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:
- Miniature Llamas (Class A and B)
- Miniature Alpacas (Class A and B)
- Experimental (Hybrids)
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.
A miniature is classified as an alpaca that is shorter than 32” at the withers. They are not dwarfed, malnourished, or a standard alpaca with ill thrift. To be registered, an alpaca must meet the registry standard and provide an accurate pedigree. We recognize pedigrees of both ARI, AOBA, AOA, as well as pedigreed certificates issued by international registries from the country of origin. Animals without a pedigree will be registered as Grade animals. Miniature alpaca can be registered under 3 categories:
Class A "Miniature"- only true miniature alpacas that have correct conformation and are at least 3 years old can be registered as Class A Miniatures.
Class B "Foundation"- any adult (3+years old) alpaca that has correct conformation and stands 32.1”-34” can be registered as a Class B Foundation alpaca.
Juvenile- Any alpaca born to registered Miniature parents can be registered as a cria with a temporary certificate. At 3 years they can upgrade to registered Miniature or Foundation if they meet the requirements for either category.
Why a miniature?
A miniature is perfect for the alpaca enthusiast with little area to dedicate to keeping a herd or who just needs a smaller animal that is easier to handle. They need less pasture, barn space, and feed/hay than standard alpacas and are easier to handle for routine care while maintaining all of their lovable alpaca quirks. Bred as fiber animals, they still produce up to 8lbs of luxurious fiber each year and are ideal to add to a hand spinners flock for a consistent supply of their exotic fiber.
Why do you register "Class A" and "Class B" Alpacas?
A true Miniature Alpaca stands less than 32" at the shoulder, but there are few lines of animals that meet these standards. We recognize the importance of including "Foundation" animals as Class B in the Miniature Alpaca herdbook as these animals are genetically capable of producing true Miniatures and add a genetic variety necessary to make the Miniature Alpaca breed a success.
MINIATURE ALPACA BREED STANDARD
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.
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.
The height at the withers is 32 inches or less for Class A and 32.0-34 inches for Class B.
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
steeply sloping rump
high tail set
Wry jaws or face
Winged or loose, open shoulders
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
lump on side of face indicating abscess
Roman or long nose
Swollen hocks and/or enlarged knees, not sufficient to cause lameness
Part 4 — Serious Defects
open fleece with no density
harsh handle of fiber
short staple length
tenderness and stress break of fiber
felting and cotting
over-long straight back
Deafness in blue-eyed alpacas, especially with lack of skin pigment and white fleece
Undershot or overshot jaws
cataracts, entropy, ectropy, 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
medullated fiber in primary blanket fiber
paddling on front feet while moving
throwing rear or front feet out or in as 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
Crooked face on males
Blindness, unless the result of accident
Hermaphrodism or evidence thereof; failure to breed
Undescended testicle or testicles
asymmetrical testicles or testicles located in abnormal position
Permanent physical defect such as navel hernia
Heights larger than 34.0"