Chiengora is dog hair or fur which has been woven in the same fashion as other animal hair fibers to produce yarn . The more common sources for animal fibers are sheep, llamas, goats, etc., but there is no reason members of the genus Canis shouldn't do their part.

The fur coat of several dog breeds, (Great Pyrenees, for example), is similar to other animals in that there are two layers. The layer we are most familiar with is of course the outer layer, which contains coarse guard hairs. The inner coat is much finer, yielding a soft and fuzzy yarn when spun. Short fibers can be mixed with other animal fibers such as wool to facilitate spinning. It is suggested that fibers be at least two inches in length, shorter lengths requiring mixing with other fibers.

The idea of using dog hair for spinning yarn seems odd, but considering the cleanliness of sheep and other fiber producing animals, dogs start to seem reasonable. I mean, have you ever observed the south end of a northbound sheep? Not at all attractive, what with its collection of danglings. But once washed and sheared, the fiber becomes a thing of beauty. So, while Spot may be your household pet, he or she can also contribute to your wardrobe.

The term Chiengora is pronounced she-an-gor-a and is a composite of Chien, which is French for dog, and gora, derived from angora. Angora is the fiber most similar to dog fur.

The spun yarn can be knitted or crocheted into mufflers, hats, mittens, sweaters, and other articles. It is very warm and somewhat water repellant.

The use of dog hair dates from ancient Scandinavia as well as the Native-American Navajo and some Pacific Northwestern tribes. They found the secret benefit in using dog fur in that it is 80% warmer than wool.

Sources:

http://blondebynature.com/practical-pet-fur-use-chiengora-yarn/

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2006/03/chiengora_chic_handspinning_do.html

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=584156

http://reviews.ebay.com/Chiengora-It-apos-s-Not-Just-Dog-Hair_W0QQugidZ10000000000023868

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