Difference Between Lambskin and Sheepskin Leather

Buyers Guide
Difference Between Lambskin and Sheepskin Leather

The main difference between lambskin leather and sheepskin leather lies in the age of the animal: Lambskins come from young ovine animals, instead Sheepskins come from mature ovine animals. Often the word lambskin is associated to a plain leather aniline finished, instead the word sheepskin is associated to a leather with hair on, but the difference between those two leather types is not related to this aspect: we can indeed find a lambskin leather with hair on and a sheepskin aniline finished.

In both cases we are talking of ovine skins from very different breeds but common to both types. The main difference, as anticipated, is represented by the fact that the lambskins come from young animals while the sheepskins comes from more mature animals.

Characteristics of Lambskin Leather

Lambskins are characterized by a quite small size ranging between 0,4-0,6 m2 (4 to 7 square feet), in addition lambskins have also these features:

  • The grain of tanned lambskins is very fine, gentle, very soft and silky to the touch, in particular if the skins are tanned with methods that enhance these properties;
  • Lambskins have good elasticity and breaking resistance characteristics, so they can be worked at very low thicknesses, less than 0,6 mm;
  • The finishing of lambskins is often very unloaded, i.e. little covered with anilines and pigments, even the only refining processes, such i.e. the simple polishing, is sufficient for an excellent presentation of the finished product, in order to enhance the natural features of this material;
  • These hides are characterized by a very low specific weight (common for all ovine hides in general) which reaches three square meters for each kg of finished product.

lambskin leather

How is Lambskin Leather produced?

When we talk about the production process of lambskin we must first of all take into account the use that will be made of this material. The primary objective is to use the external side of the dermis, that is the grain side of the skin.

  • When the hides are depilated in wet processes (in the so-called "riviera" phase, which is preliminary to the tanning process and subsequent re-tanning, fattening and dyeing), the final result of the production process will be a product called Nappa leather.
  • When, on the other hand, you want to keep the animal's hair intact, which is particularly valuable for some breeds, hair removal is not carried out and a material with hair is obtained which is usually called Shearling.

Lambskins and Sheepskin with fur: "Shearling" and "Nappalan"

When we talk about fur hides, or hair on hides and pelts, we refer to lambskin or sheepskin hides that have preserved their original fur in the processing. As for their internal part, the so-called flesh side, it can happen that this must be highlighted on the final product (for example, a piece of clothing with fur inside and suede outside); in this case we have two basic types of finishing that can be performed on the inside of the lambskin:

  • The part of the flesh can be enhanced through a finish with a called "suede", or "velour" effect, and we will have the classic article called "Shearling";
  • Or, we can instead finish this side of the lambskins with dyes and resins: in this case we will have the article called "Nappalan".

shearling lambskin leather

Main uses of Lambskin Leather

The main field of use for lambskin is certainly the leather clothing where, however, there are limits deriving from the small size of each skin, the results obtained are in any case of truly excellent quality. The full grain lamb hides are also particularly suitable for high quality gloves and for more professional and particular specialist uses.

Is Lambskin leather real leather?

As we have already explained in the previous paragraphs, it is completely clear that lambskins are real leather coming from the same animals and subjected to tanning treatments that stop the putrefaction of any organic animal tissue.

Characteristics of Sheepskin Leather

Sheepskins comes from ovine animals in their maturity and they obviously have very different sizes and characteristics, which depend on their very different breeds scattered all over the world. In general these hides have a size generally between 0,4 and 0,8 m2 per skin (or 5 to 9 square feet) and have the following characteristics:

  • They are of an age and size larger than lambskins;
  • They have a grain with a more evident texture than lambskin;
  • The grain is in any case much finer and less evident than goat skins to which they are often accumulated with the common definition of sheep and goat skins.

sheepskin leather

The diversity of breeds in Sheepskins

There are many breeds of sheep whose skins have very different characteristics and grain. We can find leathers with a very fine grain of many differently crossed breeds, the so-called "hair sheep", which often exceed in appearance, touch (the workers call it "hand") and in the silkiness (that is, in the pleasantness of the similar flow of silk ) the best skins of bovine calves up to more pronounced grainy aspects for the most suitable animals to produce wool.

Some wool breeds have a deep roughness, the so-called "creasing", which is more evident in the middle part and especially in the back of the skin, but which can extend to the whole skin.

Sheepskins finished with wool

Wool sheep are often processed keeping their natural fur; where the hair is very thick and preferably of a beautiful white color, it is used as soft rugs and bedside rugs, keeping all the skin intact and its shape with the entire length of the hair. In the field of clothing and footwear the fur is variously shaved; here are two main variants: Shearling and Nappalan, in both cases, the visible part is the internal one, the flesh side, which is carefully processed both for the finished product for clothing and for glove or shoe.

Main uses of Sheepskin Leather

Even for sheepskin, the most common use remains for clothing on the grain side and with very soft nappa tanning. The use of the so-called "chamois", "suede" or "velour" on the flesh side is very limited both for clothing and footwear, because it gives excellent results limited to the crossed sheep breeds known as "Hair sheep", which have a very closed and compact back side and with a very reduced "hair" effect, similar to that of goat. Finally, with suitable fat-liquors, very valuable effects can be obtained here, above all the so called "writing" effect, that is, iridescent as the hand passes over the surface.

Where to buy Lambskin and Sheepskin Leather?

Within our website buyleatheronline.com, you will find the best types of lambskins leather and sheepskins leather:

  • Lambskin Nappa Leather, a light (0,7 mm) and very soft material, specially designed for the production and repair of leather garments, suitable for jackets, coats, skirts, gloves, trousers and any other leather garment, but also for the production of linings and leather goods.

lambskin nappa leather

  • Premium Aniline Lambskin Leather, a smooth and soft material of the highest quality, 0,9-1 mm thick, available in various colors from which you can choose, suitable for clothing, leather goods, shoes, bags, bindings, wallets.

sheepskin leather

  • As regards Sheepskin leather, for the majority, you will find it in the category of hair on leathers.