What Is A Pelt?
A pelt isn’t leather, yet! For this to become leather it has to go through the tanning process.
A leather isn’t a leather until it’s tanned. The type of tanning done on leather determines certain key characteristics of the leather like colour, toughness, flexibility and feel.
Pelts are unfinished skins, with hair, fur, or wool still on them, including flesh. The flesh has to be removed, along with the fur, hair, or wool if the pelts are not being to be used as a hair on or fur on hide.
Once a pelt has gone through a full tanning process it then becomes a leather skin / hide and is no longer a pelt.
The picture below shows part of the process to help guide you to understanding leather and how it’s made and where it began as a pelt.
A pelt is an undressed skin if you like, you cant say its a naked skin, as it will still have hair, fur, and flesh on the skin.
Some tanneries or leather sellers say smaller animals are commonly called skins—namely, sheepskins, goatskins, calfskins, etc, but larger animals the same is a pelt, until its tanned.
Pelts could have also been dried and cured ready for tanning, but may not have been tanned at that stage.
The most common pelts are from cattle, bison, sheep, goats, and deer, but you can even get pelts form alligators, snakes, fish and much more, but from this type of animal the skins are hairless and will almost always be called a skin or hide.