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Everything You Need to Know About Buffalo Leather

Everything You Need to Know About Buffalo Leather

What is Buffalo Leather?

Buffalo leather is derived from domestic buffalo hides. The buffalo leather has a unique and different grain pattern as compared to cow or goat leather. This leather is extremely durable as the buffalo skin is much thicker as compared to cow and other animal hides generally in use. Besides being thick, this leather is still very soft and flexible which makes it an ideal material for premium leather goods such as leather bags, leather accessories, jackets, etc.

Where does Buffalo Leather come from?

Many folks use the terms buffalo and bison interchangeably as the North American bison is often called buffalo. But when it comes to leather, buffalo and bison leather are not the same. The term buffalo leather usually means leather derived from Asian Water Buffalo.

Buffalo leather is derived from the domestic buffalos, mostly Asian Water Buffalo usually raised for milk or meat. At the end of their life, the skin is used to make leather by processing it with different methods. In India, a major percentage of the total milk produced is buffalo milk and hence the population of domestic buffalos is very high.

How is buffalo leather made?

Let’s now see how buffalo leather is made.


The hides are removed immediately after a buffalo dies, and is salted to prevent further decay. The buffalo hide is then dried for 3 to 6 days. The rawhides are then sent to tanneries for further process.

Cleaning the rawhides

For removing any dirt from the hide and making it cleaner, it is soaked in water and disinfectants. The hides are then de-haired and fleshed to remove excess hair and flesh.

Preparation for tanning

De-liming is done to make hides free of chemicals and remove unwanted components.

Pickling is done to make leather ready for the tanning process by keeping it at low ph. and avoiding rotting.


This process makes the hide ready for further processes, such as dyeing. Tanning is followed by withering to remove any residual water from the wet skins through metal rolls.

Most buffalo leather in India is processed by an old-school technique called vegetable tanning by using organic vegetable oils. In the end, the buffalo hides are re-tanned and dyed to give the desired color, texture, and look to it such as oiled, matte, polished, glossy, and embossed.

Once finished, manufacturers use buffalo leather hides to convert them into fashionable products such as leather bags, furniture, jackets, and other accessories.

What does Buffalo Leather look like?

The skin structure of the buffalo has large pores and this is evident in leather derived from it. Its leather comes in various colors and finishes as per the final desired use. The buffalo hides have a more distinct and unique grain pattern as compared to cowhide. This distinct pattern is very much desirable by leather lovers so to protect the natural grain appearance, the hides are not stretched. Buffalo leather has wider and thicker fibers as compared to cowhide which also makes it extremely durable.

Is Buffalo Leather Durable?

Buffalo or Bison leather is not stretched like cowhide and hence it is much thicker and has higher durability and strength as compared to cow or goat leather. The full-grain Bison leather is one of the strongest and highest quality leather that you can buy. If used with care, the buffalo leather goods will last a very long time and also age with attractive natural patina over time.

Is Buffalo Leather Good For Bags? 

Your everyday bag is among those accessories which sees a lot of wear and tear. Whether you are carrying them for travelling or office use, they repeatedly carry a good amount of weight and hence durability is most needed aspect in a leather bag. 

Buffalo leather is an excellent material for leather bags due to its durability and texture. 

What is Water Buffalo Leather?

Water buffalo leather is the leather derived from the Asian water buffalo skin. The Asian water buffalos have a large population throughout the Asian subcontinent. They are also reared by the local villagers for milk and for tilling the fields. Water buffalo leather is famous for its natural grain, supple feel, and great strength.

What is Full Grain Buffalo Leather?

Full-grain bison leather is the topmost layer of hiding with all the natural grain and imperfections left intact. The full-grain buffalo leather is very thick and extremely durable. It is one of the highest quality leather available.

What is Top Grain Buffalo Leather?

Top-grain buffalo leather is the second-best quality of leather. The top layer of leather with all imperfections has been removed or sanded out to get a regular and uniform texture of leather. As the buffalo leather is 2-3 times thicker than cow leather, removing the top layer still leaves a very strong and thick leather.

Buffalo Leather vs. Bison leather

Many folks use the terms buffalo and bison interchangeably as the North American bison is often called buffalo. But they are different breeds of animals and hence when it comes to leather, bison leather and buffalo leather are very similar in appearance but not the same.

Usually, if an item is described as Bison leather or buffalo leather in the US, it is referring to leather derived from American Bison. Early Americans used to also call the Bison as Buffalo and hence the name stuck. But if you are looking for actual buffalo leather, you need to pay attention to where the leather is sourced. The actual buffalo leather is derived from two main buffalo species namely Asian water buffalo and African Cape buffalo.

Apart from their origin, both bison and buffalo leather are extremely durable, thick, and have a distinct attractive grain pattern. Choose which one you would prefer and with proper care, you can enjoy the leather for a lifetime to come.

Buffalo Leather vs. Goat Leather

The full grain goat leather is also an extremely durable leather. It is much softer, light weight and flexible making it a good option for gloves, backpacks, journals. The goat skin has a natural waxy oil produced by the goats which makes this leather naturally water resistant. 

Buffalo leather is much thicker as compared to goat leather and is much more durable as well. Full grain buffalo leather is mostly preferred while making premium leather bags and for this reason the cost of Buffalo leather bags is higher. 

Buffalo Leather vs. Cow Leather

Let’s now see how buffalo and bison leather is different from cow leather.

1. Manufacturing

While the manufacturing of cow leather typically involves modern techniques and chemicals, buffalo leather is usually made with an organic tanning process using vegetable oils. Also, this type of leather is not usually stretched during the manufacturing process like cow leather.

2. Durability

Bison and cow leather are both very durable and have great strength. But the ultimate durability of any leather depends on its thickness, the Bison leather hides are not stretched while processing, and hence they remain much thicker as compared to cow leather, and hence this leather is considered more durable and strong.

3. Appearance

The skin structure of the buffalo has large pores and this is evident in leather derived from it. The bison and buffalo leather have a more distinct and unique grain pattern as compared to cowhide.

4. Thickness

The bison leather is 2-3 times thicker than cowhide. So, this leather whether in full grain or top grain is very durable and most suitable for a premium range of products that involves rough usage.

Buffalo Leather vs. Lambskin Leather

Lambskin leather is much finely grained leather and has a soft texture. Lambskin leather is thinner and much prone to stains, whereas buffalo leather is very thick and coarse-grained which makes it very durable and suitable for products that involve rough usage.

Is Buffalo Leather Expensive?

Generally buffalo and bison leather is more expensive because of the quality and strength it possesses. Though the buffalo and bison are large animals the leather hide derived from them are smaller in the area because they are not stretched as compared to cow leather.

The ultimate price of leather still depends on the grade of leather such as full-grain, top-grain, bonded, etc.

Is Buffalo Leather Waterproof?

Like any other real leather, bison leather is not completely waterproof. Leather is a porous material and the extent to which it can resist the penetration of water depends on how it has been treated with oils, waxes, or waterproof coatings.

There are a variety of waxes and sprays available in the market with which you can waterproof leather. One can also use beeswax to waterproof the leather to a certain extent. Still, it is always advisable to dry the leather as soon as possible.

Pros and Cons of Buffalo Leather

Like any other material, buffalo leather has both pros and cons. Let’s look at some of them.

The Pros:

1. Durability

The durability of Bison leather is legendary. As this leather is not stretched so it is very thick, its strength and elasticity give it high resistance to ripping.

2. Breathability

Bison leather is very porous and it breathes, a lot like our skin which absorbs and releases moisture making it a comfortable material for clothing. It also adapts according to the temperature.

3. Environmental effect

Bison leather is less chemically treated and mostly tanned using natural vegetable oils which leads to environmental friendliness.

4. Distinct grain pattern

Buffalo leather has a distinct and attractive grain pattern, it also comes in various finishes and colors which adds to its versatility.

The Cons

1. Expensive

Bison leather is slightly more expensive than cowhide or goat hide.

2.Prone to Stains

Bison leather has a porous texture and hence it gets easily stained.

Suitability of Buffalo Leather and Bison Leather

Buffalo and bison leather is thick and durable which makes it suitable for leather products that involve rough usage. Also, this leather comes in a wide range of colors and finishes which makes it an attractive choice for fashionable goods which require extra strength such as leather bags, leather wallets, and purses, leather travel accessories, handbags, shoes, jackets, etc.

Top 5 Buffalo Leather Bags In 2023

1. The Buffalo Hunter


This is of our top sellers messenger bag in 2023. The rustic hunter leather look of the bag is a show stealer. Whether you are looking for a professional bag or for everyday usage, The Buffalo Hunter can do justice to both.

2. MaheTri Jefferson Briefcase


This premium buffalo leather bag features a unique green and brown combination which is why this has been in high demand. The bag is from the collection of MaheTri premium bags. 

3. Safari Buffalo Traveler


If you are looking for a traveler duffle bag then this bag has gained the highest popularity this year. The classic and sleek design along with durability of buffalo leather makes it a perfect choice for gift as well. 

4. Kim & Blair Combo - Dark Brown



This tote bag has proved to be the most ideal tote for women. With its dark brown color, sleek design and zipper closure, this tote has got all the attention it deserves and guess what it is now coming with a free matching wallet making it a must steal deal. 

5. Rustic Buffalo Cymbal Case

This buffalo cymbal bag is indeed a show stealer and is very popular among the drummers all around the world. With multiple inside compartments and the durability of buffalo leather, this bag is perfect for your next gig. 

Wondering where to find full-grain buffalo leather goods for you? Check out our Buffalo leather bags collections to get premium Buffalo Leather Laptop Bags and Travel Duffel Bags handcrafted from Full-Grain Asian Buffalo leather by skilled Indian craftsmen.

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