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Dog wool

April 4, 2009

dsc_7809Charlie is starting to molt for the spring.  Keeshonden don’t shed like your run of the mill dog.  They “blow”.

Keeshonden have a double coat  which consists of a woolly undercoat and longer guard hairs.

The undercoat, upon closer observation is made up of millions of individual hairs which are not straight, but rather kinky, similar to lambs wool. This unique shape allows the hair to loft, thereby providing outstanding insulating value from both the cold of Winter as well as the Summer heat, much like a down comforter provides protection from a cold, chilly night.

The outer coat consists of “guard” hairs which are straighter and coarser. These specialized hairs guard the undercoat from damage. They  are somewhat effective in repelling burrs, rain and other things which may affect the loft of the undercoat.

Twice a year for females and once a year for males, the Keeshond “blows” all of its undercoat.  Large clumps of the undercoat fall off creating fur tumbleweeds which blow across the floor.  The fur on Charlie’s hind legs has started to blow this week.  It will take about 3-4 weeks for the entire undercoat to come off.   Because it is so light and airy, it has a lot of volume and can quickly fill the garbage can.

As a knitter, I am looking at all this wool-like material and wondering if I should spin into yarn. There are books that describe how to go from pooch to sweater.  I wonder if the husband would wear the finished product….

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