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Alpaca Terminology:

  • Bred Femaile: A pregant alpaca
  • Cria: A baby alpaca, usually younger than 5 months old.
  • Dam: An alpaca's mother.
  • Fiber: The fleece of an alpaca.
  • Fiber Quality Male: A male alpaca whose genetic characteristics are not worthy of breeding.
  • Herdsire: An alpaca's father, or male alpaca with genetic characteristics desirable for breeding.
  • Huacaya: A type of alpaca with fine fiber and a wooly appearance. Sire: An alpaca's father, or male alpaca with genetic characteristics desirable for breeding.
  • Suri: A type of alpaca with tightly wound fiber that looks like dredlocks. Tight twisted hair.
  • Weanling:A weaned alpaca younger that one year of age.
  • Yearling: An alpaca between 1 and 2 years old

12-alpaca unshorn

Alpaca History

Brief History of Alpacas: Drawings on the walls of caves found in the high Andean Mountains are the first know record of Alpcas. Domesticated 6000 years ago, they were possibly the first domestic animal. Alpaca fiber was uniquely suited to clothe the Anedan Indians in their harsh environment.

The Andean Indians were conquered by the Incas who captured their precious Alpacas. Alpacas became the basis of wealth for the Incan society. The Alpaca regained its prominance in the mid 1800's whe Sir Titus Salt of London discovered the famous qualities of the Alpaca fiber.

Alpaca's first imported to the US in 1984. North America currently has fewer than 25,000 alpacas. Comparing these number to hundred of million sheep, cattle and horses in North America, the Alpaca is a rare and precious resource.

Huacaya -Approximatley 98% of the alpaca world population is hucacaya. The fleece has a crimp or wavy quality enhancing its spinning quaility. Designers around the world love this fine fiber.

Suri-The Suri fleece has a lustous fine fiber with no crimp. Renowned for their incredible handle and luster, the suri glistens in sunlight as if their coat were wet.

Alpaca Registry, Inc was established 1989, the alpaca industry had the foresight to creat one of the most sophisticated animal registries in existance. The registry protects the existing gene pool and helps ensure that each breeder's investment is also protected from cross breeding with llamas and guanacos. Each baby (cria) is blood typed to prove its sire and dam. The Univeristy of California at Davis Serology lab maintains the alpaca blood type and data bank. The value of this registry is tremendous.

Alpacas repoduce slowly, one cria per year. Many breeders retain their offspring to build up their herds. Imports are not allowed into the US any longer.


  1. The life span for an Alpaca range from 15-25 years.
  2. Average height is aprox 36" at the withers.
  3. Average Weight 100 to 175 lbs or about one - half to one third the size of a llama.
  4. Average gestation is 335 days.
  5. Birth Cria weight is usually around 15 to 19lbs. Babies can often stand and nurse within 30 minutes to one hour.
  6. Cria mortality is very low.
  7. Color Alpacas come in 22 solid colors with many variations and blends.


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