Spinning yarn

My friend and her husband raise Timberwolves and timber hybrids, been doing so for over eight years. Since I used to help with various task like brushing , feeding and bathing them on a weekly basis, I am fairly familar with their fur. I was thinking on said fur this evening. I would love to spin some of the undercoat into yarn. Since Wolf fur is hypoallergenic and comes in awesome earthy tones...would be a great addition to my "exotic" yarn collection. Figured on how to make a yarn drop spindle, very cheap method using wooden dowels, a wooden wheel and a cup hanging hook...anyhow...just wondered if anyone else has tried to spin any yarn?


teejtc's picture

I haven't spun anything other than wool or alpaca, but my understanding is that dog fur DOES spin but that it's VERY hot and it tends to smell "dog-ish" when wet. I've heard that it spins best when mixed with wool.

Not much help, but maybe a start...

Grace and peace,

ksmarguy's picture

I spun a very small sample of my dogs fur and it does spin nicely. I agree with tim that it could be very warm and would probably blend it with something. it could make a beautiful yarn, though and wanted to make more "Jasper Yarn" before I moved, but was unable to do so. He was a chow, belgian Tevuran, Coyote mix and the coloring was gorgeous. Try it, you have nothing to lose except a few fun-filled hours spinning!

Kilthoser's picture

I'm a very beginning spinner, but I've been spinning my saved-up border collie's fur just this week in fact. When she gets in the rain, though, she sure does look like a sheep; her fur has those little ringlet things goin' on. When I brush her with the pet brush every couple of days, the soft, soft alpaca-like grey/brown undercoat comes out but thankfully not many of the LOOOOOOONG black and white outer hairs (I kid you not...18'' some of them!).

I have a couple of old carding combs that I'm carding with, and I'm rolling the carded fur directly from the tines of the carders between a pair of knitting needles making to make tight "puni"s for spinning. It seems to work, but I don't have any previous experience to reference it too...but I can't tell whether it's my inept carding or my inept draughting that is preventing my yarn from being smooth and and completely even. I NEED LESSONS! But all things considered, so far it's going to be useable I think; I'd heard that dog fur seems to naturally want to S twist, so I spun in that direction. There was just WAY too much twist though, so that instead of being like angora or icelandic wool, it was tight as twine. I managed to take the bobbin that I'd spun, drastically reduce the spinning ratio on the wheel, and run it back through the spinning wheel in the OPPOSITE direction onto a fresh spindle to take out a bit of the twist...and it worked! It's soft and fluffy. Any experienced spinners got a nifty tip for learning to keep the twist down?

Body by God; shetland socks courtesy of Fred

"Body by God; shetland socks courtesy of Fred"

Tom Hart's picture

I had a Samoyed/Siberian Husky once and she shed boatloads of winter underfur once the weather got warm.

MMario's picture

My brother in law has a beautiful vest made from the undercoat of the siberian husky/border collie mix he used to own. The chiengora was mixed with alpaca to spin. The vest is toasty warm!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Friends that have spun dog hair either blended it with wool or kept the yarn fine to help counter the warmth factor. The number one thing is to practice and be patient. (Just like with knitting.) Looking forward to updates. There are some neat web links that talk of making your own spindles...some with a CD, others with a wooden tire from the miniature section at a craft store. Takes a bit of tweaking to find a good balance point for optimal spin but is easily done. That is what I used to make a Balkan style double whorl spindle. Fast spin and very tight twist...I wouldn't recommend it for dog hair. The single whorl models can be either top or bottom whorls; either spin well. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

potterdc's picture


Type "Spinning the Dead Dog Down" in the search engine and you'll find a blog entry that I posted about spinning my Tibetan Mastiff's coat. I plied what I spun up with wool, and just finished knitting up a very warm vest out of the resulting yarn.

I will say that I have washed it several times, and it does NOT in fact still smell dog-ish even when wet. Well, either that or I've just gotten used to the smell!

My current profile pic is me with our new mastiff. She's 6 months old now and almost 70 lbs, and with a beautiful golden coat. I look forward to seeing what it looks like spun up.

Good luck,

Think less, enjoy it more.

Think less, enjoy it more.

grandcarriage's picture

I've spun an ENORMOUS amount of dog fur~ Possibly as much as all other fibers combined: An afghan's worth out of samoyed. And sweaters out of both rough and border collie. Also chow, afghan-hound, and poodle. (The last spins exactly like wool, no kidding) My 2cents worth:

Dog fur can vary greatly over the age of the animal and the specific animal, just like sheep, alpaca, etc. If you want the yarn to be consistent, blend the fiber of several animals thoroughly, picking out guard hairs as they come along. I usually DON'T mix it with wool. I might ply it with a fine silk or laceweight mohair. I find the yarn is best spun fine: sock or finer. I don't find it any warmer than say mohair, but that might depend on the animal.

Drop spindles are very cheap: You can usually find a good one for well under 20. I'd suggest learning with a pre-made one that's reliable and medium light weigh, but that's just my moan.

PS: Shampooed dog fiber doesn't smell like a wet dog when wet anymore than wool smells like a wet sheep when wet. That rumour is just garbage.

Good luck.