A whole sheepskin

Sheepskin is the hide of a sheep, sometimes also called lambskin. Unlike common leather, sheepskin is tanned with the fleece intact, as in a pelt.[1]



Sheepskin is used to produce sheepskin leather products and soft wool-lined clothing or coverings, including gloves, hats, footstools, automotive seat covers, baby and invalid rugs and pelts (sheepskin rugs and seat covers). In particular, sheepskin is the principal material used to make ugg boots (a type of sheepskin boot), footwear traditionally produced in Australia and New Zealand. Sheepskin numnahs, saddle pads, saddle seat covers, sheepskin horse boots, tack linings and girth tubes are also made and used in equestrianism.[2] [3]

The fleece of sheepskin has excellent insulating properties and it is also resistant to flame and static electricity. Wool is considered by the medical profession to be hypoallergenic.[4]

The Royal Melbourne Hospital and the CSIRO Textile and Fibre Technology Leather Research Centre, testing confirmed the advantages of medical sheepskin in the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcer treatment.[5]


The quality of the skin used in each application depends on several factors, mostly whether the pelt, which is the back of the hide, will be visible or not. Where the pelt is visible, better quality hide with minimal seed will be used.

Seed contamination is where patches of scar tissue remain, resulting from a healed seed burrow wound during the animal's life. This scar tissue can fall out leaving small holes after the pelt is processed or it can remain in place leaving imperfections in the pelt which cannot be corrected. Seed contamination is graded as follows[6]:

(1) "No Visible Seed" - Visually free of seed contamination. This does not however mean the skin is completely free of seed, only visually free.

(2) "Light Seed" - Slight seed contamination visible in the wool but minimal mainly concentrated in the belly regions.

(3) "Medium Seed" - Light seed contamination is present over most of the wool surface but is concentrated around the belly area and the legs.

(4) "Heavy Seed" - Heavy contamination extending through the majority of the wool but especially prevalent around the belly area and the legs.

(5) "Burry" - Wool contaminated with hard seed. Can vary from light to heavy concentration. This level of seed can cause problems if it is not removed before fleshing starts as the rollers can sometimes punch them through the skin.

In general wool affected by skin diseases is not usable. Other problems include louse infestation, dead wool and regrowth.[citation needed]

Skins are classed, packed and sold in standardized wool lengths:

  • Bares (newly shorn)
  • 1/8"–1/4" (3 mm–7 mm)
  • 1/4"–1/2" (7 mm–13 mm)
  • 1/2"–1" (13 mm–26 mm)
  • 1"–2" (26 mm 55 mm)
  • 2"–4" (55 mm–110 mm) (Full wools)

Mouton fur

Mouton fur (North America) or beaver lamb (UK) is sheepskin which has been processed to resemble beaver or seal fur[7] (mouton is French for "sheep"). Mouton fur is lambskin whose hair has been straightened, chemically treated, and thermally set to produce a moisture repellent finish. Mouton is often dyed brown to resemble beaver, but it is also made in many other colors.

See also

  • Calfskin


  1. ^ Delbridge, Arthur, "The Macquarie Dictionary", 2nd ed., Macquarie Library, North Ryde, 1991
  2. ^ Dressage & General Purpose Numnahs Retrieved on 2 February 2009
  3. ^ Sheepskin Products Retrieved on 2 February 2009
  4. ^ Wool Facts Retrieved on 12 January 2009
  5. ^ Pressure Ulcer Treatment
  6. ^ Sheepskin Seed Contamination Gradings Retrieved on 12 January 2009
  7. ^ MOUTON Fur: the smart choice Retrieved on 12 January 2009

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • sheepskin — c.1200, the skin of a sheep, from SHEEP (Cf. sheep) + SKIN (Cf. skin) (n.). Meaning diploma dates from 1804; so called because formerly made of sheepskin parchment …   Etymology dictionary

  • Sheepskin — Sheep skin , n. 1. The skin of a sheep; or, leather prepared from it. [1913 Webster] 2. A diploma; so called because usually written or printed on parchment prepared from the skin of the sheep. [College Cant] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sheepskin — ► NOUN ▪ a sheep s skin with the wool on, especially when made into a garment or rug …   English terms dictionary

  • sheepskin — [shēp′skin΄] n. 1. the skin of a sheep, esp. one dressed with the fleece on it, as for a coat 2. parchment or leather made from the skin of a sheep: the parchment is often used for documents, as diplomas ☆ 3. Informal DIPLOMA …   English World dictionary

  • sheepskin — UK [ˈʃiːpˌskɪn] / US [ˈʃɪpˌskɪn] noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms sheepskin : singular sheepskin plural sheepskins the skin of a sheep with the wool still on it a sheepskin coat/jacket/rug …   English dictionary

  • sheepskin — sheep|skin [ ʃip,skın ] noun 1. ) count or uncount the skin of a sheep with the wool still on it: a sheepskin jacket/rug 2. ) count a coat made of sheepskin …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • sheepskin — [[t]ʃi͟ːpskɪn[/t]] sheepskins N VAR: oft N n Sheepskin is the skin of a sheep with the wool still attached to it, used especially for making coats and rugs. ...a sheepskin coat …   English dictionary

  • sheepskin — n. a high school or college diploma. □ When you get that sheepskin on the wall, you’ll feel like it was all worth something. □ Where is your sheepskin from? …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • sheepskin — noun Date: 13th century 1. a. the skin of a sheep; also leather prepared from it b. parchment c. a garment made of or lined with sheepskin 2. diploma …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • sheepskin — noun Sheepskin is used before these nouns: ↑jacket, ↑slipper …   Collocations dictionary

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