GOATS vs CROSS SKINS (BTW what is the difference with a lamb?)
Goats are goats but what are cross leathers? Well… let’s start by defining a goat. Usually in the leather industry we call goats a great number of animals contained in the Goat-antelope family. Actually there are 300 different types of goats so you can imagine the variety of leather sizes, thicknesses and substance between them. We sometimes hear them called Kid Skins (especially from Indian tanners), but actually Kid skins should only be referred to the younger goats where the hides are around 4 square feet. Sometimes we call skid skins even some goats, which are not young, but the bread is simply very small so under a tannery point of view we group them together as the same “article”.
Goats in general are very closely related to sheep. While for goat we intend a wide variety of animals some 30 KG some even over 100 KG for sheep in the tannery industry we narrow down the field to only a certain type of animal. By “sheep” in the tannery industry we intend almost exclusively the Ovis Aries breed, which is basically that cute animal that you see on TV where the shepherd just rams it on its back and trims all the wool off of it. Yes, that fluffy animal is a sheep and we don’t mix that particular breed with goats when talking among professionals in the tannery industry. That is because the wool acts as insulation and therefore the skin characteristics are very different than the goat. Sheep, because of the wool, are much less exposed to sunlight, scratches and other defects that, in most cases, are present on goats. Sheep skins are very indicated for the garment, glove industry and some special application in the shoe industry (UGG boots) because sheep are usually bigger than goats hence the size of the hide is bigger, around 8-9 square feet compare to the goat which is typically 5-7 feet. Sheep skins also make for very soft leather and the leather substance is more fatty and delicate, just imagine that poor cute animal once it has been completely trimmed down. Its skin offers no protection since it is mainly the wool that protects the body of this animal. Hence it doesn’t thicken up of toughen.. Imagine those nice UGG boots or that beautiful sheep skin leather jacket where the fur is on the inside.
Let’s continue the path of enlightenment. Kid is to goat what lamb is to sheep; basically a young sheep is a lamb. So what is this elusive term “cross skins” that is frequently used in the tannery industry? Breads of goats where the leather skins are within the 7-10 square foot range dimensions are called cross skins. So they are bigger in size to that what we call goat skins and different in substance to lamb skin. This makes it easier for us to distinguish the three distinct articles: goat skins, cross skins and sheep skins.