds of Majenkir
themselves are expansive, endowed with many trees and a wide expanses of
lawn like an arboretum, and just as beautiful. Tucked away as it is in a north-
western corner of New Jersey, her front yard and house overlook Swartswood
Lake. The vista creates a tableau like a scene from an old French master
painting, in the style of the latter career of Jean Baptiste-Camille Corot in its
color and gray tones, and how it captures light. Moreover, I had believed there
were no longer places like this left in New Jersey, that it was a way of life that
had gone away long ago. I was enchanted to see one such place still remained.
This was just one of the unexpected gifts I received that day from visiting
We were reluctant to enter the property through a gate that would have brought
us to the back door of the house because it was well guarded by a German
Shepherd Dog. Instead, we found the gate to the front lawn. From there, we
found the front door to the great house built all of field-stone, and we rang the
bell to announce our arrival. Karen herself opened the door and graciously
welcomed us. It was the same inside as outdoors: there, too, was a life immersed
with borzoi. Karen shared her home intimately with them. They were either
lying on beds throughout the house, too comfortable to acknowledge our arrival,
or graciously rising to greet us and be petted, their sublimely beautiful faces
sweetly gazing up to ours. Borzoi porcelains, framed artwork, large rosettes, and
trophies she had won over the years, adorned the house wherever the eye rested.
I was mesmerized and overwhelmed by all that I saw Karen was very lovely and told us she had a particular dog in mind for us. She was a young bitch and a ”Michael” daughter. We were somewhat overwhelmed and did not know what a “Michael” daughter meant. Besides, we thought we wanted a puppy. Karen thought otherwise. This was a disagreement, and that would not be a good thing. Then, Karen tactfully asked if we would like to see all of the dogs available, and then we could make a decision. Still thinking we wanted a puppy, we agreed this would be a good idea. Off we went together.
It was nothing short of a study of dog husbandry to see Karen’s kennel. Karen’s
dogs are kept outdoors in large, long, spacious runs with a shelter within them.
The dogs are kept out in nature as much as possible. Majenkir is known for this
method of keeping dogs. It does require having a great deal of space, more space
than most people in New Jersey have.
The first run we stopped at was the run with the bitch Karen had in mind for us.
There were three of four bitches together, all big, white bitches, wildly leaping
high in the air as we approached. Karen said, “Oh, these are the wild ones! This
one is Mikhailya”. She managed to put a leash on Mikhailya and brought her
outside of the run but she continued to leap wildly into the air. Karen disciplined
her a bit. I think it may have been the first time Mikhailya had a leash on her.
She was quite a handful! Then, Karen put Mikhailya back in the run and we
Meanwhile, the most handsome borzoi, “Michael”, Majenkir My Way, appeared
and began following us around. This was Mikhailya’s sire. I had never seen a
borzoi so big, strong and handsome, with such a striking coat and head, and a
sweet temperament. He represents a truly outstanding example of Majenkir type.
This was one of Karen’s famous stud dogs and a great champion. On that day, he
was acting like a puppy, nudging my hands, wanting to be petted and being very
sweet. I remember telling Karen that I just adored him. She agreed he was
something rather special.
By the end of the tour, we were back inside. Karen served us tea, and then asked what we thought. She asked us which of the dogs we thought we wanted. I laughed and said, “Michael of course!”. Well, he was not for sale, so then I said, my second choice was a daughter of Michael, having long forgotten that
“Mikhailya”, the first bitch that Karen had shown us, and her pick for us, was a
Michael daughter! With that, Karen’s face beamed into a smile, and she said,
“Oh, you mean, Mikhailya!” I could not believe I had picked that unruly, wild
bitch! Oh, well, that’s what I get for not paying attention.
After we finished our tea, we went out to see Mikhailya again. Karen went over
her with us, showing us all of her fine qualities, and I got to see how pretty she
was. I could not imagine that Karen was selling us such a fine quality bitch. She
looked better than most Champion Dogs I knew. She was truly outstanding.
Karen said she wanted us to have her because she knew we would get her out to
the shows and finish her. We knew this was a supreme complement. We lived up
to Karen’s expectation. It did not happen that year though. Mikhailya needed to
put on some weight and to put another winter under her. When that time passed,
in the Spring of 2005, she was ready.
Nothing was more joyful than bringing Mikhailya home. Not only did we have
the honor of bringing home a fine Majenkir bitch, she bonded to us immediately,
a tribute to the great Majenkir temperament. What good is beauty and perfect
conformation without an excellent temperament? Further, Mikhailya is a
wonderful ambassador for her breed. There is never a time when we are out at a
show or walking in a park when she does not willingly let people who admire
her come up to her and pet her, children and adults alike. She is a happy, gentle,
sweet and affectionate borzoi bitch.
Mikhailya completed her Championship Title in stunning style in just four
months with five majors, impressively finishing at the Delaware Water Gap
Kennel Club Dog Show on May 9, 2005. With her exceptional beauty and
smooth, flowing gait, Mikhailya flew around the ring in championship style
again and again. Although we are ecstatic with pride for Mikhailya’s outstanding
accomplishment, we wish to acknowledge the support of our friends without
whom this exceptional championship win would not have been possible. First, to
our friends, Roni and Jennifer Zucker, for their assistance and mentoring, and
especially for Jennifer for her expert handling of Mikhahilya to her early wins.
Also, to the respected judges who acknowledged Mikhailya’s qualities in the
ring. And finally, to Karen Staudt-Cartabona of Majenkir, for her kindness and
generosity in letting Mikhailya come to live with us at Blyss Kennels.
We have been truly blessed to have Mikhailya at Blyss Kennels. We are
currently competing with her as a Special and introducing her to obedience.
Karen plans to breed her at Majenkir during the second half of 2007. We wait in great anticipation for Mikhailya’s puppies.