"Perfect" Alpaca


5 Years
Jul 10, 2014
I'm getting alpacas for a school project. Yes, I've done my research. I know about common diseases and dietary needs. BUT... I don't know how to pick out an alpaca.

I want show-quality animals, so I need to know what too look for when I pick some out. I do plan on breeding.

Can anyone tell me more about the specifics? Hair length and color (I don't think that matters, does it?), feet, legs, body proportions...? Thanks so much for any answers. :D
Hi there! I worked for a large alpaca breeder for 3+ years and networked into ranch sitting for other alpaca farms and even working at a fiber mill for a few years. I've been out of it for a little while, so don't know if what much that I know has changed, but will add my two cents as well.

That said, I'm in California and breeding quality alpacas are still quite expensive here. Pet quality males still go for around $300 a piece, low end.

Are you interested in huacayas or suris? Huacayas (the fluffy ones) are needing to have denseness and significant crimp to their fiber to place well in shows. Think crinkley fries, but lots of crinkles! :p
Suris need to have good "lock" and fineness to their fiber. Meaning their long silky hair isn't scattered about like a sheep dog, but drape in long spiraly locks.

Color wise, if it's solid colors your looking for; black, white, fawns, they need to been clean of random white and black hairs or spots. Especially along their blankets. The blanket is the section of fiber at the bottom of their neck to their tail and down the abdomen. They do have multi color classes and gray, which is getting increasingly popular though.

If you purchase from a respected breeder they will really help educate and show you the ropes. ;)

They are a lot of fun to be around and watch. Though I haven't met many friendly ones, they are pretty standoffish. Yes, you will occasionally get spit on or walk unto spit flying accidentally. :lol:

Congrats and good luck in your search!!!
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I'm interested in Huacayas. Thanks for your answer! For some reason, I can't really find and information on this. :/

Oh, I just have one question about alpaca care. Some sources say to only get them wet on their bellies to keep them cool in summer. Others say you can spray them all over and others say you can only give them baths.
What should I do, and why all the confusion?
You're welcome!

Alpacas LOVE to be cooled off in the summer, but since their fiber is so dense, it can end up acting as a heat insulator if completely drenched. People usually put out sprinklers that they can go stand/lay over and if a little water gets elsewhere it's okay. But not to soak them in full fiber.

It is okay to give them bathes shortly after they are shorn because their fiber is so short and dries much faster. We were having to give bathes for a while because of a skin bug. Not fun with 50+ alpacas! :p
That said, I'm in California and breeding quality alpacas are still quite expensive here. Pet quality males still go for around $300 a piece, low end.

Yep, same here... Show quality alpacas or llamas will set you back thousands in a blink even at auction... The only thing you can get reasonable cost wise is bottom of the barrel pet quality and those are not even cheap most of the time unless they have severe behavioral issues meaning they won't be good pets... Although if you luck out and find someone that is rehoming their pets due to circumstances you might get a deal...

I personally have llamas as I wanted their size as guard animals, the more important aspect when I was choosing mine was their attitude around me and my children... I ended up getting two for free by pure luck from a local farmer that was retiring... They are just run of the mill pet quality but they have never spit at me or my kids and have never shown aggression towards me or the kids... I can easily get within a few feet to toss a rope around their neck/chin and once they are roped they are docile and allow me to attend to their grooming/shot needs without the need of a chute or further containment... For me attitude and behavior was more important then looks as I have no intention of showing, breeding or trying to make a buck off sheering...

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