The differences between sheepskin and alpaca

A sheepskin or alpaca rug can be a great way to add character and style to any room in the house. The warmth and softness of hair can make living areas cozy and comfortable while also beautifying your home. However, each type does not have the same characteristics and you may end up preferring one type over the other. You may want a natural over dyed coat, for example, or the thickness and feel may convince you – even the way the two are sewn together can make a difference in the final product. Understanding the sometimes subtle differences between sheepskin and alpaca can go a long way in the decision process.

Thickness and touch

For some people, the thickness of the hair is a crucial characteristic that they want to do well. If you are looking for thick, deep and dense fibers, then you want long wool sheepskin. Long wool sheepskin is similar to long pile rugs. It would be suitable if you plan to use it as a rug, while short wool would be more suitable for capes or seat covers. The fibers will have a more uniform texture than the long wool variety. Regardless of height, sheepskin is much denser than alpaca, but it will not be as soft or as silky. Alpaca feels great to run your hands through and is much lighter than sheepskin.


When choosing between sheepskin and alpaca, you need to consider how each is constructed. The sheepskin will have the skin still attached and this is what is actually being sewn on. Alpaca, on the other hand, has a cloth backing. The fabric doesn’t make one less durable than the other, but it could make nickel silver more slippery on certain surfaces like leather. Another thing to consider is that alpaca hair is not as dense or as thick as sheepskin. If you plan to walk or lie on an alpaca, be aware that you may be able to feel the seams underneath you.


When looking at color, the real question is artificial or natural? If you see sheepskin in any color other than gray, the wool has been artificially dyed. Now this can be nice if you are looking for a specific color, but if you are looking for a more natural look, you may want to consider alpaca. Alpaca is not dyed and most manufacturers do not bleach the skin. When shopping for alpaca, you may run into trouble if you have a particular shade of brown or white in mind because the coat is not a single formal color. Some brown alpacas can be more brown than others. The manufacture tries to group certain leathers, but when it comes to natural colors it is not always that simple.

What really comes down is personal preference. If you want thickness and more colors to choose from, please choose sheepskin. For softness over thickness and a more natural look, choose nickel silver. Either one will make your home cozier and look great. Both are quite durable and easy to clean and you can use them as bedspreads, sofa covers, rugs, and even cushions. They keep you very warm and cannot be beaten by synthetic fibers.

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