Fast Facts

Alpaca herds are kept at high elevations of the Andes mountains of South America in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chili.

Name: Alpaca

Scientific: Vicugna pacos

Family: Camelidae

Cousins: Llama, Guanaco, Vicuna, Camel    

Environment: Mountains

Origin: South America    

Life-span: up to 20 years

Size: 100 -185lbs


     1.     2 types: Huacaya (most common) & Suri

     2.     Alpaca wool is sorted into over 22 colors.

     3.     Alpaca fleece is softer than Cashmere.

Smaller than llamas, they are raised more for their fiber than as beasts-of-burden.  Alpacas require less food than their larger cousins, adapting to survival in the sparse areas of the mountains.  Alpacas have been domesticated for hundreds of years. Today, there are no known wild alpacas.

Incan culture used items made of alpaca fleece for religious and social ceremony.

About Me

Alpaca are one of four South American camelids.  It’s cousins, the llama, guanaco, and vicuna are all found through out the Andes Mountains.  When alpaca are full-grown, they will stand just over 3 feet high at the should, and weigh around 180lbs.  As a domesticated camelid, they are is raised in herds like cattle or sheep. The herders graze them on the flats of the mountains at high altitudes of 11,500 to 16,000 feet.  Their long, thick wool allows them to withstand the harsh temperatures of the mountain winters, but when they are shorn they enjoy the warmth of summer.  

There are two different types of alpaca, separated by wool thickness and quality. The Huacaya alpaca is the most common type.  It has wool that is thick and soft like sheep’s wool.  The other is the Suri alpaca.  Their wool is long and silky giving resemblance to dreadlocks without actually being matted.  It is believed the Suri’s fleece may have been reserved for royalty by the Incan people.  


Alpaca fleece is incredibly lightweight, soft, durable and luxurious.  Top fashion designers use often use alpaca fleece in their lines.  Clothing and textiles made of alpaca fleece are easily cared for, long-lived, and hypoallergenic. Unlike sheep’s wool, alpaca fleece has no lanolin (grease), therefore it retains dyes without losing its sheen.  The fleece can be spun directly  off the alpaca with minimal cleaning, just needing to removing vegetative matter and dirt.  This greatly reduces the cost of production compared to sheep’s wool.  Alpaca are shorn once a year in the Spring.  This allows for a their wool to grow back fully before the cold mountain winter.


Alpaca and their fleece are a dominant element in the economies of their native counties.  Peru alone produces 4,000 tons of alpaca fiber annually.  Rural family farms make up a large portion of the alpaca fleece production, with merely 20 companies exporting 80 percent of by-products.  Highly industrialized countries such as Italy, China, and Great Britain are the largest importers of alpaca fiber/fleece.  In 2000, the United States imported 40 percent of alpaca fleece clothing, textiles, and accessories products made in Peru.  It is estimated that 65,000 rural families in the Andes of Peru depend on the alpaca for their income.



     • Gloves

     • Scarves

     • Sweaters

     • Vests

     • Belts

     • Figurines

     • Socks

     • Blankets

     • Rugs

     • Coats

     • Ponchos

     • Toys

     • Bags