What You Need to Know About Buffalo Leather



If you are looking for a distinctive and durable material for your next leatherworking project, buffalo leather may be a great option. Here's why.


What Type of Leather is Buffalo?

Buffalo leather is a tanned buffalo hide obtained from one domestic buffalo. It is also known as English Saddle Leather.

With the domestication of buffalos 6000 years ago in Asia, these domestic buffalo are mainly used for pulling carts and plows in India. Buffalo leather bags are also made through them. Milk is often produced from buffalos rather than cows, while buffalo hides are specifically tanned to produce buffalo leather.

Buffalo leather has a relatively distinctive grain compared to cowhide leather, making it a popular choice for consumers and seasoned leatherworkers. This guide will cover the basics of this material to equip you with everything you need to know to start working with it.

Types of Buffalo Leather

Several different materials fall under the category of buffalo leather. The following are some of the most popular.

Full-Grain Leather

Full-grain buffalo leather is of excellent quality and is made from the top layer of domestic American buffalo hide. The top layer typically carries all the best and most natural characteristics of the buffalo hides. This is what gives full-grain buffalo leather a unique appearance with natural beauty.

Full-grain buffalo leather is exceptionally durable and has an appealing texture. It has been used for boots, wallets, and other durable stuff. Moreover, it is easy to clean and has strong fibers that prevent animal hair, dust, and lint penetration. So you can easily clean it with a soapy cloth for a smooth finish and a high resistance to dirt. Additionally, on annual conditioning, it develops a rich patina that gets two times thicker over time.

Top-Grain Buffalo Leather

This is the second-best quality top-grain leather made from the top layer of domestic American buffalo hide. It is important to note that top-grain buffalo leather is mainly sanded down to remove any imperfections that may be present. Like full-grain buffalo leather, top-grain buffalo leather also has natural cowhide characteristics, giving it a unique appearance, thickness, and good durability.

Genuine Buffalo Leather

This is the lowest quality of buffalo leather and is relatively thin and weaker than those other leather grains. Considering its lowest quality leather, you may wonder why this type is known as ‘genuine’ buffalo leather. The term genuine is used to enhance the appeal of the product. The name “genuine leather” makes this type of buffalo leather sound high-quality. However, it is of weak fiber, low-quality split leather, and less dirt resistance, which needs appropriate care.

Pull-Up Buffalo Leather

This is high-quality buffalo leather mainly coated with an aniline dye, giving the leather a richer look and color. The buffalo leather may be applied with a blend of transparent waxes or oils to provide a better finish and a softer texture. Compared to the rest, the buffalo hides’ blemishes are kept intact in pull-up buffalo leather.

Water Buffalo Leather

This type of buffalo leather is sourced from the hides of the Asian water buffalo. It is important to note that there are three buffalo types: the Asian water buffalo, the American or Bison buffalo, and the African Cape buffalo.

Water buffalo leather is usually breathable and thicker leather. They are flexible and allow manufacturers to produce more stylish luxury products for everyday use.

Italian Buffalo Leather

Italy is famous for its impressive craftsmanship and long tradition of producing leather. Italian buffalo leather is made from imported buffalo hides that are processed and, at the same time, tanned in Italy. Italian buffalo leather is used to make high-quality leather products. Most buffalo leather around Europe is produced in Italy.

Buffalo Leather Vs. Cow Leather: How to Tell the Difference

Cow leather is the most widely used leather than buffalo leather, so it’s common to have trouble distinguishing the two. however, the simplest and easiest way to differentiate between these two is the thickness of the epidermal layer. The epidermal layer of buffalo leather is three times thicker than cow leather. That's why it is perceived to be stronger.

The following are a few key differences.


When we compare the two buffalo leather and cow leather in terms of processing, cow leather’s tanning process often involves modern techniques that include chemicals, while buffalo leather’s hides are tanned using organic materials. Additionally, cow leather hides are stretched during this tanning process, while buffalo hides are not.

Quality and Size

The same quality of full-grain and top-grain in buffalo leather also applies to cow leather, but they differ in size. As far as sizes go, buffalo leather is significantly smaller than cow leather since they are stretched during tanning. The reason why buffalo leather doesn’t stretch is to preserve its uniqueness.


Based on the natural state of buffalo leather, it is relatively more robust than cowhide leather. The hides that make the buffalo hides are not stretched as much as cow leather hides are. This is why buffalo leather is considered stronger than cow leather. Buffalo leather is strong, durable, and resistant to tearing. unlike buffalo leather, cow leather is weak and can't endure any wear and tear.

Is There Any Difference Between Buffalo Leather and Bison Leather?

For starters, bison are strong animals hunted for their meat, hides, and horns. Even though buffalo and bison are usually used interchangeably, the two are separate animals regarding leather.

You can differentiate the two by being keen on where the leather comes from. Most bison leather products in the United States come from North American bison. When you see a buffalo leather product, it’s mainly from the Asian Water Buffalo or African Cape Buffalo.

The durability of Buffalo Leather Products

Buffalo leather products such as buffalo leather belts, bags, and jackets are superior durability. The material’s good strength and elasticity make it less prone to tears, and many buffalo leather products are also flame-resistant. It lends itself best to men's and women’s accessories and shoes.

Is Buffalo Leather Any Good?

Due to its excellent quality, buffalo leather is a perfect product for many leatherworking projects. If you are looking for high-quality, flexible, and soft yet durable leather, buffalo leather should be your number one choice.

Buffalo Leather's beautiful appearance can withstand the harshest conditions and serve you or your customers for a long time. If that is not enough, buffalo leather is resistant to scratches and many types of damage.

Is Bison Leather Tougher Than Cow Leather?

Yes, bison leather is tougher than cow leather. Due to bison’s animal instinct to protect their hide, bison leather is tanned using various organic materials that give bison hides a tougher texture. This bison skin is then used to create bison leather products.

What Is Bonded Leather?

Bonded leather is a combination of both artificial and real leather. The upper part of the bonded leather product is made from 100% real buffalo hide, while the bonded leather base is made from a mixture of materials such as paper pulp, wood pulp, etc. These components of the base are glued to the buffalo hide.

Buffalo Leather For Sale

Next time you think about buying a leather product, quality should be your priority. If your cart is empty and doesn’t have any exclusive deals on buffalo leather, do not look for an attractive alternative. Buffalo leather goods provide extraordinary quality and more. However, the leather supplier you choose to purchase your buffalo leather from also makes a difference in the leather quality.

If you are looking for a reputable leather supplier with superior buffalo leather for sale, look no further than Stonestreet Leather. Our selection of buffalo leather materials has earned the trust of countless leather lovers like you. Browse our products today or reach out to our team for more information.