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What Separates Cowhide Leather From Other Types?

For thousands of years, cowhide leather and other types of animal hides have been used by humans. Through the use of tools, animal hides were turned into leather through a transformation process that started during man's earliest ages.

Different types of animal hides offer various characteristics, benefits, and need different care techniques, have unique appearances, and more. Cowhide, specifically, is one type of animal product from which articles of clothing can be made. Cowhide is the unbleached, natural hair and skin of a cow. It is frequently processed into leather though it is also a food industry related product.

How does it get to be leather, however, from cowhide? Some more common than others, various processes can be used. Tanning is one such process. Products made from this process can include general leather apparel and leather biker jackets, furniture, wallets, shoes, upholstery, and more.

Other Leathers Compared to Cowhide

Let's take a look at various "skins" and how they compare to cowhide. We'll examine goatskin, lambskin, sheepskin, and compare them to cowhide.

  • Lambskin – Cowhide scores much higher than lambskin in areas of durability and strength. When it comes to stretchability, however, cowhide must give way to lambskin. A comparison between lambskin and sheepskin is, not surprisingly, pretty similar. Where insulation is concerned, cowhide wins. When it comes to being supple and soft, however, lambskin prevails again.
  • Sheepskin – Sheepskin loses out to cowhide in areas of durability and strength. On the other hand, where stretchability and flexibility are concerned, sheepskin leather wins. Compared to cowhide, both sheepskin and goatskin weigh less. Insulation-wise, sheepskin will not offer as much warmth as cowhide. But sheepskin wins when it comes to being supple and soft.
  • Goatskin – Goatskin is not as strong or rugged as cowhide. On the other hand, goatskin is more stretchable and flexible. Goatskin is comparatively lighter as a finished product; cowhide having a tendency to weigh more. Goatskin leather will not offer the same warmth when it comes to insulation properties as does cowhide. Goatskin leather is, however, smoother and softer than cowhide.

Now a Little Q & A About Cowhide Leather

  • Is it long-lasting? Answer: Yes. Many of the above-stated characteristics lend themselves to the long-lasting quality of cowhide leather.
  • Is it real leather? Answer: After undergoing the required processes, the hide of cows used without or with hair is classified as "real leather".
  • What is referred to by "genuine"? Answer: The word "genuine" refers to a lower quality of leather and to the leather actually being real.
  • What is referred to by "full grain"? Answer: This term is significant to the characteristics or treatment of the hide. For example, cowhide that hasn't been snuffed, buffed, or sanded.

In Summary

Cowhide leather has a very long history attached to it. Of all leathers, it is probably the most common. To date, it is probably also one of the more practical leather types.

Though it may not always feel or look luxuriously soft or snuggly – and may not be as stretchable and flexible as other leathers – it offers incredible warmth and insulation, strength, and extraordinary longevity.

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