Difference between a Suri and a Huacaya
Suri and Huacaya are the two distinct breeds of alpaca, each with unique physical characteristics and fleece qualities.
- Fleece: The most notable difference between Suri and Huacaya alpacas is their fleece. Suri alpacas have long, silky, and lustrous locks that drape close to their bodies, giving them a distinctive, elegant appearance. The fleece is highly prized for its softness, shine, and drape, making it ideal for luxurious garments and textiles.
On the other hand, Huacaya alpacas have dense, soft, and crimpy fleece that stands perpendicular to their bodies, giving them a fluffy, teddy bear-like appearance. Huacaya fleece is known for its elasticity, warmth, and insulating properties, making it suitable for a wide range of garments and textiles.
- Population: Huacaya alpacas are more common, representing about 90% of the global alpaca population. Suris are rarer, making up the remaining 10%.
- Fibre Diameter: Suri fleece typically has a slightly larger fibre diameter compared to Huacaya fleece. However, both breeds can produce fine, high-quality fibre depending on genetics and husbandry practices.
- Staple Length: Suri alpacas have a longer staple length, with their locks growing up to 6 inches or more per year. Huacaya alpacas have a shorter staple length, with their fleece growing around 3 to 4 inches per year.
Despite these differences, both Suri and Huacaya alpacas are valued for their unique fleece qualities, hardiness, and ease of care. They both require similar husbandry practices, and their gentle nature makes them a popular choice for small-scale farmers and hobbyists alike.