Betty Burian Kirk
Dog Hair Yarn -
Why Spin Dog Hair?
Handspun dog hair has a different quality than machine spun yarn. Some breeds produce a soft yarn. It makes a useful product, yarn, from the hair that is shed off your own pet. It is generally soft, fuzzy yarn resembling Angora.
Spinning dog hair is nothing new. It was spun long ago by many people. Indians that lived on the northwest coast of America used it. Dog hair sashes, made by the Anasazi, were found in Obelisk Cave, AZ. These date back 1500 years and are on display at the Mesa Verde Museum, CO.
Types of Dog Hair
There are three types of dog hair: whiskers, guard hairs and undercoat. The single coated dogs have whiskers and guard hairs.
The guard hair is thicker and much longer than undercoat hair. It is the level of the coat that is visible to the naked eye and is designed to prevent superficial injuries to the skin primarily offering insulation as a secondary function.
A double coated dog has two layers: undercoat and guard hair as well as whiskers. The undercoat is the layer of the coat that lies closest to the skin. It is fluffy, downy and grows in short clusters so as to provide insulation against the elements.
It is the undercoat that produces the soft luxurious yams. It should be collected by regularly brushing your dog.
Some dogs that have a single coat of silky hair will make a useable yarn when brushings are collected.
Clipped hair is generally undesirable due to the fact that the hair is of too diverse of length to spin a nice yarn and can be very harsh due to the mixing of guard hairs and undercoats.