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Difference Between Buffalo Hide & Cowhide Leather

Updated March 23, 2017

Buffalo hide and cowhide are both used to make leather goods, but they look, feel and wear differently. Buffalo hide is heavier and more rugged, but cowhide is more versatile and used to make more items, according to Trumans.com.

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Cowhide has a finer grain and is available in a wide variety of textures. Buffalo hide has a coarse-looking, uneven and pebbly grain.


An unsplit buffalo hide is thicker and considered the hardest-wearing leather. It is not very flexible and has a rubbery feel, according to Fabric-Manufacturers.com. Cowhide is more supple and resistant to tearing and is easy to maintain.


Cowhide is considered a finer leather and costs more. With a superior combination of flexibility, durability and grain, it is the most popular garment leather. Cheaper motorcycle wear is widely available in buffalo hide, although motorcycle wear is typically made out of cowhide, according to TACSafety.com.

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About the Author

Lexa W. Lee

Lexa W. Lee is a New Orleans-based writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has contributed to "Central Nervous System News" and the "Journal of Naturopathic Medicine," as well as several online publications. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Reed College, a naturopathic medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and served as a postdoctoral researcher in immunology.

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