Cow hitch

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Animated Knots show you how to tie Basic Knots, Fishing Knots, Sailing Knots, Climbing Knots, Forty Knots,
Special Knots, and Advanced Knots, for Wolf, Bear, Webelos, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class.

Cow hitch
Names Cow hitch, Strap hitch, Lanyard hitch, Lark's head, or Girth hitch
Typical use
Caveat The Cow hitch is one of the least secure of the hitches.
Category knots
Group Special knots
Animation of tying a Cow hitch
Animation of tying a Cow hitch

Required for


The Cow Hitch is like Two half-hitches with the second hitch reversed.

Pass the end of the rope around a ring, post, pole, tree, etc. Bring the end over and under the body of the rope (known as the standing part),then back through the loop thus formed. That makes a half hitch. Take the end around the standing part a second time and tie another half hitch but with the two half hitches facing each other. Pull it snug.

Lesson Videos


The Cow hitch hitches a rope to a metal ring, pole, or another rope. It is also used in Horsemanship for typing a leather strap to a ring or hitching post. In Small-Boat Sailing, the Cow hitch is used to secure a lanyard to a shroud or jib sheet to a clew, etc.

  • Grog notes: "The Girth Hitch is much more familiar than many of us recognize: it is the same knot we use to link a pair of elastic bands."
  • See The Ashley Book of Knots # 1694, p. 294).
  • The Cow hitch (Lark's head) is one of the Forty knots.

See also
Knots by Use
Basic knots Overhand knot · Square knot · Granny knot · Two half-hitches · Taut-line hitch · Bowline · Sheet bend · Slip knot · Clove hitch · Timber hitch
Advanced knots Constrictor knot · Monkey's fist · Ocean plait · Trucker's hitch · Turk's head
Special knots Braiding · Carrick bend · Chain sinnet · Cow hitch · Double sheet bend · Sheep shank
Fishing knots Arbor backing knot · Barrel knot · Blood knot · Blood loop · Clinch knot · Fisherman's knot · Improved clinch knot · Nail knot · Needle knot · Palomar knot · Surgeon's loop · Turle knot
Sailing knots Bowline on a Bight · Cleat Hitch · Double Bowline · Figure Eight · Marline Hitch · Midshipman's Hitch · Rolling Hitch · Stevedores Knot
Climbing knots Alpine Butterfly knot · Double fisherman's knot (Grapevine) · Figure eight follow-through · Figure eight on a bight · Figure eight on bend · Figure eight knot · Prusik knot · Safety knot · Water knot
Forty knots

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