What Is Buffalo Leather?

A tanned buffalo hide from one of the domestic buffalo species is what is known as "buffalo leather." It also goes by the name of English Saddle Leather. Since domesticating 6,000 years ago in Asia, buffalos have been mostly used in countries for pulling carts and plows. Buffalos are frequently used to generate milk instead of cows, and their hides are specifically tanned to create real leather.

Consumers and seasoned leather workers alike favor buffalo leather because it has a grain that is more distinctive than cowhide leather. This manual will go over the fundamentals of this material so that you have everything you need to start with it.

English saddle leather, often known as buffalo leather, is created by tanning the hides of the 74 tame buffalo species. It has been domesticated and is used to pull carts and plows in countries and other countries. There are currently 194 million domesticated buffalo in existence worldwide, 97% of which are raised in Asia.

Buffaloes are in great demand because they produce more milk than cows. When a buffalo's working life is through, its hides are tanned to make buffalo leather. The quickest tanning procedure is chrome tanning, which takes only a few days to complete. This process employs chemicals.

But a traditional method known as vegetable tanning is used to treat the majority of buffalo leather. This technique uses organic plant-based substances, including oils, leaves, and bark. Buffalo leather is once more classified into several categories: Genuine buffalo leather, Italian buffalo leather, buffalo embossed leather, water buffalo leather, top grain Pull-up Buffalo Leather, Full Grain Buffalo Leather, Buffalo Mix Leather and water buffalo leather vs. cowhide. It falls under many color and texture categories.

Types of Buffalo Leather:

The term "buffalo leather" refers to a variety of materials. These are a few of the most well-liked.

  • Genuine leather

The top layer of the domestic American buffalo hide is used to create premium full-grain leather. The buffalo hides' greatest and most natural qualities are usually found on the top layer. Because of this, full-grain buffalo leather has a distinctive appearance and natural attractiveness.

Full-grain leather has a desirable texture and is incredibly resilient. It has all been made with boots, wallets, and other robust objects. It also contains strong fibers that stop animal hair, dust, and lint from penetrating and is simple to clean.

So that it has a smooth finish and a high resistance to filth, you may easily clean it with a soapy cloth. On annual conditioning, it also acquires a beautiful patina that thickens over time by a factor of two.

  • Top-Grain Buffalo Leather

The top layer of domestic American buffalo hide was used to create this leather, which is of the second-best quality. It is significant to notice that top-grain leather is primarily sanded to remove any potential flaws.

Top-grain buffalo leather has the same natural cowhide properties as full-grain leather, giving it a distinctive appearance, thickness, and exceptional durability.

  • 100% real buffalo leather

This buffalo leather is of the lowest quality, thinner, and less durable than the other leather grains. You might question why this kind of leather is referred to as "genuine" buffalo leather, given its high quality.

Genuine is a phrase used to increase the desirability of a product. The term "genuine leather" is used to suggest that this kind of leather is of a high caliber. However, it requires proper maintenance because of its weak fiber, poor quality, and low level of dirt resistance. 

  • Buffalo Leather Pull-Up

This premium leather has primarily been dyed using aniline to give it a deeper appearance and color. The leather may be coated with a mixture of clear waxes or oils to give it a better finish and softer texture. Pull-up buffalo leather, in contrast to the others, preserves the flaws of the hides.

  • Water Buffalo Leather

The hides of Asian water buffalo are used to make this kind of leather. There are three different species of buffalo: the African Cape buffalo, the American or Bison buffalo, and the Asian water buffalo.

  • Buffalo leather from Italy

Italy has a long history of making leather and is renowned for its outstanding craftsmanship. Italian buffalo leather is produced in Italy by processing and tanning imported hides at the same time. High-quality leather goods are produced from Italian buffalo leather. Italy is where most leather in Europe is manufactured.

Buffalo Leather Vs. Cow Leather

Since cow leather is used more frequently than buffalo leather, it might be challenging to tell the two apart. The main variations are as follows.

  • Processing

When comparing the two types of leather in terms of processing, cow leather's tanning procedure frequently uses contemporary methods that use chemicals, whereas the hides of buffalo leather are tanned using organic elements.

Additionally, while buffalo hides are not stretched throughout this tanning process, cow leather hides are.

  • Size and caliber

Cow leather shares the same top-grain and full-grain qualities as buffalo leather, although they are different sizes.

Since they are stretched after tanning, buffalo leather is substantially smaller in size than cow leather. Buffalo leather doesn't stretch to maintain its distinctiveness.

  • Strength

Buffalo leather is comparatively more durable than cow skin leather in its natural state. As opposed to cow leather hides, the hides used to manufacture buffalo hides are not as stretched. Because of this, buffalo leather is regarded as being more durable than cow leather.

Is there a distinction between bison and buffalo leather?

To begin with, bison are powerful creatures that are hunted for their flesh, hides, and horns. Although the terms "bison" and "buffalo" are frequently used interchangeably, the two are different animals when it comes to leather.

By paying close attention to the origin of the leather, you can distinguish between the two. Most bison leather goods sold in the US are made from North American bison. Most buffalo leather products you see are from African Cape Buffalo or Asian Water Buffalo.

Buffalo leather products' robustness

Products made of buffalo leather, such as belts, bags, and coats, are extremely durable. Due to its high strength and elasticity, buffalo leather is less likely to tear. Many buffalo leather products also have flame resistance. Men's and women's shoes and accessories work best with it.

Is water buffalo leather good quality?

Buffalo leather is an ideal material for many leatherworking tasks due to its superior quality. Buffalo leather ought to be your first pick if you're looking for high-quality, adaptable, supple, yet resilient leather.

Its stunning beauty can endure the worst conditions and last you or your clients a very long time. Buffalo leather is scratch- and damage-resistant, as if that weren't enough.

Is buffalo leather the toughest leather?

Buffalo leather is incredibly robust and durable because its epidermal layer is up to three times thicker than cowhide. In contrast to cowhide, which is stretched during the tanning process, buffalo hides are not, making them thicker and more tear-resistant.

Buffalo leather has unmatched strength and flexibility thanks to its epidermal protective layer, which is three times thicker than cow skin and contains up to an inch's worth of widely spaced sub-dermal collagen fibers. Available in various hues, including smooth, softly pebbled tans, faded earth tones, exotic, strongly grained skins, and many more. Buffalo leather is thicker and more flexible than cowhide, making it ideal for making upholstered furniture incredibly durable and pleasant. The "grain" of buffalo leather is more obvious. More fibers are spaced apart and are thicker.

  • Tanning

Because the leather is "naked" tanned, it is very natural and feels wonderful in your hands. Brands intentionally omit waterproofing and stain resistance from the tanning process because these compounds change the "hand" of natural leather, making it stiffer and giving it a plasticized feel.

  • Individually

Hides differ according to the specific animal, the season in which it was harvested, and the animal's age, gender, and maturity. Brands and scars are a part of your piece's "story." It can be identified by the spine line that crosses the animal's hump. The majority of buffalo skins, which typically have 30 square feet of leather, are from animals that were slaughtered when they were 2-3 years old.

  • Adaptation

Similar to human skin, buffalo leather is a natural material that breathes, absorbs, and releases moisture. Because it adapts to our body temperature, it has good temperature adaptability and can be worn comfortably in both the hot summer and mild winter. Products made of buffalo leather will not stretch out of shape and will fit your body. Leather gets softer and comfier over time as man-made materials deteriorate.

  • Durability

It is among the most durable upholstery materials ever created. It has great resistance to tearing because of its strength and flexibility. It resists flames and won't easily burn or melt. The buffalo's thick epidermal layer is between 2 and 3 times thicker than cowhide, and up to an inch of widely distributed subdermal collagen fibers give the leather its particular strength and flexibility.

  • Care

Buffalo leather is a great option for people with allergies because it is simple to clean, has a smooth feel, and has strong fibers that stop any penetration of dust, lint, or animal hair. The easiest way to clean up a spill is right away with a towel dampened with soaps. Leather conditioners and cleaners are suggested. Buffalo leather takes annual conditioning quite well. Over time, it acquires a beautiful patina that distinguishes it as "your antique."

Is water buffalo leather good quality?

Aniline leather is often sold as buffalo and water buffalo leather. Large pores are characteristic of the buffalo's skin structure, and this can be seen in the leather produced from it. It is evident that the porosity of this leather is substantially coarser than that of typical bovine leather. Additionally, the fiber structure is coarser. Buffalo leather is less tightly woven but contains thicker single fibers. Despite this, the leather remains strong and solid.

The natural grain and soft texture of water buffalo leather are well-known qualities. It is frequently referred to as Memel leather in the equestrian community because of its rough appearance and outstanding resilience. The softness and grip of a water buffalo leather saddle or knee block are advantageous to dressage riders.

Premium leather products, including wallets, duffel bags, backpacks, and boots, have long been made with water buffalo leather. It is a tried-and-true leather with various high-end uses and uses that demand toughness and longevity.

Is buffalo leather water proof?

Since leather is a naturally porous material, how well it can withstand water penetration depends on how it has been treated with oils or waxes. Buffalo leather is thicker than most other leathers; therefore, it will retain its water resistance for a longer period of time.

Since buffalo leather is typically processed using vegetable tanning, it frequently isn't waterproof. However, since leather is naturally porous, its ability to resist water penetration depends on how it has been treated with waxes and oils. Buffalo leather is more water resistant than the majority of leather, thanks in large part to its thickness. Nevertheless, there are numerous techniques to waterproof buffalo leather. Buffalo leather can be waterproofed using any commercial waxes and sprays readily available on the market. Beeswax is another well-known conventional waterproofing method. Although the Saddle Soap method is also highly well-liked, it cannot be used on furniture or car leather due to its propensity to clog pores.

Buffalo Leather Waterproofing Techniques

Buffalo leather may be waterproofed using many commercial waxes and sprays. Saddle soap and beeswax are common waterproofing treatments, but they shouldn't be used on furniture or automobile leather since they clog the pores. 

How To Spot Poor Quality Leather

  • By cost

High-quality leather goods cannot be cheap. If you want good quality, you will have to pay for it, and people who advertise authentic products at inexpensive prices are probably lying to you.

  • Make sure it is authentic.

You need to know how to distinguish fake leather because there is so much of it, in addition to knowing how to recognize low-quality leather. Both low-quality types of leather and leather, in general, have a strong odor.

There is a great likelihood that it is fake if there is no strong, pungent fragrance. Additionally, if it has the sensation of cheap plastic, it may be false or of poor quality. Avoid leather products that are bonded together or that have a lot of flaws in the leather. There are certain things you can do to keep a cracked leather product from looking bad if that happens.

Genuine leather vs. buffalo leather

The buffalo skin's scars and other flaws give the leather a unique appearance. The type of buffalo used and the tanning procedure affect the color of the leather. While some breeds have lighter coloured skins, some have darker brown ones. The leather is of higher quality; the darker the hue.

Genuine leather is the lowest grade leather you can purchase. Split leather and bonded leather are the two primary forms of leather used to create shoes and leather goods. Lower layers of the hide are used to create split leather.

Scraps of leather are pulped and then cemented together to create bonded leather. Genuine buffalo leather is stronger, more durable, and more beautiful in its natural state than "genuine leather," which is inferior to full grain and top grain buffalo leather.

Sheep leather vs. buffalo leather

Sheep leather is weak and too thin to serve the purpose it was meant for. Thin materials are employed in products where lightness is a benefit, such as book covers, gloves, or thin clothes.

Buffalo leather is robust and supple, which makes it perfect for use in products that must support weight, including shoes and bags. It is also quite powerful.

Calf leather vs. buffalo leather

A form of leather manufactured from the skin of calves is called calf leather, sometimes called calfskin. It is highly valued for its beautiful grain, leather softness, and durability.

Lightweight things like book bindings, wallets, and the uppers of shoes are made of leather. In comparison to calf leather, buffalo leather is substantially thicker, has a coarser texture, and is much harder and more durable. Therefore, buffalo leather is most suited for usage in luggage, motorcycles, saddlebags, and other products that require durability.

Comparing cow vs buffalo leather

Cow leather, which accounts for approximately two-thirds of all leather items, is the most common form of leather manufactured globally. We need about 1.5 billion cows to supply us with milk, and we make leather goods from their animal hides.

There are just around 200 million buffalo around the globe, and Asia is where 97 percent of them were raised. Buffalo are employed in agriculture and milk production, and industries like the leather industry use their hides.

Buffalo leather is stronger and lasts longer than cow leather because the buffalo hide is twice as thick and has a more prominent grain. Every application that calls for cow leather should use it.


This article is all about buffalo leather. Here in this article, we have discussed what buffalo leather is, its benefits, uses and how it is better than other leathers. If you want full information about it, then you must read this article.

Shop our collection of:

Large Leather Backpacks | Men's Leather Bags | Women's Leather BagsCustom Leather Journals | Handmade Leather Messenger Bags

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