AGISTMENT: An arrangement in which the alpaca owner boards his animal at a location other than his own property.


AOBA: The Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association.


APRON: A section of fiber under the alpaca’s neck (the chest area). Fibers in this area may be may be variable in size, and may be coarser and medullated, thus should not be mixed in with the finer fiber.


BRED FEMALE: A pregnant alpaca.


BLANKET: The highest quality fleece which begins at the shoulder, runs the full length of the back and down each side until it meets the more medulated fiber on the belly. Excludes neck, leg, chest, belly, and britch. The term originated from the image of a horse’s saddle blanket. Prime fiber comes from this area.


BASIC COLORS: Seven of the 22 colors of alpaca fiber, which are white and black, as well as light fawn, fawn, brown, rose gray, and silver gray.


CAMELIDAE: (CAMELIDS) The larger familY in which lama pacos (the alpaca) is a member. This grouping also includes camels, llamas, quanacos and vicunas.


COVERAGE: A North American breeder term for abundant fiber growth which occurs in areas other than the primary blanket, i.e., between the ears (cap) and on the lower legs.

CRIA: An Alpaca who is less than one year old.

CRIMP: The even, corrugated wave formation in the staple (lock) of huacaya fiber.

DAM: The female parent.

DENSITY: The number of fibers in a specific area of an alpaa’s body.


FIBER: The fleece of an alpaca that can be spun into yarn.


FIBER MALE: A male alpaca whose characterics are such that he does not meet the cut for breeding but whose fiber is desirable. Ususally gelded at one to one and a half years.


FINENESS: The diameter of natural fibers measured in microns and generally varying from 20 to 36 microns, with 20 being the finest and 36 being coarse.


GUANACO: A wild member of the New World camelidae family, lama gunaimicoe.


HERDSIRE: A male alpaca with gentic characeristics desirable for breeding.


HUACAYA: A breed of alpaca characterized by a well-crimped fleece that grows perpendicular to the skin which gives them a “fluffy” appearance.


KUSH: A resting position in which an alpaca is sitting down with its legs bent under its body.


MAIDEN: A female alpaca old enough to breed but has not been bred


OPEN FEMALE: Not Bred at the present time.


REBREEDING: A standard portion of bred female sales agreement in which the seller offers rebreeding (ususally free) to his sire in the event that the cria does not survive long enough to satisfy the live birth clause in the contact. May also involve a free or reduced-fee rebreeding of the dam after the successful birth of the cria.


REGISTRY: The Alpaca Restry Inc. (ARI) was created in 1988 and is the central storage and retrieval center for all information on almost every on almost every alpaca in the United states. The registry records and maintanins data on pedigrees, blood typing, registry numbers, and other vital information on registered alpacas, and makes this data available upon request.


SIRE: A male parent.


STAPLE LENGTH: The length of a lock of shorn alpaca fleece.


SHEARING: The once-a-year harvesting of alpaca fibers usually carried out in mid-spring in order to make the alpaca cooler through the summer and allow the coat time to grow back before the cold of winter returns.


SURI: A breed of alpaca characterized by lustrous locks of fleece that lay close to the body, twisting vertically toward the ground.


TOPKNOT: Wool on the alpacas head and between its ears which is considered a desirable aestheric quality: also known as the wool cap.

UNPROVEN ALPACA: Male that has “settled” a female or a female that has been bred but does not have offspring on the ground yet.


VICUNA: Native South American camelid, thought to be the ancestor of the domesticated alpaca. Vicunas, which exhibit the finest natural fiber in the world, can cross-breed with alpacas. A small (90 pounds) South American camelid with an extremely fine cinnamon and white coat; some consider the vicuna to be the direct ancestor of the alpaca.


WEANLING: An alpaca younger than one year old that is no longer nursing.


YEARLING: An alpaca’s age between one and two years old.