Guard Hair-What is meant by the guard hairs on silver foxes and coyotes? Often when skins which seem to be perfect are sent to the dealers, the report comes back that the guard hairs are nearly all missing, even though it may be a late December or January catch. What is the ruling difference between black and silver foxes?
You have probably notices that nearly all animals have two kinds of fur; a soft downy under fur, and long shiny hairs which project through, being several times the length of the others. These long hairs are the guard hairs and they often are missing over parts of the animal’s skin because of a small entrance to the den, or other causes. Where the guard hairs are missing the fur has a wooly appearance. As an illustration, pull out some of the guard hairs from a muskrat skin and see how it looks. With some furs, notably the beaver, these guard hairs are pulled out by the manufacturer, but with most furs they are necessary to give beauty to the pelt. The only difference between the black and silver foxes is that the former are entirely black except for the tip of the tail and the silver have grey hairs interspersed with the black, giving it a grizzled, or silver, appearance. Both have the white tip on the tail.
Harding, A.R.. 3001 Questions and Answers. Columbus, Oh: A.R. Harding, 1913.
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