Horsehide Vs. Cowhide


Horsehide and cowhide have been used over time as a tough, natural material that can withstand heavy use. The spotted cowhide is recognizable in today's culture as a luxurious fabric to adorn couches and chairs. The two hides are similar, yet distinct enough to have a reason to use one over the other.


  • Horsehide and cowhide can appear as a short-haired, soft, textured material found in natural colors of browns, blacks and whites. Many hides are used for their leather, and in the process lose their color variation. The material is able to be molded, glued and sewn for different uses.

Benefits of Horsehide

  • Horsehide has a firm grain that keeps the material durable, and also makes it an excellent repellent for moisture due to its density. Because of this, the hide can hold up in humid areas and withstand the presence of liquids.

Benefits of Cowhide

  • Cowhide is more readily available than horsehide, and therefore less expensive. The leather is not as dense as horsehide, making it more flexible to sew or mold pieces together.


  • Both hides are durable, so the intended use must be considered when choosing between cowhide and horsehide. For furniture, both have a pleasing aesthetic, yet cowhide coverings likely will be less expensive and easier to manufacture. As the distinctive characteristic that differentiates the two is permeability of water (horsehide being a water-repellent), take the conditions of use into account when selecting.


  • Horsehides and cowhides are used for furniture, rugs, gun holsters, clothing and shoes, among other applications. Horsehide shoes and jackets are more readily available than horsehide furniture.

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