Dogs In Review Talks to Lydia Coleman Hutchinson, Wolfpit Cairn Terriers
Although few kennels can boast over six decades of continuous breeding, Wolfpit Cairn Terriers, owned by Lydia Coleman Hutchinson and her parents before her, has had Cairns since 1939 and been breeding and showing since 1949. Who is this remarkable woman, the senior Cairn breeder in the U.S. who began showing dogs in Children’s Handling when she was 10 years old, and what are her methods for carrying on such a highly successful and influential breeding program for so many years? Lydia answered our questions from the over 200-year-old farmhouse she shares with her husband, Dwight, in Middletown, Md., where they and the Wolfpit Cairns have lived since 1990.
SL: Lydia, you grew up in a show dog family, didn’t you?
LH: I was blessed to grow up in purebred dogs as my parents, Esther and Taylor Coleman, were given their first Cairn Terrier two months before my birth. They became involved in showing a grandson of that first bitch when I was 9 years old, and I soon followed in their footsteps by starting to show dogs in Children’s Handling when I was 10. That was in 1949, and I began showing in the breed ring the next year. I didn’t have a lot of choice in picking Cairns since I was “born into” that breed, but I couldn’t have wished for a better breed. I love their temperaments, size, hardiness and gameness.
SL: Did you have any mentors or guides during your younger years?
LH: My first Cairn mentor was Miss Helen Hunt of the Shagbark Kennel; she also was a well-known breeder and judge of Toggenburg goats. Another influential person for me was Mrs. Ralph Stone of the Caithness Kennel. She started in Cairns a few years after we did but had a background in breeding and showing horses that helped her to become a successful dog breeder. She, my parents and I were all close friends and learned about Cairns together. Another very important mentor for me was Miss M. Ruelle Kelchner of the famous Hollycourt Miniature Poodle Kennel. She was a very intelligent woman who studied line breeding and used it with great success. She taught me so much about combining pedigrees, as well as evaluating individual dogs.
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