Chiengora describes a quality standard for yarn or wool spun from dog hair, usually referred to as dog wool. The word is a portmanteau of chien (the French word for dog) and angora. Dog hair is up to 80% warmer than wool[1] and is not elastic.

Often dog hair is blended with wool during the carding process to make dog wool. This blend has some give to it, which is preferable when knitting. It is also often blended with sheep wool in order to create a yarn with less heat insulation.

Dog Wool Yarn described as "Chiengora" fits certain criteria of quality. It has to be odor-less, clean and well-spun to gain the right for this name.


In general spinning dog hair is not a new art form. Dog hair has been found in yarns dating back from pre-historic Scandinavia, and in textiles from the Navajo and Northwest Coast native Americans of North America. It was the main fiber spun on the Northern American continent before the Spaniards introduced sheep.[2]

The best hairs for this application are from 'Northern' breeds, such as Newfoundlands, Chow Chows, Samoyed, Norwegian Elkhounds, and the like.

In modern times it is rarely used. In general it is only used by hand spinners with pet dogs.

In recent years yarn made from dog fibers are gaining attention as a company from Germany is collecting the previously wasted resource of dog fibers on a large scale to make it accessible to the textile and fashion industry as a sustainable yarn alternative. The developed distinctive high quality yarns are the basis of judgement for a yarn made from dog fibers to be called not dog wool, but "Chiengora".

See also

  • Salish Wool Dog


  1. ^ Choron, Sandra; Choron, Harry. Planet Dog: A Doglopedia. Houghton Mifflin. p. 326.ISBN 0-618-51752-9. Google Book Search. Retrieved on May 3, 2008.
  2. ^ Greer, J. Suzanne. "Evaluation of Non-Traditional Animal Fibers for Use in Textile Products". Thesis submitted to the Graduate Faculty of North Carolina State University. (2003)

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