Alpacas are a domesticated species of South American camelid resembling a small llama. There are two breeds of alpaca; the Suri alpaca and the Huacaya alpaca.
Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3,500m to 5,000m above sea level, throughout the year. Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and were bred specifically for their fibre. Alpaca fibre is used for making knitted and woven items, and is similar to wool.
Alpaca fleece is a lustrous and silky natural fibre. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, and contains no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic and ideal for anyone with a wool allergy. It is also soft and luxurious. In physical structure, alpaca fibre is somewhat akin to hair, being very glossy.