2022/2023 Alpaca Owners Guide


Not all alpacas are show animals, for a variety of reasons. For example:  Pregnant alpacas are rarely taken to shows as it is a stressful experience and not worth the risk of losing a pregnancy for a potential ribbon.  Only about 10 percent of males are going to turn out to be top-notch studs. Assess your young males carefully and critically. Consider getting a second opinion from a fellow breeder along with having your vet check the alpaca's health. If the male looks really good, by all means get him in the show ring. There is nothing like a collection of blue ribbons and color championships to bolster the value of an up-and-coming stud.  Aside from obvious conformational faults (overbite, angular limb deformity, spinal/tail misalignment, etc.), the next big area of evaluation by the judge is the fiber.

Density, uniformity, and fineness are given a lot of consideration by the judges and will raise or lower your standing dramatically, as will crimp (for huacayas) or lock structure (for suris). Brightness or luster can often tip the balance between two equally fine alpacas. An honest assessment of your alpaca's fiber is needed.

Getting an opinion froman experienced breeder or using the textbook The Art and Science of Alpaca Judging can be very helpful in understanding alpaca traits. The expensive way to assess fiber is to take the alpaca to a show and see what happens. 

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