Welcome to the South American Camelid (SAC) Division.

We currently have open herdbooks for the following species of South American Camelids in Purebred, American, Grade  and Experimental or Hybrid classes:



Alpacas are a domesticated species of South American camelids. They are similar in appearance to llamas, their cousins. Alpacas are descendants of the wild vicuna while llamas are descendants of the guanaco. Both the vicuna and guanaco still roam the Andes Mountains of South America. Alpacas were first domesticated by the Incan people over 5000 years ago and were used for their fine fleece and for their meat, which was considered a delicacy. 

The first alpacas were imported into North America in 1984 from Bolivia and Chile. Peru considers alpacas its national treasure, only allowing export of these animals into the United States since 1993.

Prior to interest by North American and European consumers who demanded certain characteristics, alpacas were not selectively bred by the people of the Andes but were traditionally allowed to breed at will. This lead to a range of characteristics in alpacas due to local conditions that influenced natural selection. As North American and European consumers and breeders interest grew, South American herders began selecting for different popular traits like larger size, fleece markings, and quality. Over time, this more conscientious selective breeding lead to formation of notable bloodlines with different qualities, larger size often times playing at least some role in selections.


Basic Description

The ideal alpaca has a square appearance with four strong legs, a dense fleece coverage from top knot to feet, and generally appears well-balanced and proportionate. The neck should be two-thirds the length of the back, with legs approximately of equal proportion. The neck should flow smoothly into the body. The movement should be graceful with ease of movement. The head should be medium length and wedge-shaped, with Suri alpacas having a more tapered appearance to the head.  The ears are upright, spear-shaped with a full top knot of fiber between. The eyes are large for their head, round, slightly protruding, and expressive. Black, brown,  blue, or blue flecked eyes are permissible. The jaws fit together well with the lower incisors meeting the upper dental pad. The upper lip is split centrally; the nose has two clear,  well-defined nostrils. The darker pigment is preferred around the eyes and mouth, especially in lighter-colored animals.  The chest should be broad and deep with well-sprung ribs, a wide withers where the shoulders meet. The back and shoulders should form a straight line.  The rump should be slightly wide and rounded with good space between the pin bones. The tail is straight, covered with quality fiber, and set low, covering the genitalia. The thighs are well-muscled and strong. The pin-bones are of equal height to the shoulder. The leg should end with a two-toed foot, with a long toenail on each toe. The female should posses 4 working teats.

Fiber characteristics:

The fleece of the alpaca comes in any shade of white, fawn, brown, gray, rose-gray, and black. Combinations of the colors can occur. The primary blanket should be uniform in fiber length, density, and fineness. Kemp (medullated fibers) should not be present. Ideally, the shoulders, chest, and flanks should be free of kemp fiber.

Huacaya fleece should be a fine, soft fiber that grows perpendicular to the skin. The fiber is marked with a distinct crimp. The fiber should be fine, with the finest fiber typically occurring on the blanket, however, it is ideal to have fine fiber on the neck, belly, legs, and topknot. The fiber should be dense, of good length, and with a brightness to it. The ideal alpaca has a uniform fineness across its entire coat.

Suri fiber should be grown in a distinct lock structure with a high luster, silky handle, and long staple length. The fleece lays on the body in a flat manner, unlike the Huacaya, moving freely with the animal. The locks can have a penciled ringlet formation, curling to the left or right, or a wave structure.  The fiber should have a uniform fineness throughout with dense growth.

Evaluation of Defects

Part 1 — Slight defects
Broken or wry tail with no sign of a break
medullated fiber on chest or hip
lack of pigment on lips and around eyes

Part 2 — Defects that could be slight to serious depending on the degree (These are all more serious in males than females.)
the underweight, undersized, appearance of ill-thrift
straight inside border or banana-shaped ears
forward set ears
very narrow or very thick head
muffled face (fiber or hair impeding alpaca's vision)
an open face (lack of fiber on face)
retained or persistent deciduous teeth
Ears that are not upright
incorrect bite
steeply sloping rump
narrow hindquarters
high tail set
Wry jaws or face
Winged or loose, open shoulders
prominent withers
narrow chest
Bowed front legs
Closely spaced front legs, pinched heart girth
Swollen stifle joint/s
Closely spaced hind legs
Close or touching hocks
Feet that turn in or out
Narrow, shallow, or short body
Steeply sloped rump
Poor fiber growth
poorly maintained toenails

Part 3– Moderate Defects
too long or too short neck
crooked neck
splayed toes
lump on side of the face indicating an abscess
gopher ears
Roman or long  nose
Swollen hocks and/or enlarged knees, not sufficient to cause lameness

Part 4 — Serious Defects
open fleece with no density
the harsh handle of fiber

short-staple length
tenderness and stress break of fiber
felting and cotting
roach back
sagging back
over-long straight back
Deafness in blue-eyed alpacas, especially with lack of skin pigment and white fleece
Undershot or overshot jaws
cataracts, entropy, entropy, blindness
Lameness, especially combined with badly swollen knees and/or hocks
Disproportionate bodily parts, such as a large head, or a thick body on short
legs, especially in young animals
the medullated fiber in the primary blanket fiber
subluxation patellae
paddling on front feet while moving
throwing rear or front feet out or in a walk/run
more or less than 4 working teat
lack of lock formation in Suri types

Part 5 — Disqualifications
Malformed feet–extra digits, fused toes, twisted nail
lack of tail unless due to amputation
Pendulous ears
The crooked face on males
Blindness, unless the result of an accident
Hermaphrodism or evidence thereof; failure to breed
Undescended testicle or testicles
asymmetrical testicles or testicles located in an abnormal position
A permanent physical defect such as navel hernia​