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This document presents a direct comparison between the original 2007 Suri Breed Standard and the 2016 revision. The complete text of the original standard appears in red font while the 2016 revision is in black. The 8 conformation traits and 8 fleece traits in the standard mirror the traits scored on in the S.H.I.P. program. Missing from the original standard are skeletal diagrams showing normal and abnormal conformation, a table of testicular sizes and a glossary of terms. These resources will be available as supplement documents on the Suri Network website (

The Suri Breed Standard The Suri alpaca is a product of breeding between a Suri alpaca male and female. The ideal Suri alpaca is the epitome of true alpaca type with a distinctive elegant profile, perfect head, and outstanding conformation. The Suri fleece exhibits highly aligned, draping locks of high luster, fine, slick and cool handling fiber. As Suri alpacas approach the ideal state, they express more positive fleece characteristics than less improved types. The concept of the ideal alpaca is not a static model. It is the process of the pursuit of excellence that will fuel genetic improvement for decades. Highly heritable traits are selected for genotypic gain in the individual offspring’s expression of positive breed characteristics, which exist along a continuum. Ideal Suri Alpaca

Ideal Suri Alpaca

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A. CONFORMATION 1. Phenotype The Suri Alpaca Phenotype should present a distinctive elegant profile with balanced body proportions (neck/body/legs) and vigor. The Suri head and fleece should exhibit fibers with the described characteristics of a straight, high luster, slick/cool handling, and independently defined fiber. The correct free-flowing movement may be emphasized by the swinging of a drapey fleece. The suri alpaca phenotype is the product of a breeding between a Suri alpaca female and a Suri alpaca male




Balance proportions of neck/body/legs Upright neck set/withers Alert appearance, style and presence Elegant profile showing balanced proportions of neck, body and legs with a true to type head, level topline and strong substance of bone fit for efficient function.

Often phenotypically true to type, yet express subtle differences in frame and overall appearance.

Disproportion of neck/body/legs Forward or U-neck set Dull, inattentive Lacks overall balance, proportion and substance bone.

The Profile view should present a relatively level top line appropriate for age of the alpaca and sloped rump with a normal alpaca tail set. Level top line Proper proportions demonstrated in a squared-off appearance of onethird legs, one-third body, one-third neck and head. Length is the same as height, with a level topline

Slightly off in balance with the squared profile being elongated in any direction.

Too Long/Too Short Narrow, shallow body areas Kyphosis (Humped) or Lordosis (Sway Back) Obvious lack of balance and proportion and/or topline deviated in a humpback or swayback condition.

2. Balance and Topline The mature Body should exhibit a balanced proportion between the length of neck, leg and body torso, present sufficient width of chest, depth of body, and capacity for maintaining adequate nutrition and reproduction.

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from withers to the hip, rounding at the croup. 3. Head Correct jaw The Suri Head Profile should alignment show a medium length nose Correct bite/teeth proportionately balanced to alignment the wedge shaped jaw, a Spear-shaped long tapered muzzle, and a ear forelock with defined Suri Suri fiber forelocks style locks. Ears should be Balanced nose/jaw spear shaped, medium to long ratio in appearance, and Profile – tapered proportionate to the head muzzle size. The set of the ear should Almond shaped eyes be upright with placement not too low or wide on the head. Dense top knot The bite and jaw should have falling forward in correct alignment. well-defined locks over a strong, wedge-shaped muzzle. Ears erect, spear-shaped and of appropriate length. Eyes clear and bright, free from congenital anomalies. Nasal passages symmetrical. Incisors meet the forward edge of the upper dental pad and the mandible and maxilla are vertically aligned. 4. Movement and Correct square for Tracking pattern with rear The profile views will exhibit feet following proper angulation of the directly behind front shoulder and hock which feet allows for a free balanced Balanced even stride stride and movement on in profile view upright pasterns. Level top line during movement Copyright 2016 The Suri Network



Wedge shaped muzzle and head shape but lacking well defined fiber coverage. May exhibit slight deviations in jaw alignment. Incisors may extend beyond or slightly behind the forward edge of the upper dental pad. Mandible is slightly wider than maxilla.

Poor jaw alignment, wry face Incisor malocclusion Short, round, curved, fused ears Fuzzy forelocks Long/short nose Deep squared or dished muzzle Round bulging eyes Topknot often fluffy and open over a long muzzle. Ears out of proportion with the head, banana-shaped or fused. Jaw alignment incorrect with lower teeth extending well beyond or behind the upper dental pad. Asymmetry of nasal passages and crooked tooth alignment.

Deviations exist in foot placement and leg angulation when viewed from both the front and the side indicating improper joint structure. Gait not smooth.

Deviation of front or rear foot patterns Short stride/overreaching Non-level topline Extreme deviations in angulation of the shoulder or hocks or 3 | P a g e


Movement demonstrates a fluid gait and balanced stride, with both toes pointed forward and tracking evenly in a straight line on upright pasterns. 5. Front Legs Equal distance Legs (front and rear)- between the front The legs should be of a length legs from shoulder to balanced to the neck/body fetlock proportions to provide Adequate chest flexible, free movement in a width correctly aligned square foot Toes & nails facing pattern (as viewed from front forward and rear). The alpaca should Normal shoulder display a level top line and angle, normal balanced stride in the profile shoulder position, view, with good strength and normal carpal substance of bone. Correct alignment conformation will be indicated by equal distance or a parallel Show excellent line drawn between front legs substance of bone, (shoulder, knee to fetlocks) with correct and rear legs (hips, hocks to angulation when fetlocks), viewed front and viewed from the rear. front and side with toes pointed forward, also demonstrating adequate chest width. 6. Hind Legs Equal distance between the rear legs from hip to fetlock Adequate pelvis width Toes & nails facing forward Copyright 2016 The Suri Network


UNACCEPTABLE/ UNDESIRABLE TRAITS collapsed pasterns. Resultant movements are short, choppy, winging out, toeing in or rope walking.

May be slightly fine boned, have a moderate deviation in angulation from either front or side view, leg rotated slightly in or out as evidenced in foot position.

Carpal valgus (knockknee), carpal varus (bow legged) Base narrow/wide Slayed toes, pointing inward/outward Polydactaly, syndactaly Straight shoulder angle, buck-kneed (forward), calf-kneed (back) Very light boned, front or side view deviation in angulation is extreme, position of feet very close or too far apart, extreme outward or inward leg rotation.

May be slightly fine boned or narrow in hindquarters. Hock angulation may be slightly deviated when viewed from the rear (cow hocked) or the side (sickle hocked).

Post leg (lack of enough angulation) sickle hocks (excessive angulation) Legs camped forward or behind Legs too short/long with body/neck 4 | P a g e


7. Body Capacity (not addressed as a separate trait in the original standard)

8. Tail

Normal hip/stifle/hock angle Upright flexible pasterns Legs should be placed square with the body Adequate substance of bone Hindquarters are broad, with strong, well-muscled thighs. Legs show excellent substance of bone with correct angulation of the hock joint when viewed from the side and rear. Shows breadth and depth of body, chest and abdomen. Excellent size for age with broad, wellsprung ribs. Correct alpaca tail set, rump anglesloped rump at approx. 45 degrees Tail set centers off the rounded croup and is palpated just off the pelvis as a natural extension of the spine. Tail is straight and easy to flex with a length sufficient to cover the genitalia.

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May demonstrate a slightly smaller frame for age or be slower to develop.

Tail set may be slightly high and length may be less than ideal.

UNACCEPTABLE/ UNDESIRABLE TRAITS Fine leg/ankle bones (small diameter) Hindquarters are light boned and very narrow. Hocks touch during standing and movement. Extreme deviation appears from the side when the hock joint is either extremely angled (sickle-hocked) or too straight (post legged).

Very narrow through the chest and lacks spring of rib, resulting in a flat, slab-sided look. Small in overall size and stature for age. Set to high/low, severe or shallow angle of rump Kinked/curved tail Tail set high on the croup, kinked or bent and unable to be straightened, too short to cover genitalia.

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ACCEPTABLE BUT LESS DESIRABLE TRAITS 9. Genitalia Female- vulva normal Four teats exist in The External Genitalia should size for age close proximity to be anatomically correct in Male – testicles each other. Small size, shape, consistency and normal size/shape vulva opening. position for the age of the Placement normal Testicles small, but animal, and have reproductive Teat – 4 normal descended into potential in each sex. The scrotal sac. female should exhibit a External genitalia are normal size and shaped vulva. anatomically correct Males should exhibit 2 firm in size, shape and testicles of appropriate and position. Four teats relatively equal size, shape are uniformly and position. Both sexes positioned. Males should have 4 teats. Umbilicus have two evenly should be closed. sized, firm testicles that are descended into the scrotal sacs.

UNACCEPTABLE/ UNDESIRABLE TRAITS Female vulva too small/abnormal Male testicles too small/abnormal Abnormal placement More or less than 4 teats/abnormal Vulva that is too small, incorrectly positioned or angled, closed at birth requiring surgical intervention. Males with only one testicle, very small testicles, or very soft testicles. Other than four teats. B. FLEECE 1. Phenotype Suri fiber style Exhibits some degree Evidence of crimped The ideal Suri style fleece will Fibers without crimp of lock organization of fibers be comprised of fibers average density and without crimp which exhibit a Clearly demonstrates luster throughout. Exhibits little evidence high degree of luster, provide the ultimate function of suri lock a cool slick handle, and exhibit of being a fiber organization and uniform, independent, wellproducing species, density resulting in a defined locks throughout the forming well defined very open, lofty head, neck, body and legs. locks of lustrous, appearance. Fiber Uniformity of luster, lock, fine, dense, uniform, groups that express staple length, fineness and fleece. crimp. density is important. Suri lock styles exhibiting a continuum of forms including: tightly twisted pencil, curled, straight, flat with twisted tips and curled. All lock styles are equally desirable. The uniform expression of a consistent lock style throughout the fleece takes priority. 2. Luster High degree of Average levels of Chalky, low degree or natural luster luster are present lack of luster Luster throughout throughout the fleece Copyright 2016 The Suri Network


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3. Fineness*

the entire fleece (inside/outside) An essential characteristic of Suri fleece is the natural expression of glistening, high-gloss luster throughout. Fineness, low micron This most valued trait is exemplified as low micron fiber, relative to age, expressed across the blanket of the alpaca and extending to the extremities, making fleece ideal for processing into garments which may be worn next to the skin. The rate of change in micron over time is minimal.

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ACCEPTABLE BUT LESS DESIRABLE TRAITS expressed as a velvety, satin sheen.

UNACCEPTABLE/ UNDESIRABLE TRAITS Poor level of luster evident. The overall fleece is very dull, flat and chalky.

Higher micron fibers relative to age exist and vary in their expression within the lock and across the blanket.

Course, high micron Coarse, high micron fibers exhibited throughout the blanket and produced at a young age and throughout the lifetime of the alpaca. These high micron fibers are not able to be processed for high end garments worn next to the skin.

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4. Uniformity of Micron

5. Density

6. Lock Structure

7. Handle

ACCEPTABLE BUT LESS DESIRABLE TRAITS Uniformity of micron, Variation in the size of staple length, primary and expression of lock secondary follicle and luster fibers is distinctive and easily recognized. This additional critical component for processing is evident within organized locks and across the blanket of the alpaca. Little difference can be seen between the size of primary and secondary follicle fibers. Density, compact, Fleece is comprised of heavy locks that are less Fleece with highly solid and firm, more aligned fine fibers open, demonstrating growing in highly less highly aligned organized locks, fibers. demonstrating firmness and solidity throughout. Well defined from Clear lock expression skin to tip is evident in at least half of the lock length Individual locks are but is less firm and highly aligned from more open at the skin to tip, comprised skin. of clearly defined smaller locks, and fall in layers throughout the entire fleece. The lock groups exhibit firmness and solidity. Cool, slick Less smooth and soft, the fleece will have a Soft, Silky, cool, slick slightly cool feel and feel throughout the demonstrate some fleece that also variation in micron.

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UNACCEPTABLE/ UNDESIRABLE TRAITS Inconsistency of micron, staple length, expression of lock Extreme micron variation exists within the lock and throughout the entire fleece.

Light, airy, voluminous fluffy fleece Fleece is open, lacks clear lock definition, and exhibits loft rather than firmness. Absence of lock definition Very open, unorganized fibers exist, characterized by volume rather than solidity of lock. Expression of crimp might also be evidenced. Warm, fuzzy The fleece is not soft, feels warm, harsh and dry, and has excessive 8 | P a g e


8. Color Uniformity (the original standard does not address color uniformity)


1. General

2. Birthing Ease

3. Mothering Skills and Maintenance Efficiency

4. Fertility

exhibits a high degree of uniformity of micron. The fleece is solid colored and void of any variant colored fibers, thus making it well suited for commercial processing. (The original standard does not address maternal traits) Dam exhibits longevity in her ability to produce healthy offspring throughout an extended lifetime.

Some color variation present, especially in fawn and grey color groups that make it better suited for cottage processing.

Dam has difficulty in achieving pregnancy, has delayed milk production, or remains open for an extended time after delivery. Female possesses the Occasional minor appropriate pelvic dystocia requiring conformation and minimal assistance has the ability to give without damage to birth with ease and the dam or cria. without assistance. Dam bonds well with Female does not bond her cria, and has the with cria and needs udder capacity to human intervention consistently produce to develop bond. Dam quantities of good produces minimal quality milk in order milk and cria is slow to rear and wean a growing or needs healthy cria, while supplementation. maintaining her own health. Healthy, well grown Female requires female achieves multiple breedings, or pregnancy with a suffers early

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UNACCEPTABLE/ UNDESIRABLE TRAITS variation and/or high micron fibers throughout. Variant color exists throughout an otherwise solid colored fleece. Cottage processing required.

Dam is repeatedly unable to deliver full term cria, is unable to achieve pregnancy, or is unable to produce milk. Repeated major veterinary intervention.

Dam rejects cria, offspring development indicates failure to thrive and requires medical intervention and supplementation.

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1. General

2. Breeding Vigor

3. Handling

minimum of breedings. (The original standard does not address temperament) Alpacas demonstrate a calm, docile nature as a herd species. Expression of dominance is expected as they form herd groups, but overt aggression is not acceptable.


Female is overly protective of her cria and asserts dominance in the form of spitting and kicking when approached. An alpaca that is overly interactive with humans. Males have good Male that is timid and libido and breed reluctant to breed. females with high Male with low sperm impregnation success viability that requires on minimal matings. multiple matings to achieve pregnancy. Alpacas should be An alpaca that is more easy to handle and difficult to handle, train. resists restraint, or consistently spits, kicks or runs away.

UNACCEPTABLE/ UNDESIRABLE TRAITS to achieve or maintain pregnancy.

An alpaca that aggressively challenges and attacks humans.

Male or female lacks interest in breeding.

An alpaca that is dangerous to handle, and aggressively challenges and attacks humans.


1st birthday – 2 years

3-5 years

6-10 years

10+ years


<18 microns

<20 microns <23 microns <25 microns





















Suri Network SHIP (Suri Herd Improvement Program), Classifier Fiber Evaluation Form

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References: Suri Network Breed Standard, The Suri Network (2006) Suri Herd Improvement Program (S.H.I.P.), The Suri Network (2014) The Art and Science of Alpaca Judging, AOBA (2011) Show System Handbook, AOA (2016). This document and supplemental documents can be found on the Suri Network website:

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Side by side comparison - 2006 and 2016