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Genuine Zebra HideMost have heard of Zebra rugs, but many haven’t considered the numerous applications of a tanned Zebra hide.

Here are some FAQ and suggestions on production with Zebra hides:

What is the legal species of Zebra hide in the United Sates?
The legal species of Zebra for trade and ownership in the United States is the Bruchell variety, which has roughly 80 stripes from head to toe. A full sized hide is cut down the belly, with the striping down the center. A professionally tanned full hide has the head, body, thighs, and tail.

What does a finished Zebra hide feel like?
A finished hide is slightly stiff but very pliable and easy to cut and manipulate. The fur is groomed and shaved down for a smooth and relatively thin material to maximize appearance, touch, and last a lifetime.

A tanned hide typically will come in two ways: Standard and Felt-Backed. A Standard hide is a production-ready hide with no backing on the material. These are a little less since they don’t have a backing attached.

The other way a Zebra hide can be purchased is with a thick felt backing. A felt-backed hide is essentially a Zebra skin rug – since the felt is added to create additional weight to help keep the rug clean, softer on a ground surface, and will sit flat on the floor.

Genuine Zebra BenchGenuine Zebra Skins for Production
Genuine Zebra is used for many production applications including fine furniture, chairs, ottomans, rugs, trims, upholstery, and more. Since each Zebra is naturally unique in appearance, no two pieces will ever be the same. This uniqueness gives exotic skin an appeal that other materials cannot match and instantly increases the value of a finished product.

Here are some considerations for production with genuine Zebra:

  • Get the most out of each Zebra hide – since most applications require precise cuts to be made, plan the cuts carefully from the full hide before making any cuts. Will you use the head or tail? Will you use the thigh material?
  • Get the best quality for your cuts – Always check the surface of the material and note any natural scarring before cutting – you will want to put the best pieces into your finished product. Smaller applications and straight cuts can typically navigate around any scars or inconsistences.
  • Always save the unused material – Don’t slice and dice the unused material, and do not throw it away! These scraps can be used to create smaller pieces like lampshades, picture frames, pillows, or patchwork-style upholstery, trims, and finished goods. These scraps – even patchwork style – in genuine Zebra are worth far more than a typical cowhide leather application or synthetic (fake) leathers.

In conclusion, mindful preparation is necessary for the best finished product – always make cuts based on the quality and shape to create the best pieces and lessen the waste.

The American Exotics website: is now featuring some of the best genuine Zebra rugs and Zebra hides available on the market. The prices are reasonable for the quality and they have both felt-backing variety as well as standard production-ready Zebra.