I received some encouraging comments as soon as the “Kennel Records” article appeared on the BIS Daily website yesterday: obviously readers enjoy reading what experienced dog people have to say. One of the breeders I had contacted, Karen Staudt-Cartabona of the Majenkir Borzoi, was not able to respond in time to be included in the article, but her answer to my question about what kind of kennel records she keeps is so interesting that I believe our audience will greatly benefit.
Majenkir has been a force in Borzoi for forty years, influencing breeding programs in the U.S. and abroad. The number of Majenkir champions must be close to 400 (Karen stopped counting years ago, at 350), and there are numerous all-breed and specialty BIS winners, top producers, etc. as well. Here’s Karen’s response:
“My own kennel record keeping and research over the 50 years that I have been in Borzoi includes parts of each of the groups Bo refers to in his question, from hand-written notes to detailed computer records.
“As far as records go, the scribbled notes over the years moved from piles to loosely stuffed files, then into cabinets and drawers, finally into boxes in attic and basement. This included information such as all birth information for each litter: weights, placentas, any difficulty, time between pups, evaluation at birth, etc.
“All important records, such as AKC registrations, health records, show photos, are filed and stored in steel cabinets which line the walls of an office and other rooms. A spiral-bound notebook has always been used to record all sales information; date of sale of each pup or adult, new owner’s name, address and any information pertaining to that pup and litter, including AKC registered name, microchip number or tattoo, show prospect or pet, etc. Stud services go in the same books.
“Bookkeeping itself has gone through all phases over the years. My detailed records and notes are slipped into paper files, and then spread throughout the house. I am an artist and as such, I have always maintained that “I work out of the left side of my brain” — meaning that my organization method is entirely my own and an art form in itself. I can reach into a pile and find what is needed.
“My correspondence has moved onto computers where it is easy to file and store, then retrieve as needed. There have been a few disasters which came with computer crashes over the years. While it is easy to look up information on the Internet, I still find it more convenient to surround my computers with sticky pad note reminders. An example was when eleven of my dogs came within points or a major to finish this year; I wrote their names , AKC numbers and points needed on scratch paper left next to the computer to prompt me as to which dogs to enter where, when doing online entries.
“Over the years when my mentors, and now my peers, have passed, I learned that as valuable as their individual collections and records were to each of them, their heirs and even peers considered all of it as just so much trash, and to my way of thinking quite valuable collections were disposed of as such.
“Over the years I have relied heavily on memory for breeding research. I visualize each dog in the pedigree, remembering strengths and weaknesses, then combine each prospective breeding until I decided on the one I envisioned to be most suitable.
“Of extreme importance to record keeping and future plannings were the lengthy conversations with other breeders. I miss so many of my peers, who actually maintained kennels and knew the dogs and pedigrees back many generations. We would play the game, “If you owned this bitch, who would you breed her to, and what do you think you would get?” This was an amazingly simple little game which could open your eye to a stud dog that was never in consideration.
“Records of how many BIS dogs, National Specialty winners, Top Producers, ROMS or such that the kennel has produced, have never been maintained. Fortunately these type of records are mostly available online for anyone with extra time and capable of doing some careful research.”