Huacaya alpaca

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A Huacaya alpaca near Arequipa in Peru

Huacaya is the one of the two breeds that make up the species Vicugna pacos, commonly known as the alpaca. The other breed is the Suri.[1] It lives on the Altiplano plateau in the Andes at up to 4,000 m above sea level. Its natural range encompasses four South American countries.

Phenotype characteristics[edit]

Both breeds are easily identifiable by their phenotypic characteristics.[1] There are no differences in weight, or pup at birth (7.5 to 8 kg) or the adult specimens, weighing about 70 kg in males and 65 kg in females.[2]

Alpaca skeleton (Museum of Osteology)

Animals of the Huacaya breed have a rounded and bulky appearance. Huacaya fiber grows perpendicular to the body of the alpaca, and is bulky, smooth and dense. Its curls in its sponge-like fibre are shorter and duller compared with Suri, with an absence of wool grease that is characteristic of Corriedale sheep.[1] Suri fiber instead lies parallel to the body in long hanging well-defined locks which grow towards the ground. The fibre is silkier and more lustrous than that of the Huacaya, as well as being longer.

Both breeds possess a vast array of coat colors, totalling 22 different varieties. The Huacaya alpaca is found in the Andes 4,000 m above sea level. Average males weigh 70kg and females weigh 65kg. they have a rounded and bulky appearance. Many of the alpacas in Chile are Huacayas. Peru has the world’s highest population of alpacas and 93% of that is the Huacayan type. Their wool is used to make scarves, vests, and sweaters. It is said that their meat is very high in protein even though it is not hunted. It makes up the species Vicugna pacos.


Huacayas far outnumber the Suri population. In Chile, all alpacas are of the Huacaya type, and there is a negligible amount of Suri specimens in Bolivia at the northern border. Peru, which contains the majority of the world's alpaca, has 93% Huacaya as estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization.[3] Thus of the 3.7 million animals worldwide, more than 90% are thought to be of the Huayaca breed.[4]



Their wool is made up of between 150-170 threads / mm².[5][6] At 25 μm thick, their wool is 1.5 μm thinner that of the Suri, and considerably whiter, on average. Suri wool is marginally stronger[4] Some of the products that can be made with fine Huacaya fiber include:


While Vicugna pacos were never bred for meat, it is a useful by-product in that their meat is perfectly edible and very high in protein. The carcass weight varies at a round 50% of live weight and 23 kilogrammes.[7] Huacaya are thought to produce more meat than the Suri.[8] Alpaca meat has a high protein to fat ratio, with the most common breed containing on average 23% protein.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Manna, V. La; Terza, A. La; Dharaneedharan, S.; Ghezzi, S.; Saravanaperumal, S. Arumugam; Apaza, N.; Huanca, T.; Bozzi, R.; Renieri, C. (2011-01-01). Pérez-Cabal, Ma Ángeles; Gutiérrez, Juan Pablo; Cervantes, Isabel; Alcalde, Ma Jesús (eds.). A microsatellite study on the genetic distance between Suri and Huacaya phenotypes in Peruvian alpaca (Vicugna pacos). Wageningen Academic Publishers. p. 1. doi:10.3920/978-90-8686-727-1_20. ISBN 978-90-8686-727-1.
  2. ^ Fernández-Baca, Sr. Saúl (2005). SITUACIÓN ACTUAL DE LOS CAMÉLIDOS SUDAMERICANOS EN PERÚ (PDF) (in Spanish). Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. p. 13. Regional TCP project TCP/RLA/2914.
  3. ^ Quispe, E.c.; Rodríguez, T.c.; Iñiguez, L.r.; Mueller, J.p. (2009-10-01). "Producción de fibra de alpaca, llama, vicuña y guanaco en Sudamérica". Animal Genetic Resources Information. 45: 1–14. doi:10.1017/S1014233909990277. ISSN 2078-6344.
  4. ^ a b Atav, Rıza; Türkmen, Fatih (2015-08-01). "Investigation of the dyeing characteristics of alpaca fibers (Huacaya and Suri) in comparison with wool" (PDF). Textile Research Journal. 85 (13): 1331–1339. doi:10.1177/0040517514563727. ISSN 0040-5175. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-02-25.
  5. ^ Maccagno, Luis. (1912) La raza de alpaca Suri. Anales de la Dirección de Fomento de Lima (Perú), Números 7-12.
  6. ^ Romero, Elías C. (1927) Llamas, alpacas, vicuñas y guanacos. Imp. F. Gurfinkel. 203 páginas.
  7. ^ a b Salvá, Bettit K.; Zumalacárregui, José M.; Figueira, Ana C.; Osorio, María T.; Mateo, Javier (2009-08-01). "Nutrient composition and technological quality of meat from alpacas reared in Peru". Meat Science. 82 (4): 450–455. doi:10.1016/j.meatsci.2009.02.015. PMID 20416683.
  8. ^ Huarachi, David. Manual cría de camélidos sudamericanos. Ediciones Kollu Huma. 54 páginas.