Yes. Most of the warmth of a fur is actually provided by the dense underfur (“duvet”), while the longer guard-hairs provide protection against branches, wind and rain.

Shearing is now often used to reduce the bulkiness and weight of a fur coat, and while the thickness of the under-fur may sometimes also be reduced, its main goal is to shorten the guard-hairs. In the best sheared-fur garments,  the guard-hairs may be removed entirely by “plucking”, a process commonly applied to beaver. Because shortening or removing guard-hairs has little effect on the fur’s insulation properties, sheared fur is ideal for dry winters, linings and items like scarves. For wet and windy winters, a fur with the guard-hairs still in place may be preferable.

As it happens, the world’s most popular fur, mink, comes naturally with short guard-hairs, which means it is light and a great all-rounder even without shearing.

Two types of fur are worth a special mention here.

Chinchilla is the second-densest of all furs after sea otter, but has no guard hairs at all. So it’s extremely warm but not something you want to wear in the rain.

Ringed and harp seals, meanwhile, have nothing but guard-hairs, with no under-fur. So sealskin garments are not the warmest furs, but they are extremely resistant to wind and rain.

Answer by :

Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur

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