Types of Alpaca

There are two types of alpaca with distinct fiber types, both of which are used throughout our line: Huacaya and Suri. The two produce fleece that is highly luxurious and soft. They also contain the same superior qualities that sets the alpaca fiber apart from others in the fashion industry. 

Suri alpacas tend to look more slender than Huacaya because their fleece doesn’t fluff; however, they are both about the same size under all their fibers. Some characteristics include: hypoallergenic, fire-resistant, odor-resistant, stain-resistant, water repellent, sustainable, etc…

Although the difference between Huacaya and Suri are undeniable, they are physiologically alike in almost every other respect. Both also come in 22 natural colors, with more than 300 shades. No other animal on earth comes in so many natural shades!

HUACAYA alpacas have crimped fleece like wool from sheep and look fluffier (sometimes referred to as “teddy bear” alpacas). Huacaya fibers are more often compared to sheep wool than Suri because of their shared similarities. Both Huacaya and sheep wool are soft, fluffy, and crimpy. The crimp of the fiber provides more elasticity in the yarn, making it preferable for knitwear. Also, it's scale structure enables it to dye more easily.

Huacaya is more common, making up over 80% of the alpaca population. Huacaya is more abundant and enjoys greater popularity worldwide. 

It is shorn annually. The average annual staple length of Huacaya fiber is three to five inches.

SURI alpacas, on the other hand, have smooth, lustrous fleece that hangs down in long locks and is more silk-like in texture. It appears to have ''dreadlocks'' and looks vastly different in appearance to the Huacaya alpaca. The fibers can grow in tight ringlets, wave and twist ringlets, corkscrew ringlets, large wave, broad lock, and straight lock formats. 

Suri only makes up roughly 20% of the world’s alpaca population. The reason it is thought to be more rare is because it is probably less able to thrive in the harsh climates in the Peruvian mountains. Unfortunately, Suri's fleece offers less insulation against the cold. 

It is shorn once every two years. The average annual staple length of Suri fiber is four to six inches.

Sources
NRDC
Alpaca 101
Apple Mountain Alpacas
Mom.com