Posted by Jen Magee on 7th Jul 2015
Visitors to our site often do not know the difference between the different kinds of leather that we use to make our collars and leashes, so we thought we would do a series on "Leather Education 101" - starting with Latigo Leather.
To start off - and I am sure all of you know this - leather is made from the hides of cattle, goat, sheep, pigs and sometimes even snakes or fish. We make all of our collars and leashes from cow or bullhide and use ONLY hides sourced in the USA. We never buy hides from other countries due to the substandard tanning practices in countries such as China, Turkey, Brazil, India, Argentina or Mexico. Tanning is the process of treating animal skins to produce what we know as "leather," making it more durable and less susceptible to decomposition.
Tanning a hide into leather involves a process which permanently alters the protein structure of skin and can be performed with either vegetable or mineral methods. Latigo leather uses BOTH methods. First, it is chrome tanned, then vegetable tanned. Before modern combination tanning, Latigo had been combination tanned with alum and gambier. After the tanning process, Latigo is usually infused with oils and waxes.
So what makes Latigo leather so special? Due to the way it is made, Latigo is a stiffer leather but becomes softer the longer it is used. With use, the oils and waxes are slowly released, which eventually gives it a soft and supple feel but maintains its durability. This leather does not lend itself to dyes, so it comes in only 4 colors; black, red, tan, and dark brown.
We use Latigo leather to make some of our leashes because it is long lasting and very strong. We actually hand cut each strip of leather from the hide to make each leash custom for each order. We then hand bevel and finish the sides, so that the leash is smooth and easy to hold. Latigo leather is also water resistant, which is why we also use it to make our dog collars.
Since Latigo leather is fairly stiff, we put a lining of chap leather (which is a very soft leather - think cowboy riding chaps) in each collar so the collar is soft and comfortable against your dog's neck. We can also line our Latigo leash handles with chap leather for the same reason.
If any of you own and ride horses, you are probably familiar with Latigo leather as it is used to fasten a saddle onto the back of the horse. Again, it is used this way due to its durability and water resistant nature.
As you browse through our many styles of leather dog collars and leashes, you will know when Latigo leather is being use, as it is noted in the description of the product. Using the best quality leather will produce the best quality and longest lasting collars and leashes.
We hope you learned a thing or two about Latigo leather! Stay tuned for our next installment of "Leather Education 101." In the meantime - check out our awesome selection of leashes!