Challenges of Using Ponyskin and Hair-On Hides

Challenges of Using Ponyskin and Hair-On Hides

Ponyskin is fashionable as a material in leather bags, footwear, and clothing, and it is also known by several other names: Pony leather, pony fur, hair-on hides, hair-on-leather, haircalf or calf-hair.

Ponyskin is often (but not always) made from cowhide which, unlike other types of leather, retains the original hair. This provides interesting textured material for a variety of applications however it can be challenging to specify and manage in terms of quality and performance.

Manufacturers often bleach, dye and screenprint ponyskin with different colorful designs to give it a visually appealing effect, such as leopard print for example:

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However, ponyskin can be problematic; the leather is difficult to make due to the complex chemical and physical processes which must be robust enough to successfully prevent putrefaction of the hide but also ensure the retention of even texture. If the tanning and material manufacturing process is not well managed it can create quality, performance and compliance challenges further downstream in the supply chain.


Common Problems and Material Quality Issues with Ponyskin

Our accredited testing laboratory at Eurofins | BLC offers a wide range of technical support to combat quality issues and material faults with ponyskin.

Common performance and quality problems that we experience are:

  • Shedding of hair
  • Colour transfer from printed effects between materials
  • Colour migration between effects on the hide itself


Ponyskin also has a higher propensity for the formation of the restricted substance chromium VI (chrome VI) which is a significant chemical compliance risk and can be a barrier to market for a key global market such as Europe. Chrome VI is specified and regulated in the European Union, South Korea, Egypt, and Turkey.


Specifications for Ponyskin

The best way to manage common problems with ponyskin is through clear, material specifications and a robust testing regime. Regular testing not only provides up to date assurance of a product’s compliance to quality standards and chemical legislation; it also ensures product consistency during high volume manufacturing. As testing ponyskin is a specialist activity, we recommend that only an experienced leather technologist is used.


Access More with Membership

At Eurofins | BLC, we provide our Members with free access to our leather, product and chemical specifications in addition to 1-2-1 technical support and access to a range of leather, chemical and sustainability training courses at discounted rates.  

Our specialist fault diagnosis service is also available to Eurofins | BLC Members at a discounted rate and can identify the cause of material and manufacturing quality issues. Upon completion of the sample analysis and investigation, your business will receive a report detailing the findings and recommendations for prevention.


Contact the Leather Experts

Discuss your ponyskin issues today with one of our leather experts. For more information on our testing and membership services, please email [email protected], telephone +44 (0)1604 679999 or complete the web contact form below.

7 August 2019

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