Where Leather Comes From

If you read my post about brands, then you'll have noticed that I talked about cattle and horses being branded. 

Did you know that leather can be made from the hide of just about any animal?

Common animal hides used for leather are cattle, pig, sheep, horse, and bison.

Less common (now, though they were much more popular in the past) animal hides include deer, elk, moose, reindeer, caribou, and so on.

Exotic animals whose skins are turned into leather include kangaroo, reptiles, some fish, and some birds. Have you ever seen a pair of ostrich skin boots? They have a very striking appearance.

ostrich leather boots with a white background

Obviously this isn't a comprehensive list, but it should give you an idea of the wide variety of animals that we get leather from. Each type of leather has its own characteristics and uses it's most suited for. Some animal skins are naturally thinner and more flexible, while others are thicker, less flexible, and super durable.

We're all familiar with smooth and textured leather that is used to make wallets, bags, jackets, etc, but leather can also be hair-on.

Hair-on leather can be used for a variety of products, such as cowhide rugs, sheepskin jackets with the wool on the inside (though you don't see many of those these days- they're more of a 70's and 80's fashion), and sheepskin pelts used as rugs or in beds to help regulate temperature.

squares of sheepskin sewed together with skin side out

What's the most unique leather you've come across, and what was it used to make?

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