Types of Alpacas

There are two distinct breeds of alpacas: Huacaya (wah-KI’-ya) and Suri (“surrey”). Both fleeces are soft and luxurious.  Eighty two percent (82%) of alpacas are huacaya, with full, puffy fleeces whose crimp or crinkle is found throughout their fleeces. Suri alpaca fleece has the lustrous, penciled fiber that hangs down in “dreadlocks”, giving the suri alpaca an entirely different appearance.  Fibers of both types are considered luxury fibers in the textile trade because of their unique qualities.  The twenty two colors range from white to fawn, brown to true black and silver gray to dark rose gray. No other animal on earth comes in so many natural shades! While the difference between Huacaya and Suri is unmistakable (see below), they are physiologically alike in virtually every other respect.



Fiber is short, dense, and crimpy, ‘teddy bear like’. Shorn yearly.


  • Soft padded feet
  • Three-compartment stomach
  • Average height: 36″ at withers
  • Average weight: 150 lbs.
  • Average life span: 20 years
  • Adaptable to any climate
  • Suitable for small acreages
  • No horns, hooves, claws, incisors


Fiber is silky, no crimp, clings together, “pencil like’ locks. Shorn every two years.

Alpacas are shorn for their valuable fleeces. Alpaca fiber is incredibly soft, breathable and versatile. Yearly, each animal produces approximately five to fifteen pounds. While baby alpaca fiber is the most luxuriously soft, yearlings typically provide the finest fleeces. Depending upon its weight, quality, and cleanliness, an alpaca fleece commands $150 – $400. That fiber is then spun into yarn. The finished product can be seen in all aspects of fashion. There are hand knitted and crocheted sweaters of all sorts, worsted suits, felted hats and shoes, and even formal and wedding dresses. Alpaca can be woven, worsted or felted into a virtually limitless number of beautiful items. To see a beautiful selection of such items visit the Atlantic Breeze On-line Boutique.

The compact size of alpacas contributes to easy management. They can easily be trained to lead, jump in and out of vehicles, kush (sit down), and obey other simple commands. Alpacas provide a wonderful and easy lifestyle.