When my co-worker, Don, showed me a picture of his dog Blue, my first questions were, Does he shed? How soft is his hair? Can I have some? When he brought me a small bag of it I was elated!
Blue is a breed known as a Samoyed that originated in Russia. Taken from the web: Samoyeds have a dense, double layer coat. The topcoat contains long, coarse, and straight guard hairs, which appear white but have a hint of silver coloring. This top layer keeps the undercoat relatively clean and free of debris. The under layer, or undercoat, consists of a dense, soft, and short fur that keeps the dog warm. The undercoat is typically shed heavily once or twice a year, and this seasonal process is sometimes referred to as "blowing coat". This does not mean the Samoyed will only shed during that time however; fine hairs (versus the dense clumps shed during seasonal shedding) will be shed all year round, and have a tendency to stick to cloth and float in the air. The standard Samoyed may come in a mixture of biscuit and white coloring, although pure white and all biscuit dogs are common. Males typically have larger ruffs than females.
Because I don't have a drum carder, I spun the yarn straight from the wads of hair from the bag, so mine came out a bit 'lumpy bumpy', but I actually love the texture. I did not separate the outer coat from the under coat, so it is mixed with softness and some wirey hair.
I wasn't sure how dog hair would stand up in a traditional knitted garment, so I decided to make a keepsake felted bowl for Don and his family. This yarn actually felted nicely and has a softness that does not even compare to merino wool. I had a bit left over and made Mrs. Don a crocheted flower pin as well.
I guess you can say that I've joined the hopelessly addicted group of people known as spinners. I no longer look at a dog and say, "What a cute dog".... I know say, "Humm.... could I give that hair a spin?"