You don’t need to own a sprawling ranch house to enjoy the appeal and versatility of cowhide rugs. Cowhide is a perfect way to give your home a bit of western flare. It has been a mark of wealth and extravagance in ranching culture for many years and is still used extensively today, in everything from furniture to vehicle interiors to fashion. Most commonly it is used in interior design.
Cowhide rugs are most often made from the hides of longhorn cattle, a breed prized for its varied and colorful coat patterns. Traditionally the flashiest cattle were chosen and bred for their hides, and a plethora of pattern and color variants emerged within the breed. Today cowhides can be found in black and golden brindle, blue and strawberry roan, black and chestnut piebald, several spotted varieties, as well as solid black, white, red, and yellow. Whatever the style and ambience of your home you are certain to find the perfect complementary cowhide rug, completely and beautifully unique.
Homeowners who find themselves reacting to allergens in other kinds of fur will often report a complete absence of symptoms with a cowhide in their home. Cowhide is not a fur at all, in fact, but a very fine, smooth hair. Longhorn cattle are a warm-weather breed and they do not tend to grow a wooly “winter coat”; as a result their hair stays soft and satiny. The skin itself is remarkably tough and long-wearing, and the pattern will not mottle or fade with use or time. Unlike some fur or shearling rugs they do not easily shed or become patchy even in areas of high traffic or with heavy use.
Silky-smooth and cool to the touch even on hot days, cowhide rugs make exceptional sofa-covers or floor rugs. The soft-treated underside or “rough out” acts as its own anti-skid feature; cowhide rugs tend to stay where you put them even on hardwood floors or draped over leather couches. Cowhide also makes a very striking wall display. The exotic look and texture creates interest as a backdrop for photographs or wall hangings or can stand on its own as a central piece.
The weight and drape of cowhide rugs make for excellent blankets or bed-throws. In colder climates cowhide provides an insulating layer to sleep under. Like all leathers it breathes instead of trapping heat and moisture, so someone sleeping under cowhide will remain warm without becoming sweaty or over-warm.
You can safely vacuum cowhide (just remember to vacuum in the direction of the hair) but should use only the hose attachment and not the floor sweeper. Shaking and/or wiping with a dry cloth are also effective cleaning methods and will help retain the natural luster of the hair. Be certain to periodically turn floor-rugs so they wear evenly.
There are many different ways to add a note of western glamor to your home, but few are as striking and versatile as cowhide. Heavy and flexible, uniquely shaped and brightly colored, cowhide rugs are eye-catching additions to any decor regardless of where they are featured.