German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche had a walrus-handlebar moustache
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche had a walrus-handlebar moustache
Soviet leader Joseph Stalin
Soviet leader Joseph Stalin

The walrus mustache is characterized by whiskers that are thick, bushy, and drop over the mouth. The style resembles the whiskers of a walrus, hence the name.[1][2][3]


Whiskers (vibrissae) of captive walrus (Japan)
Whiskers (vibrissae) of captive walrus (Japan)

Reportedly an ethnic trait of Celts and Gauls, the walrus moustache enjoyed immense popularity among men in the latter part of the 19th and early years of the 20th centuries. Gentlemen ranging from scientists to philosophers to politicians often favored the rugged look that the style created.

After falling out of favor in the 1920s it enjoyed a temporary resurgence during the youth counterculture revolution of the 1960s.


In some instances, the facial hair of the walrus mustache not only drops over the mouth but also extends downward at each corner. The hairline may wrap around the cheeks and connect to sideburns the same thickness, as worn by the man they are named for, Ambrose Burnside.

Many men throughout history have sported a walrus moustache. In Germany, the walrus is commonly associated with Reichskanzler Otto von Bismarck. Other men include actor Wilford Brimley, Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, American president Theodore Roosevelt, former United States National Security Advisor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, American author Mark Twain, rock musician David Crosby, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Polish politicians Józef Piłsudski and Lech Wałęsa, former professional hockey player Lanny McDonald, actor Stephen Fry, actor Sam Elliott and Soviet General Secretary Josef Stalin, who at times also wore the handlebar moustache.[4] Jamie Hyneman of MythBusters is also known for his walrus moustache, a common source of humor with his co-host Adam Savage.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Chris Martin (1 June 2013). A Gentleman's Guide to Beard & Moustache Management. History Press. pp. 22–. ISBN 978-0-7509-5238-5. Delivering exactly what it says on the tin, the Walrus is characterised by a thick, bushy growth of long whiskers that droop over the mouth to give the wearer the appearance of a docile walrus. Once thought to promote good health by shielding ...
  2. ^ Dick Wilkinson (11 January 2013). Concise Thesaurus of Traditional English Metaphors. Routledge. pp. 223–. ISBN 978-1-134-08529-3. Walrus moustache [1918]. A thick bushy one overhanging the lips ...
  3. ^ Lucien Edwards (25 March 2011). The Moustache Grower's Guide. Chronicle Books. pp. 48–. ISBN 978-1-4521-0554-3. As it grows, the Walrus will creep farther down your face as well as to the sides. Use trimming scissors whenever ... The thick and bushy Walrus presents an open palette for creative moustache artists. Use a pair of moustache scissors to trim ...
  4. ^ Cutler, Tom. "Manly Facial Hair: 11 Different Types Of Mustaches". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
  5. ^ "How To Choose a Mustache For Styling Super Powers". Shaver Advice. Retrieved 13 February 2015.