Alpacas are members of the Camelid family. As descendants of camels
and closely related to llamas, alpacas are well suited to their
native high Andes Mountains environment in South America. Alpacas
can be found in abundance in South America countries such as Peru,
Chile, and Bolivia. Domesticated centuries ago by Inca herdsman,
the Alpaca fleece was exclusively worn by Incan royalty.
Alpaca fleece comes
in 22 natural colors and only the white fleece is dyed if custom
colors are required. It can be dyed using natural or synthetic dyes.
Because alpaca fleece
does not contain oil or lanolin, the feel is luxurious, lightweight,
and hypoallergenic. Each alpaca fiber has a hollow core that traps
air giving the product a high insulating value that keeps you warmer
than other fleece of the same weight.
Alpacas were first introduced to the United States when they were
imported in 1984. There are two breeds of alpaca, Suri and Huacaya
(pronounced whah-kai-ah). The Suri breed has long locks that are
similar to dreadlocks. The Huacaya breed has fluffy fiber that resembles
a teddy bear.
For more information, visit our page of answers to Frequently
Asked Questions About Alpacas.