Non Conventional Fibres Association

Bison Hair fibre

Zoological Information

  • The scientific name of the American Bison, often referred to simply as “bison,” is Bison bison. It belongs to the family Bovidae.
  • There are two subspecies: the Plains Bison (Bison bison bison) and the Wood Bison (Bison bison athabascae).
  • In the wild, the lifespan of bison (Bison bison) typically ranges from 15 to 20 years.
  • Bison predominantly feed on grasses but also include flowering plants, lichens, and leaves from woody plants in their diet. 
  • On average, bison consume approximately 1.6% of their body mass per day in the form of dry vegetation.
  • It is a close relative of the yak.

Habitat and fibre production

  • Bison, indigenous to North America, once freely traversed the expansive grasslands and prairies spanning from Canada to Mexico. 
  • Annually, during spring, they undergo the shedding of their coats. 
  • The bison’s fur comprises rugged guard hairs and delicate down hairs.
  • The yak features a two-layered coat, with an outer coarse layer serving as protection against harsh climate, while the inner, finer layer serves to offer warmth and insulation to the animal. 
  • The production of hair per animal is around 1-2 kg and the total annual production is 5 tons.

Physical properties



Length (mm)


Diameter (µm)


Tenacity (cN/tex)





  • The outer guard hair of bison is characterized by its greater length, coarseness, and strength, in stark contrast to the inner hair, which is silky, soft, fine, and possesses a lustrous quality. 
  • The guard hairs are hollow, and unlike the inner hair fibers, they do not contain a medulla.
  • The fine-down hairs are solid and covered with fine scales. 
  • The diameter of undercoat hair fibres in bison is comparable to that of fine and medium-grade sheep’s wool.
  • Items crafted from bison hair fibre are incredibly soft, boast temperature-regulating properties, are hypoallergenic, and exhibit antimicrobial qualities. 
  • Additionally, these products are low-maintenance and easy to care for.

Typical uses

  • Fibres derived from these sources have been employed by Americans to craft high-end ropes, and they are also utilized as insulation stuffing. 
  • United by Blue, an outdoor company, endeavoured to manufacture socks by blending bison hair with merino wool, resulting in a durable yarn[1].
  • Also, knitted products like shawls and scarves are produced by blending the bison hair fibres with other natural animal fibres.