Types of Animal Furs

by Misty Barton ; Updated September 28, 2017

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Fur has been used in the construction of outer garments for centuries; in some societies this was simply a necessity, but in many the beauty of fur was used to design garments that communicated social status and affluence. Today, fur coats remain both pricey and popular. Before going to buy a coat, you should know something about fur types.

Farm-Raised:

The most popular kind of fur come from non-domestic animals, but this can make them hard to get. Some of the most popular wild fur-bearers are now commonly farm raised in order to make their pelts more plentiful, and more cost effective. These furs commonly include Fox, Chinchilla, and Mink. While mink is the most popular of these, chinchilla has always had a certain amount of appeal in the very upper crust of society. Famous for its plushness, chinchilla is only available in shades of grey. Mink and fox are popular because they are both available in such a wide range of colors. Mink is a small and satiny pelt, which takes dye well and is popular for coat bodies. Fox, on the other hand, is appreciated for its thickness, and it is commonly used to accent coats that are primarily made of other materials/furs.

Domestic:

Some animals have always been farm-raised, and so are useful both for their pelts and their meat. These typically include lamb/sheepskin and rabbit. Sheepskin is popular because it is so amazingly diverse, as each breed of sheep has a very different coat, wool and skin, and all are desired for their unique qualities. It is not uncommon to see a sheepskin coat that is worn with the tanned, or leather, side out, and the fur inside, as a lining. Rabbit is by far the most plentiful, cheapest, and most casual of the furs commonly used in garments. It is considered extremely versatile, and is as likely to be made into a small accessory as a full coat.

Hunted/Trapped:

Some animals are still hunted and trapped today for their pelts. These animals are not easily farm-raised and are still immensely popular in the fur industry. They include Beaver, Coyote, Marten, Muskrat, Raccoon, Opossum, Nutria, Lynx, Fisher, Ermine, and Sable. Each is well loved, and remains important to the fur industry, for their unique texture, color, and popular uses. The price of these furs varies widely from year to year dependent on the animals’ population, herd health, and other hunting season variables, like weather.

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About the Author

Misty Barton has been working in the fields of composition and journalism for over 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in English education and a Master of Arts in English and composition. She has written for various online publications including a blog that specifically addresses the concerns of work-at-home mothers.