When I lived in Olympia, Washington, I knew a woman who was a professional spinner and weaver. She made beautiful wearable items as well as decorative wall hangings, throw rugs, and blankets.
What's unusual about her is that among the many kinds of fiber she used was dog hair. She owned three enormous (and extremely friendly and exuberant) Great Pyrenees, a breed with huge quantities of silky white hair, and she'd periodically brush their coats, wash the fur that came out, and spin it into thread. She showed me a knit hat she'd made entirely from dog fur -- it was softer than angora.
Turns out, that region of the world has a long history of doing this. A paper last week in Science looked at a legend amongst the Coast Salish, especially the Sto:lo, Skokomish, and Snuneymuxw tribes, of "woolly dogs" whose soft fur was spun, dyed, and woven into ceremonial rugs and cloaks that were a symbol of authority. (My weaver friend in Washington didn't belong to this tradition -- she was from Luton, England -- although she may have gotten inspiration for it from Indigenous sources. Or, maybe, she just owned three gigantic hairy dogs and came up with a way to use the copious fur they produced. I'm not sure.)
In any case, the people of European descent who settled in the Northwest thought this was just a legend -- that any dogs belonging to the Coast Salish were very recent imports, possibly the descendants of dogs brought in by whalers and explorers from Japan or Russia. In any case, the woolly dogs of the Salish had completely vanished by 1900, so it seemed like there was no way to be sure. But there was one hard piece of evidence to study -- the pelt of a dog named Mutton who had been acquired as a puppy by an ethnographer in 1859.
DNA analysis of Mutton's pelt showed something fascinating -- he wasn't closely related to Japanese breeds like the Akita or Shiba Inu, nor to northern European breeds like the Spitz and Samoyed. Mutton's DNA showed his lineage had diverged from all other known dog breeds at least four thousand years ago, so very likely he and the others of his breed had been brought over from Siberia by the ancestors of the Coast Salish many millennia ago."It’s nice to hear Western science say this is how long you’ve had a relationship with woolly dogs," said study co-author Michael Pavel, a knowledge keeper of the Skokomish Nation. "Often we are the subjects of research, but in this case, we were able to weave our considerable knowledge together with a Western scientific perspective."