Icons of the Dog World: Dorothy Wimer
Learn about the contributions of dog breeder Dorothy Wimer of Pool Forge Sealyham Terriers.
Amy Fernandez |
September 1, 2011
Pool Forge Sealyham Terriers
Dorothy Wimer judging her beloved Sealyham Terrier breed. Photo Gilbert.
From the 1950s to the ’80s, Pool Forge Kennel presented outstanding terriers. Dorothy Wimer also bred Beagles, Harriers, Airedale Terriers, Lakeland Terriers, Welsh Terriers, Wire Fox Terriers and Smooth Fox Terriers, but she is most closely associated with top-quality Sealyham Terriers.
Born in Philadelphia, in 1908, Dorothy Adelheim Fullerton Wimer purchased her first pair of Sealyham Terriers when she was 15. From then on, her devotion to the breed never wavered. Her Pool Forge kennel prefix came from her home in Churchtown, Pa. This historic landmark in northeast Lancaster County’s iron center predated the Revolutionary War.
The Wimers converted the two-story stone office of the original forge into Pool Forge kennel. Their 27-acre property also included several small stone buildings and a sandstone mansion. “It was an old stone house with big fireplaces set in a beautiful valley in Pennsylvania Dutch Country,” recalls Margery Good, who worked there for four years beginning in 1979.
Then 28, Good had just purchased her kennel and needed to supplement her income. “So I went up there and pulled hair a couple of afternoons a week. At that time, Mrs. Wimer kept almost equal numbers of all the small terriers. She had beautiful Lakeland Terriers, Wire Fox Terriers and Welsh Terriers, and of course, the Sealyham Terriers.”
Good fittingly calls her the Grand Lady of Pool Forge. “Spending time there was a great experience for me. She was a fascinating person with such a wide range of interests. She would come down to the kennel and check out the dogs we were grooming for shows. Sometimes I had supper with her. I also traveled to shows with Dave Johnson, Mrs. Wimer’s kennel manager.”
The most notable Pool Forge Sealyham Terrier was Eng./Am. Ch. Dersade Bobby’s Girl. Known as Binny, she was handled by Peter Green who discovered her in Wales. Originally sold as a pet, Green managed to convince Binny’s owner, Bobby Jones, to sell her to Pool Forge. She came to America in 1973 and finished in three shows during Montgomery weekend.
A year later she was the Quaker Oats Terrier Group winner. She racked up 42 Bests and 74 Groups in 1975 to become top terrier. But the best was yet to come. In 1977 she earned her 52nd BIS, becoming the fourth Sealyham Terrier to win Westminster, the first in 41 years.
“I used to love watching Peter show Binny,” says Good. “She had tremendous Sealyham Terrier type and showmanship, and a great ground-covering stride.” Good also emphasizes the challenge of keeping a Sealyham Terrier in perfect show coat for a lengthy campaign. “No one had generators and dryers at the shows. You towel dried the dog, put cornstarch on the furnishings and brushed it out. You can see that the finish work was very different back then.”
Binny was bred only once, to Ch. Pool Forge King’s Ransom. She produced three bitch puppies and Dorothy kept the best one as her house dog. “She was absolutely beautiful, but she was never bred,” says Good. “As far as I know nothing comes down from that great bitch. The line is lost.”
To many Sealyham Terrier breeders, another Pool Forge import was even more outstanding. “There are very few pictures of that dog,” says Good, “but in my mind St. Margaret Steve is what I want a Sealyham Terrier to look like.” Eng./Am. Ch. St. Margaret Steve, whelped in 1957, ranked as Britain’s top dog before he was exported to Pool Forge in the early 1960s. Steve went on to become a multi BIS and specialty winner, and the model used for the 1962 illustrated standard.
Dorothy’s Sealyham Terriers had a tremendous influence, but that wasn’t her only major contribution to American purebreds. She also bred Harriers under the Brentcliff prefix. Her stud dog, Chief, came from a pack in England. She didn’t breed that many litters but she placed quite a few Harrier puppies in show homes and did much for the breed. [Ed. note: The best known of Mrs. Wimer’s Harriers was Ch. Brentcliff Jill, handled by the Flowers to many great BIS wins – AR] In 2003 AKC formally retired the Brentcliff kennel prefix.
Dorothy closed Pool Forge kennel in the late 1980s. The kennel and the property became more than she wanted to manage. Her children didn’t want it and she didn’t think it was fair to them or the dogs to expect them to cope with it after she was gone. It was a practical decision, but one that was not without heartache. Dorothy passed away in 1994.
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