What is Alpaca?

Alpaca: Fiber of the Gods

The alpaca is a small, domesticated animal, that essentially looks like a mini-llama. However, unlike the llama, these cute little creatures were bred specifically for their soft, and luxurious fleece. The alpaca fleece is very similar to wool, except that it provides a bit more warmth, it’s not quite as prickly, and it also contains no lanolin, which makes it a hypoallergenic fiber.

Alpacas have been bred in South America for thousands of years, and in ancient times, they were bred specifically for Incan royalty. Perhaps it is this royal connection that gave the alpaca fleece its nickname “The Fiber of the Gods.” Alpacas were also a necessary component to ancient life in the Andes, as their fleece is not only warm, but also water resistant; and the animal itself could provide a source of food.

Baby Alpaca is an industry term, which relates to the  fineness of the fibers, being Baby Alpaca the finest. The grade of fineness is not necessarily related to the age of the animal from which the fleece came. Baby alpacas typically do have very fine fleeces. As alpacas age, the fineness of their fiber tends to decrease.