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Cowhide Buyer's Guide

 

The Cowhide Store Difference

Full Disclosure

Each and every hide in our Browse Our Stock section has been inspected, graded, and photographed. Any flaws or special characteristics are noted in the description of each hide. The visibility and number of flaws determine each hide's quality designation as described below. No other cowhide retailer or supplier does this.

Characteristic example

Cowhide Grade Designations

Good hides at great pricesOur Value-Line grade cowhides are less than perfect, but look great when used as a floor rug or furniture throw. They may have some light scarring, slightly visible patches or blemishes, or an asymmetrical shape. These are good quality hides at great prices!

Top Grade HidesOur Premium grade cowhide is our best-selling hide. Hides given this designation have very minor (if any) undesirable characteristics. They have great symmetry in shape and virtually no visible scars or flaws. Some Premium grade hides have visible brands which are noted in the description.

The Best Hides AvailableOur coveted Five-Star designation is given to only a select few cowhides with no undesirable characteristics and near perfect shape. Our Five-Star cowhides are the finest hides available anywhere.

Choose Your Own Cowhide (One-of-a-Kind) vs. Hand Picked Cowhides

Of the many thousands of cowhides that we have in stock, we individually photograph only 500-1,000 One-of-a-Kind cowhides at a time. We offer our remaining stock for sale as Hand Picked hides. This way, if you can't find what you're looking for in the Choose Your Own Cowhide pages, you can tell us what you're looking for and we'll select the perfect hide for you from our stock. Because all of our Five-Star hides are photographed and offered as One-of-a-Kind hides, only Premium and Value-Line hides are available in our Hand Picked collection.

Cowhide Types

Natural

There are so many different natural patterns, colors and hair lengths, and The Cowhide Store is the place to find them all! Our most popular types are Holstein (large spots and splotches of black and white), Hereford (Brown and white with white strips in the middle and sides), Longhorn (randomly speckled patterns), brindle (exotic intertwined stripe patterns in combinations of browns, grays, and blacks), brown and white (like Holstein pattern but with various shades of brown instead of black), salt and pepper (speckled and dotted patterns on white), tri-colored (various patterns with shades of black or gray, brown, and white), and mahogany (deep browns highlighted by touches of black and tan). Natural solid colors are also quite popular, such as solid white and off-white colors (cream, light beige, and champagne), gray, palomino (rich blondes and yellowish tans), tan, brown, chocolate, and black.

Dyed

For the eclectic palate, we have our Deco dyed collection. Premium solid white and Holstein patterns are given vibrant hues and earthy tones using colorfast dyes. Choose from fun, bold colors like pink, fuchsia, red, tomato, orange, yellow, lime green, khaki, sky blue, blue, navy, purple, cappuccino and mustard. Deep shades of black and chocolate brown are also available, as well as dyed zebra patterns.

Stenciled

How does a cow become a zebra? The magic happens when our premium cowhides are stenciled with amazingly realistic zebra stripes. Colorfast dyes are used to embed stripes or spots on natural cowhides to create amazingly realistic safari animal patterns. Choose from zebra, tiger, jaguar, cheetah, leopard, and giraffe print hides. You can also get psychedelic with our safari printed dyed hides in bright colors.

Devore, Etched & Embossed

Our devore hides will blow your mind. Natural cowhides are treated to create a splatter effect where random bare spots on the leather are finished with metallic colors like bronze, gold, copper or silver. Our etched hides undergo a similar process, whereby distinct patterns are etched into the hair of the cowhide. Our embossed selections are created by stamping patterns, like alligator skin, directly into the leather. All of these techniques can be applied to natural and dyed cowhides.

Patchwork Rugs

Our patchwork rugs are crafted from pieces of our premium hair-on cowhides that are sewn together in amazing patterns to create some of the most unique area rugs you've ever seen. These can be custom made in practically any size, design, and colors imaginable. Find out more in our Patchwork Rug Buying Guide.

Uses

Decorating

There are many uses of cowhide for decorating. Many people use cowhides as throw rugs under dining tables, coffee tables, or grand pianos, or as an entry rug in the foyer. They can be placed on carpet or directly on a wood or tile floor. Hides look great draped over a sofa table, chair or couch. When displayed on a wall, they create a natural art piece while enhancing room acoustics.

Upholstery

All of our hair-on cowhides are great for upholstery. They make perfect leather seats for dining or occasional chairs. Our cowhides have also been used to upholster everything from cornices, pillars, mirror frames, benches, and entire living room sets, to car interiors and motorcycle seats.

About Our Cowhides

Sizes and Hair-Length

Our cowhides are available in short, medium, and long hair lengths. Our short hair hides usually have a smooth and shiny hair surface, while our long-hair hides have a thick and wavy look. Our hides are measured from top to bottom and side to side at the longest points. An easier (and perhaps more useful) way to think of the measurements would be to think of them as the dimensions of space in which a cowhide will fit. For example, a cowhide that measures 84-inches long x 72-inches wide would fit into an 7ft by 6ft area.

Our Size Categories Defined
  • XXL - 56+ Sq Ft - Larger than 8ft long x 7ft wide.
  • XL - 46-55 Sq Ft - Approximately 7-8ft long x 6-7ft wide.
  • Large - 37-45 Sq Ft - Approximately 7ft long x 6ft wide.
  • Medium - 29-36 Sq Ft - Approximately 5-6ft long x 5-6ft wide.
  • Extra Small - 6 Sq Ft - Approximately 3ft long x 2ft wide.

Origins

All of our cowhides are a byproduct of the beef industry. Our main tanneries are located in a particular area of Southern Brazil known for its near perfect climate and lush grasslands. It's also where some of the world's finest shoe leather is sourced. We also have tanneries in Colombia and Argentina, where many of our Value-Line hides originate.

Tanning Process

We choose to employ the chromium tanning process (sometimes referred to as wet blue). This time-honored method uses chromium salts, and is safer than other tanning methods. The result is a finished hide that is more pliable and supple. Chromium tanned cowhides are also more durable, retain their shape better, and resist spills and stains very well.

Guarantee

We're persnickety about the high quality of our cowhides, almost to a fault. But, while we are proud to source the finest hides available anywhere, we understand that home decor doesn't always fit. This is especially true for natural one-of-a-kind items like cowhides. That's why we offer the best return policy in the industry. If for ANY reason you are unhappy with your purchase, we will send you a prepaid return label to send it back to us. We'll pay for return shipping and refund 100% of the purchase price with no questions asked. [see details and easy return instructions]

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