Sheepskin Glossary

Sheepskin related terms defined

Our mini dictionary of definitions of terms used throughout our sheepskin website.

We aim to provide as much information to our customers as possible to allow them to decide which products best fit their needs. As there are so many terms used to describe sheepskin products, we have collated some of the more commonly used words and phrases.

Beta lambs - smaller, younger lambs with a shorter wool length and a soft pliable leather. These particularly small lambskins are a by-product of the meat industry's supply of smaller, lower weight lambs supplied such as for Greek festivals where the lamb meat is spit roasted whole.

Baby care rug - a lambskin rug that has been selected and tanned specifically for use with babies and toddlers. We only sell lambskins such as the well known Bowron BabyCare rug as comprehensive guidelines have been strictly adhered to during their selection and tanning. See baby sheepskin info.

Doubleface - the highest quality sheepskin used for sheepskin footwear. Both faces of the skin are visible so the leather side must also be as defect-free as possible. Usually the leather side is dyed. Premium quality sheepskin boots and slippers such as ours are made from double face skins. Cheaper sheep skin footwear can use a low cost suede hide with low grade sheepskin liner glued to the inside of the slipper or boot.

EVA - Ethylene Vinyl Acetate. EVA soles are particularly light in weight whilst being firm. They are glued to the footwear uppers. Also see our sole types page.

Flank - on a natural shape sheepskin pelt, the flank is the widest part.

Fleece - the coat of wool of a sheep or similar animal.

Hide - generally refers to cattle hide. The sole of our soft sole slippers use cattle hide for durability with a sheepskin innersole and the slipper uppers made from twinface sheepskin. Many manufacturers make "sheepskin" slippers from the cheaper hide for the outer and line them with lining grade sheepskin on the inside. The result is a thicker slipper or boot upper that is less flexible to fit snugly around your feet. This is why premium sheepskin footwear such as ours always uses the far more expensive twinface sheepskin. 

Infant care rug - a lambskin rug approved for infant care use. Strict guidelines cover both the selection of the skin and the tanning process. The rug should be machine washable. 

Lambie - an informal term for a lambskin rug used for toddlers/infants, see Infant care rug.

Lambskin - the terms lambskin and sheepskin tend to be used interchangeably. Strictly speaking most sheepskin rugs are made from lambskins. 

Lambswool - often this would refer to an item knitted from lambs wool but can sometimes refer to footwear made from a suede leather such as cattle hide or even pig skin with an artificial material made from lamb's wool glued to it. We don't sell this lower grade type of footwear.

Lanolin - a greasy substance extracted during the processing of wool. After purification, it is one of nature's purest emollients and is used in number of our lanolin skin care cosmetics.

Longwool - typical wool length of a good lambskin is about 64mm (2.5in.) Normally longwool means the wool won't have been shorn and is still at its natural length.

Medical sheepskin - used on beds, seats and wheelchairs to support the body on a cushion of soft but supportive wool fibers. Genuine medical sheepskins are excellent in the prevention of bed sores. Particularly large, New Zealand or Australian, sheepskins are used and a strong tannage is required to ensure the wool remains firmly attached to the leather even after repeated washes. In addition to our single to 8-pelt medical sheepskins, our sheepskin wheelchair covers, medical sheepskin seat pads and medical accessories all use premium grade fully washable medical skins.

Peau de mouton - French for sheepskin.

Pelt - an animal skin that still has the wool, fur or hair still attached. Quality lambskin pelts do not shed like imitation shearling products.

Shearling - strictly speaking this is the skin from a sheep about a year old that has been sheared once. Widely used to mean the equivalent of sheepskin - examples being shearling slippers and shearling boots.

Sheepskin - the most widely used generic term to also cover lambskins and shearling. A by-product of the meat and wool industries. Much of the world's premium sheepskins come from New Zealand and Australia. It is an extremely versatile material and as a sheepskin specialist retailer, we offer a diverse range of products from sheepskin car seat covers to sheepskin slippers and lambskin baby rugs to huge designer sheepskin rug masterpieces. See our types of sheepskin page for additional information.

Shorn - where the wool has been clipped to a shorter length. Sheepskin footwear skins are shorn to about 26mm (5/8in.) and babycare lambskins to about 30mm (1.2in.)

Shortwool - often used to describe shorn sheepskin where the long wool has been trimmed to a uniform length.

Slinkskin - also referred to as baby lamb slinks. Newly born lambs that do not survive are processed to produce one of the world's softest and lightest double face leathers. Due to the small size of the leathers, the cost per square feet is higher than almost any other leather, therefore only premium products such as our sheepskin gloves use such a highly regarded commodity.

Tanning - the tanning of raw sheepskin is carried out by a tannery and involves numerous stages to turn a raw hide into a leather end product. We purchase rugs and other sheepskin products directly from New Zealand's two best sheepskin tanneries, Classic Sheepskins and GL Bowron.

TPR - Thermo Plastic Rubber. The TPR soles used on our Ultimate range of boots with the chunky sole and on a number of our slippers are particularly flexible and have the advantage of being securely side-stitched on to the uppers.

Twinface - (see doubleface)

Ugg boot - although ugg boots was a generic term in Australia and New Zealand for sheepskin boots made there for many years, Deckers Outdoor Corporation in the USA managed to acquire the trademark. Deckers market their Ugg boots under the brand UGG Australia . This can be confusing for the customer as the boots are mostly made in China. Despite us offering quality sheepskin boots that are all actually made here in New Zealand, we can only refer to them as sheepskin boots and not ugg boots. 

Unshorn - the wool is left at its natural length and not trimmed thus providing an untouched natural wool fiber.

Woolly sheepskin - a sheep skin with the wool still attached to its hide such as our woolly sheepskin rugs.

Woolskin - a sheepskin with the wool still on it, though more commonly referred to as "sheepskin". Can sometimes refer to an artificial material made from weaving lambswool into a fabric backing. The only product we sell using this material is our slipper sock as it needs to be stretchable which we have still upgraded to offer a genuine sheepskin innersole. 

Ugg and UGG Australia are registered trademarks of Deckers Outdoor Corp.