Everything To Know About Bovine Leather

The most common source of leather is cows. "Bovine" is the correct adjective for anything that has to do with cattle. This is because it's what most people do. But this doesn't mean it's less valuable because it's common.

On the contrary, bovine leather is excellent in terms of how it looks, how it feels, how long it lasts, and how comfortable it is. Let's take a closer look at the natural qualities of bovine leather, its pros and cons and, most notably for any leather expert, how to take care of bovine leather the right way.

What is Bovine Leather?

Bovine leather is a type of leather derived from cattle, including cows, bulls, and steers. This term specifically refers to leather products made from these animals, encompassing a wide range of goods. Notably, bovine leather is the most prevalent type of leather used in the United States, making up about 95% of all leather goods sold. The reason for its widespread use lies in the ease of raising cattle compared to other animals, along with the durability and versatility of the leather produced. Bovine leather is renowned for its strength and is commonly used in items like furniture, clothing, and accessories, making it a staple in the leather industry.



Bovine leather meaning

Bovine leather refers to the material produced from tanning the hides of bovines, a subfamily of animals within the 'Bovidae' family, known as 'Bovinae' in Latin. This group includes species like cows, buffaloes, bulls, and calves, which are integral to the leather goods industry. The significance of bovines extends beyond leather production, as they are valued globally for their meat and milk.

However, their skin is a valuable byproduct, providing an additional revenue stream for those in the agricultural sector. The transformation of bovine skin into leather involves a process known as tanning. This process encompasses various chemical and physical treatments aimed at making the animal skin durable and resistant to decay, ensuring it remains unchanged over time and with use. Bovine leather is thus a crucial material, used widely due to its strength and versatility in products like clothing, furniture, and accessories.

What is bovine leather made of


Bovine leather is primarily made from the top layer of a bull or cow's skin, typically sourced from animals raised for meat consumption. This top layer is preferred for its quality and durability. The process of converting this skin into leather begins at slaughterhouses, where the skins are collected and stored by rawhide traders.

These skins are then sold to tanneries. In the tanneries, a critical transformation occurs: the animal skin undergoes a chemical process known as tanning. This process involves soaking the skins in chemicals, which turns them into durable leather.

An important method used in tanneries is traditional hair-on-hide tanning, which ensures the hide remains soft and less prone to tearing. Notably, high-quality bovine leather is often left in its natural color, which varies depending on the breed of the bovine.

Different kinds of cowhide

There are different kinds of bovine leather, each with benefits that make it perfect for specific use.


  • Full-Grain leather has a surface that hasn't been treated and still has all the natural grain and markings that were there when the hide was first tanned. This makes it very strong and resistant to wear and tear, which makes it perfect for high-quality items like bags, wallets, and even furniture upholstery. Whole Grain also has a lovely texture that gets a patina over time, which adds to its elegance and charm.

  • Top Grain leather is made by sanding the top layer of animal hide to eliminate flaws. This layer has the tightest fibre structure, which makes it stronger and more resistant to wear than lower-grade layers. The hides are tanned using old-fashioned methods to make them very soft and flexible. This type of leather also looks very rich, which gives it an elegant look that can be used in many ways. The most common type of leather is top grain.

  • Suede became very popular because it is soft and looks modern. This type of leather is made from buffed cowhide with a velvety finish on both sides. Suede is a versatile material for making shoes, jackets, bags, and other fashion accessories. Because suede is so delicate, it needs extra care when it's being cleaned or handled to stay looking new for years to come.

  • Nubuck is made from cowhide or calfskin that has been treated and buffed to give it a soft feel. You can make this unique texture by sanding down the top layer of grain and letting some of the inner fibres stick out. Because of this, nubuck has a velvety feel, making it very soft and luxurious to touch. Suede is more elegant than Nubuck, but Nubuck is more durable. Veg Tan, which stands for vegetable tanning, gives a long-lasting result that gets better with age. It involves soaking hides in tannic acid, naturally found in plants like the mimosa tree's or the quebracho tree's bark. This helps preserve the material and gives it the colour you want. The Veg Tan process makes strong but flexible bovine leather, which can be treated with oils and waxes if needed.

Bovine Leather Appearance 

Leather from cows is known for its unique grain pattern and texture. This grainy texture adds depth and character to any leather item, from belts to jackets. But it's important to note that only Top Grain and Full Grain bovine leather look like what most people are used to. Other kinds of leather, like genuine bovine leather, have a smoother feel.

It also comes in many colours, from browns and blacks to reds, blues, and even greens. Each colour is different in how it looks and how it acts. Brown is the most popular colour because it looks natural and doesn't go out of style. Brighter colours, on the other hand, make any design stand out. Greys are great for making a modern look that only looks old slowly. Matte finishes are less shiny and have a more subtle feel.

The way a material feels is also affected by its colours. Warm colours like red and yellow make people feel at ease. Colours on the cooler side, like black or blue, give a sense of sophistication and elegance.


Most leather from cows is soft right out of the package. But if it's not Top Grain or Full Grain, bovine leather can be made from cheaper materials that have been sanded down to eliminate flaws. This means they might feel stiffer than products made from genuine cowhide.


One thing about bovine leather is for sure: it is solid and will last longer than leather made from other animal skins that are more fragile.

If we compare a product made from bovine leather to one made from leather from another animal, the bovine leather product will be the cheapest. Of course, that's only true if the grades are the same, like comparing entire grain bovine to whole grain from another animal. It's not "exotic," but depending on how it's tanned and what it's made of, it can still be a good product.

If you want to buy leather, it's more important to look at how it was made than to find out what animal it came from.

In making leather, the best hides are separated from the ones that can't be used in full, like those with cuts or other injuries. The pieces are probably sewn together in patchwork patterns. The patchwork design is the first sign that this leather could be better. It's just a bunch of scraps sewn together.

There is no way to know what grade the leather is since it could be different.


People often think bovine leather is good for the environment because it is made from natural animal parts that would otherwise go to waste. But the way cowhide leather is made can be harmful to people and the environment. For example, when leather is tanned, chemicals can be put into the air and water that are bad for people.

Generally, it's hard to say whether bovine leather is good for the environment. It depends on how it's made and what that means for the environment. Using cowhide leather is worth the damage that tanning does to the environment. Some people prefer a different kind of genuine leather that is less noticeable.

Products Bovine Leather is Commonly Used For

Bovine leather is usually its natural colour and can be used for almost any leather product, especially bags and boots.

It can also be dyed in several colours that are in style. Bovine leather is also often used for the tops and bottoms of shoes, the seats of cars and furniture, belts, straps, and saddles.

In clothing, it is mainly used for outerwear, especially jackets. This is viral material for weekend clothes that are ready to wear.

Bovine leather is solid and firm, so that it can be used for many different things. The hides are also big enough to cover large areas. The average surface area of a cowskin is about five square metres.

Layers Of The Bovine Leather

The leather from cows is made up of several layers.


  • The skin is the outermost layer; under it is a thick layer of collagen and elastin fibres.

  • The second layer comprises smaller bundles of parallel collagen and elastin fibres. This layer is not as thick as the first, but it is still pretty thick.

  • The third layer comprises many tiny fibres evenly spaced through the hide. This layer gives the leather its flexibility and stretch. Even though bovine leather is tough and lasts a long time, it still needs to be cleaned carefully with the right tools and methods to keep it from getting dirty or losing its colour.

  • The shorter fibres in the fourth layer are packed together more tightly. This makes the leather less likely to tear, but it also makes it stiffer. The fifth and sixth layers are thin and mostly made up of proteins that dissolve in water. These proteins help keep water inside the hide.

The Good Things About Cowhide

Leather from cows is easy to take care of. It is known for not getting dirty or getting wet. Since it is the cheapest, bovine leather is used extensively in clothing and furniture. The main reason why bovine leather is so cheap is that it is so common.

Bovine leather is also trendy because it is one of the heaviest types of leather. This makes it very strong and long-lasting. Even though it lasts long, bovine leather is easy to "break in." In other words, it will take a little while to get used to.

Bad things about bovine leather

Bovine leather can stretch, and over time, it gets stretch marks. But this is normal for any leather. But it could look better on lighter-coloured leather. This type of leather is thick and robust, so it tends to get "hot and sweaty" in warmer weather. If this is a problem, consider looking into lighter leather instead.

Last but not least, another problem with bovine leather is that it usually only comes in a few colours. Even though it can be dyed, this is usually only done with lower-quality leather.

How to Take Care of Cowhide

Bovine leather is tough and long-lasting, but it needs to be cleaned carefully with the right products and tools to avoid damage and stains.

Use a soft, dry cloth to wipe down an item made of Bovine leather and remove dust and dirt from the surface. Use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to get rid of any dust or dirt that has accumulated stuck in the cushions of a sofa. Use a dry, soft toothbrush to clean your leather item's buttons, piping, or other details. Wipe the surface down with a damp (but not dripping wet) cloth and a small amount of liquid dishwashing soap. Let the leather dry naturally, but keep an eye out for marks and stains.

Use a dishwashing liquid on a damp cloth to remove stains on bovine leather. Rub this right onto the stain, but don't press too hard. Use a wet cloth to wipe off the soap, being careful not to soak the leather. Let it dry in the air.

If the stain doesn't come out, put a small amount of toothpaste on it and rub it in with a damp cloth. Wipe the toothpaste off the cloth by rinsing it with clean water. Let the leather dry in the air. Again, if the stain is still there, try rubbing it gently with a nail polish wipe that doesn't contain acetone. Let the leather dry in the air. If this doesn't help, you should see a professional.


We know that bovine leather is tough and long-lasting, but it's also easy to break in. Over time, it will take the shape of the person who wears it. So the more you wear it, the easier it gets to wear. On the other hand, sheepskin is more flexible, softer, and lighter. This is why more clothes are made from sheepskin than from Bovine. Sheepskin pants are much more comfortable to wear than Bovine pants, but you have to ensure they fit perfectly because Sheepskin is more likely to stretch out over time, which can cause your clothes to sag. Sheepskin leather is thinner, lighter, and more likely to rip or tear than bovine leather. Bovine leather is more accessible to care for than Sheepskin because it is thicker and less likely to get dirty or wet.

Is bovine leather real leather?

Bovine leather is indeed real leather, recognized for its high quality and durability. It is made from the original, unprocessed skin of cows, which includes both the hair and the thicker, more resilient layers of the skin. The highest grade of leather used today typically starts as cowhide, which undergoes processing to become bovine leather. Renowned for its soft feel, long lifespan, and robust construction, bovine leather is highly valued in the leather industry. Its durability not only ensures a longer-lasting product but also offers significant cost savings over time, especially when sourced locally.

Cowhide is a fundamental material in the production of many high-quality leather goods. Experts often regard bovine leather as one of the most versatile types of leather available. This versatility allows it to be used in a wide array of products. Its thickness, durability, and resistance to abrasion make bovine leather an ideal choice for items like work uniforms and other heavy-duty leather goods.

What is the difference between bovine and calf leather?

The age of the hide used to make the leather is the main difference between bovine and calf leather. The hides of older cows are used to make bovine leather, while the hides of younger cows are used to make calf leather. Most of the time, bovine leather is thicker and lasts longer than calf leather. Calf leather, on the other hand, is softer and more flexible. Leather from cows is also usually more expensive than leather from pigs.


Cow leather is the most common and, because of that, the cheapest type on the market. Even so, it's still a quality item overall. Bovine leather is more suitable for rugged style and function because it is strong and lasts a long time. It's still more stylish than fabric, but it's the least expensive of the leather options. So, if you don't need something exotic or want to save money, bovine leather is an excellent choice because it is comfortable, stylish, and durable.

Shop our collection of:
Leather Pencil Cases | Leather Backpacks | Leather Messenger Bags | Leather Handbags | Leather Tote Bags | Leather Briefcases | Leather Gym Bags | Custom Leather Journals | Custom Leather Portfolios

Related Blog Posts:


On every order, every day!

We value your security

30 days money back guarantee

Whatsapp ID: 8617714348460

Your cart is currently empty