What is a bearskin hat?

bearskin hat is a tall fur cap, the bearskin was the headgear of grenadiers and remains in use by grenadier and guards regiments in various armies.

The practice fell into disuse until the second half of the eighteenth century when grenadiers in the British, Spanish and French armies began wearing high fur hats with cloth tops and, sometimes, ornamental front plates.

[1] The purpose appears to have been to add to the apparent height and impressive appearance of these troops both on the parade ground and the battlefield.

During the nineteenth century, the expense of scottish hat and difficulty of maintaining them in good condition on active service led to this form of headdress becoming generally limited to guardsmen, bands, or other units having a ceremonial role.

The British Foot Guards and Royal Scots Greys did however wear bearskins in battle during the Crimean War and on peacetime manoeuvres until the introduction of khaki service dress in 1902.

The bearskin caps used by the Canadian Armed Forces are of black fur, and include a coloured plume on the side of the bearskin, and a gold-coloured chin strap. Fusilier regiments, and the Royal 22e Régiment, also place their unit’s cap badge at the front of the bearskin. The Canadian Forces Dress Instructions presently authorizes the use of bearskins for all of its Foot Guards and fusilier regiments.

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