You knew I wouldn't be able to resist trying it, right? I can't believe how simple it is to spin dog hair. It's actually easier than spinning wool, and the end result is softer, too. For those who are interested, here's how I did it:
First, I should note that all of the dog hair I am using is hair that I have collected from my own, relatively clean dogs, through brushing only (no clippings or dust bunnies). Because the hair is fairly clean and brushed, it doesn't actually need washing or carding before spinning. I will have to wash the yarn after spinning, but this seems much easier to me than washing, carding, and oiling it prior to spinning, and then washing the yarn again to remove the oil after spinning.
All I do to prepare my fiber is pull a handful of fluff out of the bag and pick out any foreign material and guard hairs. My dogs, a Golden Retriever and a Newfoundland, are both double-coated dogs. They have a soft, downy undercoat that feels a lot like angora, and a coarser, shinier outer coat. Guard hairs are hairs from the outer coat. I only want to spin the downy undercoat, so I need to remove any guard hairs, which would make the yarn coarse and "hairy". Most of the hair that my dogs shed consists of the downy undercoat, so there aren't too many guard hairs in my saved fiber. This is what the discarded material looks like:
And this is the fiber ready for spinning:
I just sort of roll a pile of the fluff into a manageable sausage, wrap a little around my leader, and start spinning, exactly as I would if it were wool.
The fiber is quite silky, and because it is not washed prior to spinning, it retains enough natural oil that the individual fibers slide easily past one another to make drafting smooth and pleasant. The final product is a soft, slightly fuzzy yarn, similar to an angora/wool blend. I am looking forward to spinning and plying some more of this so that I can knit a swatch and see how it turns out. So, yes, there will be knitting content shortly!