Cowhide Leather

cross-section of a cowhide

Leather Terminology / Leather Hide


Definition of Cowhide Leather

A cowhide is the natural and unbleached hair and skin of a cow that’s treated to form leather.

Cowhide leather is by far the most common leather type, contributing close to 70% of the entire hide production across the globe.

It’s normally one of the cheapest leather because of its simple and inexpensive production process.

The key features of cowhide leather include: 

  • Thickness ranging from 3–5 oz.
  • Soft firmness
  • Tanned mainly through chrome-tanning 
  • Size ranging from 40–60 sq. feet
  • Multiple finishing that can be printed, embossed, or aniline

Most cowhide leather is tanned without hair on it. But it's still possible to process the cowhide into leather with hair/fur on it, as shown below.

cowhides with hair in the tannery

The fur on the leather can also be dyed, then a pattern lasered on it and printed, giving the leather a unique look.

hair-on cowhide leather printed with different patterns

Example of Cowhide Leather in a Sentence

"That handle grip is made from soft cowhide leather and comes in brown, black, or white."

Related Terms for Cowhide Leather

Written by Ryan Popoff

Ryan Popoff is the creative mind behind Popov Leather wallets, iPhone cases, belts, watch bands and journals since 2013. With a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, my leatherworking journey began at home. I wanted to create a simple leather wallet that could fit into my front pocket and — to my delight — it was a hit with family and friends. Hopefully you love our honest, quality leather goods too! Read more