Parts of the hide

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Bovine leather consists of a network of interconnected, fine skin fibres. These fibres are not connected in the same way at all points of the bovine’s body. The structure is denser and narrower in the back part and they are quite loose in the abdominal area with larger interspaces. The skin structure is also less stable at the neck part. For this reason, tanners have a special vocabulary for different sections of the animal skin.

Full hide - Half hide

Cowhides are sometimes also sold in halves for car leather or furniture leather and when half hides are sold, the skin is cut along the back part of the animal skin/hide. Leather dealers, usually have a price list for whole skins and half skins.

Half hide - full hide leather.jpg

Full hide (whole hide) - Half hide. The skin is cut along the back of the animal skin/hide.


Shoulder - Belly - Butt

Parts of the hide-03.jpg

The skin sections: Shoulder, belly, butt.


Parts of the hide-04.jpg

Back = butt + shoulder


The hide is divided in different sections: Shoulder, belly and butt.

  • Shoulder: The shoulder is a softer area of the hide.
  • Belly: The belly is a stretchy soft leather of varying thickness.
  • Butt: The butt is the thickest and strongest part of the hide.
  • Back: Butt + shoulder.

Croupons-01.jpg Parts of the hide-01.jpg

Butt in the tannery.


Additional information