Leather Manual

What is the Difference Between Lambskin and Sheepskin Leather

Lambskin and Sheepskin Leather

Distinguishing the Difference Between Lambskin and Sheepskin Leather

The vast and diverse world of leather offers many choices for enthusiasts and fashion connoisseurs. Lambskin and sheepskin leather are often sought after for their luxurious texture. While these two types of leather share some similarities, their dissimilarities lie in the age of the animal they are sourced from. As the name suggests, lambskin leather is derived from young ovine animals, lambs. These young animals produce supple and soft leather, prized for its delicate touch and smooth finish. Lambskin leather is often associated with a plain leather aniline finish.

But sheepskin leather originates from mature ovine animals. These animals have reached a more advanced stage of development. Sheepskin leather has hair on, making it a distinct choice for specific applications. Lambskin leather is more expensive compared to sheepskin leather. The higher cost of Lambskin is due to its finer texture, softer feel, and luxurious appeal. The younger age of lambs results in more delicate and supple leather, sought after for high-end fashion and luxury goods.

In contrast, sheepskin leather tends to be thicker, making it generally less expensive than Lambskin. Whether you prefer Lambskin’s delicate touch or sheepskin, both offer unique qualities. Understanding the distinction between genuine leather allows you to make informed choices. So, whether you’re searching for a buttery soft lambskin jacket or a rugged sheepskin accessory, the choice comes down to your taste. Let’s go through the feathers of both.

What are the Characteristics of Lambskin Leather?

Lambskin leather possesses unique characteristics that set it apart from other types of leather. From its small size to its unique texture, Lambskin offers a luxurious experience. Here are some key features of lambskin leather:

·         Size: Lambskins are small, between 0.4 to 0.6 square meters (4 to 7 square feet). This compact size makes them ideal for crafting more miniature leather goods or intricate designs.

·         Grain: The grain of tanned lambskins is lovely, gentle, and soft. It exhibits a silky texture that adds to the elegance of the leather. Specific tanning methods can further enhance these inherent properties.

·         Elasticity and Breaking Resistance: Lambskins boast impressive breaking resistance. These characteristics make creating delicate and intricate leather products less than 0.6 mm thick.

·         Minimal Finishing: Lambskin leather is often finished with a light touch, with little use of anilines and pigments. This minimalistic approach enhances the natural features and texture of Lambskin.

·         Low Specific Weight: Lambskin has a low specific weight as other ovine hides. The lightweight nature of Lambskin adds to its versatility and makes it a preferred choice for various leather goods.

These characteristics contribute to the allure of lambskin leather. Its fine grain makes it a sought-after material for high-end fashion garments. Whether used in jackets, handbags, or elegant home decor, lambskin leather brings an unmatched level.

How is Lambskin Leather Produced?

The production process of lambskin leather varies depending on the material’s intended use. The primary aim is to use the outer side of the dermis, also known as the grain side of the skin. In wet processes, the production journey begins with the depilation of the hides. This step, known as the “riviera” phase, precedes the tanning process and the next re-tanning, fattening, and dyeing. The ultimate result of this production process is a type of leather called Nappa leather. It is often used to create high-quality leather goods and luxury fashion items.

Suppose the intention is to preserve the animal’s hair, which is particularly valued in certain breeds. Instead, the result is a Shearling material with the hair intact. Shearling leather retains the natural hair of the lamb, providing added warmth, texture, and a distinct aesthetic. It often produces outerwear, such as leather jackets and coats. The production process of lambskin leather involves careful consideration of the desired outcome. Each type of Lambskin has specific objectives in mind. The process ensures that the resulting leather meets the desired softness.

Here are Some Characteristics of Sheepskin Leather:

Sheepskin offers unique qualities, from its texture to its durability. Sheepskin leather develops a beautiful patina over time. It is also widely used as an exotic leather due to its unique grain patterns and softness. It should be noted that excessive stretching or mishandling can result in distorted leatherHere are some key attributes of sheepskin leather:

·         Texture: One of the standout features of sheepskin leather is its natural texture. It is known for its soft and plush feel, making it comfortable to touch and wear. The surface is often described as luxurious and velvety, adding a touch of elegance to any leather product.

·         Hair-on: Unlike other types of leather, sheepskin is associated with having hair on. This feature sets it apart and gives it a distinct appearance. The fur adds warmth, depth, and visual interest to the leather, making it a popular choice for garments, footwear, and home decor items.

·         Insulation: Sheepskin leather is renowned for its excellent insulation properties. The natural fibers in the sheepskin create air pockets that help regulate body temperature. This insulation factor makes sheepskin an ideal choice for winter clothing and accessories.

·         Durability: Sheepskin leather is known for its durability and longevity. The dense and resilient nature of the fibers allows the leather to withstand everyday wear and tear. It resists wrinkles and creases, retaining its shape and integrity over time.

·         Moisture-wicking: Another notable characteristic of sheepskin leather is its moisture-wicking properties. The natural fibers in the leather help absorb moisture, keeping the skin dry and comfortable. This makes sheepskin leather a popular choice for footwear, as it helps regulate water and prevents the buildup of odors.

·         Versatility: Sheepskin leather’s unique characteristics make it a versatile material for various applications. Sheepskin adds a touch of luxury and comfort to a wide range of products. These characteristics contribute to the appeal and desirability of sheepskin leather.

How is Sheepskin Leather Produced?

The production process of sheepskin leather involves several stages to transform raw sheepskin. Here is an overview of the typical production process:

1: Skinning

The first step is the removal of the sheep’s skin. This is done after the animal has been slaughtered for meat production. Skinning preserve the quality and integrity of the skin.

2: Fleshing

Once the skin is removed, it undergoes fleshing. During this stage, any excess fat, muscle tissue, or remnants of the flesh are cut off from the underside of the skin. This process helps prepare the skin for further treatment.

3: Soaking

The next step is soaking the sheepskin in water and chemicals. This soaking process helps to remove any remaining dirt, blood, or impurities from the skin. The soaking duration varies depending on the desired outcome and the skin condition.

4: Liming

After soaking, the sheepskin is treated with lime and other chemicals in a process known as liming. Liming helps to further cleanse the skin by loosening hair follicles and removing unwanted proteins. It also helps in the laser hair removal process.

5: Hair Removal

The sheepskin is then subjected to dehairing, removing the hair from the skin. This can be done through mechanical methods or by using chemicals. The goal is to separate the hair from the skin while preserving the quality of the leather.

6: Tanning

Once the hair is removed, the sheepskin undergoes tanning. Tanning involves treating the skin with chemicals, such as chromium salts. Tanning gives the leather its durability, flexibility, and resistance to decay.

7: Dyeing and Finishing

After tanning, the sheepskin may undergo different processes, such as dyeing, to add color. Finishing techniques include embossing, buffing, polishing, or adding protective coatings.

8: Quality Control

Quality control measures ensure it meets the desired standards. This includes inspection for any defects that may affect the quality of the leather.

Primary uses of Sheepskin Leather & Lambskin Leather

Sheepskin Leather:

With its unique characteristics, sheepskin leather finds various applications in various industries. Here are some central uses of sheepskin leather:

  • Apparel: Sheepskin leather is highly valued in the fashion industry for its softness, warmth, and comfort. It is commonly used to create stylish and cozy outerwear such as jackets, coats, vests, and gloves. The natural insulation properties of sheepskin make it ideal for cold-weather garments.
  • Home Decor: Sheepskin leather adds a touch of elegance and warmth to home decor items. It is often used to make plush rugs, cozy blankets, decorative pillows, and upholstery. The soft texture and natural beauty of sheepskin make it a popular choice.
  • Accessories: Sheepskin leather is utilized in the production of handbags, wallets, belts, and hats. The luxurious feel and durability of sheepskin lend a sophisticated touch to these accessories.

Lambskin Leather:

Lambskin leather is known for its softness and fine grain. Here are some prominent uses of lambskin leather:

  • Lambskin leather is often prized in the fashion industry for its soft and supple texture. It creates high-end garments like leather jackets, skirts, pants, and dresses. The fine grain and smooth finish of Lambskin give a luxurious look and feel to these apparel items.
  • It is often utilized to produce small leather goods and accessories. It makes gloves, wallets, handbags, and clutches. The delicate and lightweight nature of lambskin leather makes it an ideal choice.
  • Lambskin leather is sometimes used in upholstery applications due to its luxurious texture. It can be found in high-end furniture, automotive interiors, and elegant seating areas. Lambskin upholstery adds a touch of sophistication and comfort to these settings.
  • The fine and delicate nature of lambskin leather makes it a preferred material for art and craft applications. Both sheepskin leather and lambskin leather have their unique uses and qualities.

Where to buy Lambskin and Sheepskin Leather?

If you want to buy high-quality Lambskin and sheepskin leather, look no further than our Grainy Leather. We offer a wide selection of lambskin and sheepskin leather varieties. Our Nappa Leather Lambskin is a standout option, available in various thicknesses ranging from 0.4 to 1.00 mm. This particular type of lambskin leather features a soft fiber. Another excellent option we offer is Aniline Sheepskin Leather. This type of sheepskin leather is renowned for its finest quality, sleek appearance, and soft texture.

With a thickness ranging from 0.4 to 0.8 mm, our Aniline Sheepskin Leather comes in a range of captivating colors to suit your preferences. It is perfect for creating stylish clothes, leather products, and accessories. When you visit Grainy’s Official Store, you’ll find a vast Lambskin and sheepskin leather collection. We aim to provide you with the finest quality leather for your projects. We take pride in offering superior materials that meet the highest standards.


Q: What is the difference between lambskin and sheepskin leather?

Lambskin and sheepskin leather differ in the animal they come from and their characteristics.

Q: Which animal does Lambskin come from?

Lambskin comes from young sheep, lambs less than one-year-old.

Q: Which animal does sheepskin come from?

Sheepskin comes from mature sheep that are over one year old.

Q: How does the age of the animal affect the leather?

Lambskin is generally softer, more supple, and smoother due to the young age of the lamb. But sheepskin tends to be thicker and may have a more textured surface.

Q: Is there a difference in quality between lambskin and sheepskin leather?

Both Lambskin and sheepskin can be of high quality. The choice between them depends on personal preference, desired texture, and the intended use of the leather.

Q: Which leather is more durable?

Sheepskin is more durable and can withstand more wear and tear due to its thicker nature.

Q: Which leather is warmer?

Sheepskin is generally considered warmer than Lambskin due to its thicker wool fibers.

Q: Are there any differences in price between Lambskin and sheepskin leather?

Lambskin leather tends to be more expensive than sheepskin leather due to its finer texture and softer feel.

Q: Can Lambskin and sheepskin be used for the same purposes?

Yes, Lambskin and sheepskin can be used for various products, including garments, accessories, and footwear. The choice may depend on the specific requirements and desired aesthetics.

Q: How should lambskin and sheepskin leather be cared for?

Both types of leather need regular cleaning and conditioning to maintain their quality and extend their lifespan.

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