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How to choose the best sheepskin

British sheepskin has always been of world-class quality. Despite massive changes in the industry, we still lead on quality. Featured image by Ayse Rifat

Most sheepskin in the UK is destroyed as a waste product of the meat industry, very few go through the tanning process (read more here). Buying British sheepskin makes a lot of sense. The climate in the UK is perfect for the development of a thick fleece with fiber in at least two layers; a very soft inner down beneath a longer thicker outer coat. It is the inner down that provides that soft snuggly feeling you want to plunge your hands into.

Ethics matter, the life of the sheep is relevant. None of our sheepskin come from sheep that were killed to make our sheepskin. Dartmoor sheepskins come from animals that have lived a wild life on Dartmoor. Our sheepskins are a byproduct of the meat industry.

Hardy breeds develop thick hides and strong fleece out in the open, they also eat lots and are quite large. The only sheep that are bigger are generally from America, where regulation of growth hormones is less strict than in the UK.

Raised outside, without fences

A minority of British sheepskin will come from animals raised indoors – we do not supply these sheepskins. The reason that these sheep are kept inside is to prevent the animals damaging their skin on the barbed wire commonly used to control animals for meat production. Ironically, the most likely animals to be given this more expensive treatment will be those with extra valuable sheepskin, rare breeds in other words. This is not to say that all rare breed sheepskins come from animal husbandry of this kind, but a single tear in a hide will render it unfit for tanning.

We have no problems with barbed wire on Dartmoor as the sheep can roam freely across thousands of acres of wild beauty. So little of the sheep that we eat are turned into sheepskin (just 0.4%) that the quality is exceptionally high. No one in the UK goes through a value-adding process on sub standard starting material.

Turkey and Australia produce a lot of sheepskins, often of high quality, but do check that you are getting a single skin rather than pieces stitched together. You may wish to spend your money more locally, supporting British farmers as you do so. With prices from £59 delivered, Buying British need not cost more.

Reduce waste and petrochemical consumption

Environmentally speaking we should be using all the sheepskins instead of disposing of them as hazardous waste. Add to this our love of faux fur, made from petrochemicals and lacking in the qualities of real fur. Fake fur has a place in saving animals lives, there is no doubt about that, but destroying fur from an already slaughtered animal only to replace it with an artificial recreation is illogical. Buying faux fur is a perfect way to help animals that are raised solely for their fur. Want a mink coat? Get faux fur. Want sheepskin? Buy British sheepskin.

What to look for when buying sheepskin

How to choose the best sheepskin: Look for; thick hide, no thin patches or holes. Symmetrical shape. Different layers of fleece, inner fluffy, and outer thicker with greater variety of pigment. No bald patches. Uniform density of fiber across hide. Attractive patterning. If buying for a baby get a shearling sheepskin with the longer hairs shaved close (just request this in the order notes at the checkout if ordering from Dartmoor Sheepskins). If buying for endurance use (as a motorbike seat cover, or to help with someone who is bed bound) choose from our standard or “seconds” products. For all other purposes, pick the one you fall in love with. Got any questions or preferences? Contact Us.

British Sheepskin
Grade A
From £
79
  • Dartmoor Sheepskin
  • Flawless Quality
  • Free UK Delivery
speckled dartmoor sheepskin
The utmost quality British Sheepskin

British Sheepskin Seconds
Grade B
£
59
  • Dartmoor Sheepskin
  • Hard-To-Spot Fault
  • Free UK Delivery
Your guests won’t notice a minor blemish and the chances are, neither will you

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Enjoy a sheepskin Rug – SALE NOW ON 15% Off

Enjoy a natural sheepskin rug, sale ends October 31st

A sheepskin rug from Dartmoor Sheepskins will always be of a superb quality. Tanned the traditional way, on Dartmoor, they have a sumptuous fleece on a hard-wearing hide. These are products that last for generations and are machine washable using these simple instructions

We will help you get the right sheepskin.

Each sheepskin rug is unique, with the pretties varying by a huge amount. Because we are a small company we can find the right one for you. Place your order and leave a comment on your order us to let us know which one you’ve fallen in love with. We’ll find one to compliment your home.

speckled dartmoor sheepskin, just sheepskin rug
Pretty sheepskins can be used to pick out design elements in a room

Who will get to snuggle it first?

When your sheepskin rug arrives home you are not going to want to put it on the floor. Be sure to take the time to snuggle it first. Sleep on it. Plunge your hands right in. It might even end up on your bed, being used to soften a pushchair (or to keep a baby cool in summer).

Dartmoor sheepskins are remarkably good at wicking moisture away from skin. They will also help prevent bed sores when people are imobile or sick. We can supply the right sort of fleece to help yourself or a relative. Feel free to let us know how you plan to use yours. 

Why choose a Dartmoor sheepskin rug?

For hundreds of years sheep have roamed Dartmoor, free from fences and pens, living a life outside. Over the same period tanneries around Dartmoor have developed the methods still at the peak of global sheepskin quality, still in use today. 

When you handle a Dartmoor sheepskin you can feel how different it is to the generic products offered by bigger stores. These hides are whole, not made from pieces stitched together. These fleeces are thick, durable and machine washable at 30 degrees Celsius. 

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