The fur from Sheep and Lamb is incredibly warm, hardwearing, practical and acceptable to wear in today’s anti-fur society, as it is a by-product of an animal that is also a food source. There are multiple different types of Lamb. Some of them look quite similar while others look quite different.
There has been much confusion over the identification of the many varieties of sheep and lamb fur treatments and breeds. Generally speaking, Persian Lamb, Broadtail Lamb, and Persian-Broadtail Lamb are of the same species of Karakul Lamb, which are native to Central Asia.
Processed-Broadtail Lamb, Mouton and Shearling are specific treatments of Lamb fur and are not related to any specific breed of Lamb.
Karakul Lamb is native to Central Asia and is named after a village called Karakul. They are the oldest breed of domesticated lamb. Also known as Fur Sheep they have beautiful patterned silky pelts with a strong fiber that was felted into fabric or woven into carpeting. Karakul lamb was introduced to the US in the 1910’s and 1920’s for pelt production. US breeders introduced other breeds into the Karakul bloodline, which resulted in inferior pelt quality. Eventually the industry and flocks were dispersed.
The Karakul is distinguished by the color of its fleece, which is due to a dominant black gene. Most Lambs are born coal black with lustrous wavy curls, with the face, ears, and legs usually showing smooth, sleek hair. The color generally begins to turn brownish or bluish gray, getting grayer with age. In its native region the colors are called Arabi (black), Guligas (pink-roan), Kambar (brown), Shirazi (grey) and Sur (agouti). Occasionally individuals are white or pied.
Many adults have a double coat, a fine down undercoat, covered by a coat of guard hair. The best have a fleece as glossy as their lamb coat. There is great variability in the fleece type of both coats, from ‘horse tail’ coarse to silky soft.
Broadtail Lamb is the most exclusive and expensive type of Lamb. It’s hide is soft and thin and it’s fur is short, silky, semi flat, and wavy in texture with a moiré patterned appearance. Natural Broadtail is gray or brown.
American processed Broadtail has a thicker hide and longer fur. The fur is sheared near the skin to give it that distinctive moiré pattern. It is more durable than natural Broadtail, the shearing is close enough to the skin so curl is not present, and is a bit less expensive.
Broadtail is often dyed black as well as other fashionable colors, is used to make outerwear and high end clothing.
Persian, Astrakhan, and Karakul/Caracul Lamb are from parts of Russia, Persia(Iran), and surrounding countries. The wool consists of tightly coiled curls. Natural colors are brown, gray, and black. The black is often dyed to darken the naturally white or creamy colored leather underneath so it does not show between the curls.
Mouton: Sheared lamb or sheepskin is called Mouton. It is a soft, thick, sheared fur that is straightened and chemically treated to make it water repellent. It’s natural color is usually off-white but it is often dyed various shades of brown and black. In the past it was often dyed and treated to resemble Seal fur. It also looks very similar to Sheared Beaver.
Shearling: The hide of a one-year-old Lamb that has been shorn once. The outside of a shearling coat is soft leather or suede leather with the inside being a warm layer of wool. Shearling coats are desirable for warmth and ability to keep out wind.
Shearling has sueded or leathered sheepskin on one side and the sheep’s sheared wool on the other. The sheared side is usually on the inside of collars, coats, outerwear garments, shoes, and handbags with the sueded or leathered portion showing on the outside.
Mongolian Lamb and Tibet Lamb both look and feel quite similar. The guardhair strands are long, silky, and wavy ranging from 3-5” in length. It’s often used for coats, jackets, accessories, and pillows. Much like curly hair if it gets wet the guardhairs get frizzy. Mongolian and Tibet lamb is naturally off white, but is commonly bleached bright white, or dyed a variety of vibrant colors.
Broadtail Lamb is stillborn or unborn Lamb.
Persian-Broadtail lamb is a few days old or less.
Persian Lamb is less than 10 days old.
Shearling is between 12 months old and 20 months old.
As lamb ages the fur changes from the moíre pattern to a tight, close curl, and as it ages more the fur gets longer and the curls become looser.
Written by Furwise.com