Noryageur Sheepskin facts

What is sheepskin, exactly?

A sheepskin is the skin of a Lamb or sheep that’s tanned with the wool (fur) still attached to the skin. Genuine sheepskin rugs are a whole animal hide or pelt with nothing glued or manufactured. This is exactly why each sheepskin pelt rug we sell will never be alike! Each sheepskin has its own unique markings and shape.

Sheepskin rug” is the term used to describe a sheepskin pelt or hide tanned with its wool still attached. It’s not to be confused with solely being suitable for the floor in your home. Depending on your household and lifestyle, a sheepskin rug may or may not be suitable for use on the floor at all. Many clients use sheepskin rugs as a decorative accent piece, sofa throw or to add warmth and comfort to their favorite chair.

Sheepskin Coloring

We do our best to display the true natural colors of each sheepskin. Due to monitor settings, this may vary from one device to another. Natural sheepskins display a multitude of colors and markings as seen in the photos. Depending on the lighting and colors in your home, the sheepskin may have different color tones more visible.

  • Natural sheepskins can have a variety of tones such as cream, white, gray, black, brown and tan. Natural sheepskins can display all the colors in a single hide or show a combination of some of those colors listed above.
  • Natural white sheepskins will NEVER be solid white but vary from a cream, ivory and some with a tingle of lanolin which makes the sheep’s wool appear slightly yellow.
  • Natural Black sheepskin rugs can range from very black to a deep brown black with reddish highlights due to sun exposure.
  • Natural brown sheepskin displays a variety of shades from very light brown to a dark chocolate brown.

Why don’t you sell dyed sheepskins? 

The top three reasons we don’t offer for sale dyed sheepskin rugs:

  • Using dye on a sheepskin rug is one of the most environmentally toxic parts of the tanning industry. 
  • You never have to worry about the sun and fading your beautiful sheepskin. Dyed sheepskins can’t be exposed to UV rays or they will fade.
  •  You also don’t have to be concerned about color transfer, dye rubbing off on your expensive furniture or clothing!!! 

A natural sheepskin is a sheepskin that is in its natural organic shape, and they tan the hide with no bleaches or dyes to alter the color of the wool. We never use detrimental chromium in the tanning process which is harmful to your health and the environment. The sheepskin rugs, their processing and treatment are safe for all. All tanning agents used in tanning and the finishing process meet essential European Union directives concerning the environmental preservation & protection. These directives are more strict than in the United States.

What is a natural sheepskin?

Natural sheepskin is one of the most misused terms in the industry! By definition, when dealing with pelts, natural is a term that tells consumers the product is natural without dyes or any other products to alter the hides’ color.

If the sheepskin is pointed, dyed, bleached, or artificially colored, it is NOT natural and should not be marketed or advertised with the term natural.

Sheepskin rugs & Sizing

Sheepskin rug measurements are approximate and done by hand diagonally at the widest and longest points on the wool side to achieve width and length. This method is the industry standard.

how to measure a sheepskin rug

Sheepskin Thickness and Density

Each sheepskin rug is ONE OF A KIND and is unique since these pieces are not factory created. No two will ever be exactly alike. We have come up with our own method for you to determine the thickness and density of each sheepskin rug so you can compare. We take each sheepskin pelt and fold it in half, then ball it in three folds and place it on a chair. Here you can see and compare sheepskins of similar length to how they match up.

how to tell the density of a sheepskin rug

Do sheepskins shed wool?

Sheepskins have no shedding, slight shedding and some more than others. The important thing is that, YES, the shedding does come to an end and does not last forever. Most sheepskins we carry have little to no shedding at all and we take the time and effort to brush each sheepskin prior to shipment. Chair pads and stitched rugs may have slightly more shedding at first due to cutting the edges of the hides.

What does sheepskin feel like?

Sheepskin can vary in feel and we try to describe the feel of each sheepskin we have so you can decide what’s best for you! Our sheepskin rug offering DO NOT feel like a scratchy old wool sweater (unless otherwise noted). Most of our sheepskin ranges from silky soft to touch, to very soft to touch, some with a more woolly soft feel. After all, it is wool! The wool feel typically depends on the breed of sheep and the age of the sheep.

What does the backside of a sheepskin rug look like?

The backside of a sheepskin rug has a suede finish. We do not expect the suede side of the sheepskin rug to be flawless since it’s what they call a “single face sheepskin”. Since each sheepskin rug is hand trimmed, the shape of each sheepskin will be different. Our sheepskin hides come from meticulously cared for stock, only. You will not find large scars, holes, and major damage to the sheep’s skin.

Backside of a single-face sheepskin rug

How do I clean my sheepskin rug?

Please note, cleaning instructions is for our sheepskin rugs. Directions from each retailer may differ and you should only clean your Noryageur sheepskin rug according to our guidelines stated below. Keep on mind you would never throw you Italian leather jacket in a tub of water and you really should never soak the leather on your sheepskin either.

If you need extensive or a very thorough cleaning, we recommend sending your sheepskin to be dry cleaned or learn how to DIY clean your sheepskin rug by visiting this page (not affiliated to us in anyway but provides an AMAZING tutorial that we couldn’t even begin to outdo!)

Sheepskin rugs that are used daily by you or a pet should be shook & brushed out monthly/weekly to maintain a beautiful appearance and remain fresh.

Sheepskins, used as an accent piece or infrequently sat upon, should be shook & brushed out periodically to maintain a beautiful appearance and remain fresh.

We recommend hanging your sheepskin outside to air out, especially when the weather is cold for a few hours.

Large sheepskin area rugs, if possible, can be shaken out carefully and aired periodically. Alternatively, vacuum weekly using the suction only setting.

Periodic spot cleaning is done using a no rinse wool wash diluted in a spray bottle and sprayed over the entire wool surface or area of the sheepskin’s wool that needs cleaning and gently wiped in one direction. Never rub & scrub the sheep’s wool when wet. Hang your sheepskin to dry in a warm airy location in the shade, never near a hot stove or full sun.

Once a year during spring cleaning we clean all our sheepskin’s fleece with kookaburra wool wash.

Where do your sheepskins come from?

Our sheepskins are imported from Europe where they have strict environmental, work and health regulations. In-fact, more stringent than the USA! Mutton and Lamb are also a regular consumed meat in Europe, so more “by-products” are available there vs the USA. The climate is also very favorable for raising sheep and lambs. Sheepskin pelts are by-products of the meat industry and would otherwise go to waste. We believe in a zero waste policy! The sheep in Europe, our sheepskins come from live on the open land, not in feedlots or barns in sawdust. Because of this, their wool is typically extremely clean.

Are sheepskin rugs ethical?

Sheepskin rugs are not just a fashion statement, they are also a way of life. Humans have used them for centuries to keep people warm and comfortable in inhospitable environments. The question, whether these rugs are ethical is one that many people often ask themselves, and the answer to this question is not as simple as it may seem.

  • We believe our sheepskin rugs we sell are indeed ethical and a sustainable product for the reasons listed below.
  • The sheep are born free and live wild on open land until they’re rounded up. They do not contend with the stress of living in barns or being fenced in small spaces daily.
  • The sheep provide many natural products such as fiber, meat, milk, & lanolin
  • They do not kill the sheep for their sheepskins, their sheepskins are simply a byproduct. They would otherwise throw sheepskin pelts in the trash. Instead, they’re made into a beautiful, functional product.

Authentic Genuine Sheepskins vs. their faux counterparts?

Facts are UNDENIABLE! Genuine Sheepskins are a renewable resource, they’re Eco-friendly, recyclable, re-workable biodegradable & earth friendly!!! Especially natural sheepskins, without dye! Speaking of which, I have a Vintage Genuine Sheepskin B3 Bomber that’s over 40 years old and still looks as good as new! A faux leather jacket will not last a season or two, let alone 40 years without splitting, cracking and flaking.

Faux fur is made of plastic, need we say more? Plastic and micro plastic contamination is a HUGE problem around the world and your cheap faux fur purchase once thrown away will take thousands of years to biodegrade, if ever! Do a quick google search and see for yourself.

Faux leather is over 50% – 70% urethane to hold the apple, mushroom or whatever fad that’s happening this year together.

Urethane falls somewhere in the middle of plastic and rubber and is toxic. Why do you think a lot of states banned the use of urethane floor finishes?

Yes, no animals are immediately harmed when making this product. In the end, faux products not only hurt animals, but certainly impact us all.

The long-lasting impact on the earth is immeasurable, since these faux furs and leathers are not biodegradable and have a very short lifespan.

Faux fur and leather usually only last a season whereas a cared for genuine product will last for years with proper care.

Terms used interchangeably

Sheep pelt, sheep pelts, sheepskin, sheep skin, sheepskins, sheepskin skins, sheepskin rug, lambskin rug

Meaning: A tanned and preserved skin of a sheep with the wool still attached

Do sheepskin rugs have odor, if so what do they smell like?

Sheepskin rugs are not void of odor since they’re a natural product. Similar to Jute, a leather jacket or a damp wool sweater a sheepskin will also have a distinct scent. Our sheepskins are rinsed with a light scented shampoo during their final tanning stages.

Scents present differ based on opinion and persons’ experience in nature. They include:

  • Sheep leather. The sheep’s leather is still attached to the wool, so this is expected.
  • Shampoo fragrance, especially if the sheepskin was just tanned.
  • Lanolin &/or Sheepy, for obvious reasons…

Scent is always exacerbated in the warm summer months and the strongest scent is first noticed upon unpacking due to being suffocated in a box.

First time Buyer?

We highly recommend you contact us prior to purchase if you feel confused, overwhelmed or don’t know where to start! Be sure to include certain expectations you have, such as thickness, softness or a specified use. We love helping customers, so they get exactly what they want and have a joyful experience. Our email is

natural sheepskin for chair

Check out our collection of 100% natural sheepskins rugs available for sale.