Choosing Stud Stock

The term “stud” can be applied to a number of different, but related situations. It can be applied to a single animal, when the term “stud” means an entire male used for breeding purposes. It can also be applied to a place, ie “stud farm”, or simply “a stud” when it refers to a specialist farm breeding registered animals. It can also be applied to a group of animals, usually as “stud stock” when it applies to both male and female animals used for breeding. This page is dedicated to the selection of stud stock for your fledgling stud farm. A rule of thumb when choosing stud stock is always to buy the best you can afford, and this should be a totally unyeilding rule when purchasing or selecting a stud male. The male should be registered with your national alpaca association (in New Zealand: Alpaca Association New Zealand) and certified with that organisation to be of a suitable standard to be a stud male.  The male will bear the herd prefix of  his birth stud farm and be identified by a numbered ear tag and DNA parentage identification.  Using entire males that are not registered or certified diminishes the value of his offspring who can then not be registered either.

There are many articles written on the “ideal” alpaca, particularly in relation to the purchase of your first animals. Unfortunately many would-be alpaca owners simply cannot afford the prices such an animal would command. If you are still reeling at the cost of purchasing a female alpaca, read Breeding on A Budget.

When selecting your alpaca, the basic considerations are good health (insist on a vet check at the sellers expense if you are purchasing animals worth more than $6000), good reproductive ability (choose females who have successfully raised at least 1 cria, and ask about her conception/pregnancy/birth/lactation history), and lack of genetic faults. Colour is, in our opinion, the least important consideration, and should only be taken into account if you have specific colour goals, and then only after everything else has been taken into account.

alpaca group

If you wish to breed quality alpacas, you need consider the following, whether choosing female breeding stock, or selecting a stud service.

Phenotype: the physical appearance of the alpaca. When there is no pedigree or progeny available, phenotype is all there is to assess. Usually the physical appearance of the animal gives a good indication of its breeding value. However, this is not always the case. Some animals consistently produce cria that are lesser than themselves, while some consistently produce cria that are better than you might expect. Photos can be misleading, depending on the skill of the photographer. Shearing data is useful, but depends on the age of the alpaca at the time of shearing.

When you are selecting a quality alpaca, you would always expect it to have superior conformation and shear statistics. These become less important when you are selecting lower priced animals.

Pedigree is everything:  Any registered alpaca will have his family tree printed on his registration certificate. A study of the pedigree means you understand the genetic makeup of the alpaca you are considering for purchase. Although a pedigree is not a guarantee of quality, and having a single top-quality alpaca in the pedigree 2 or 3 generations ago, the greater the number of well-known or famous names appearing in a pedigree will give you an indication of the likely quality of any cria produced by this alpaca.  Pedigree can be difficult for newcomers to assess, as they have no prior knowledge of “bloodlines”. This means, if you want pedigrees to be meaningful, you must spend time researching the industry icons.

Animals considered to make up the backbone of the alpaca industry include

Purrumbete Inti

Purrumbete Ledgers Dream

Purrumbete El Dorado

Purrumbete Sir Titus Salt

The above five males form the “iconic five”, whose contribution to the Australian and New Zealand herds cannot be overstated. There is also an alpaca based in the United States, a contemporary of the iconic five,  who also made a major contribution:

NWA Ltd Hemingway

Other names of note include:

Purrumbete Brigantine

Purrumbete Snowman

Jolimont Attitude

Jolimont Sculptor

Jolimont Warrior

Jolimont Conquistador

Windsong Valley Iceman

Benleigh Bellissimo

Peruvian Sonoma

ILR Ppperuvian Auzengate

ILR Peruvian Drambuie

NWA Ltd Ruffo

Purrumbete El Dorado

Somerset Peruvian Excellence

Somerset Peruvian Sensation

ILR Alpine Fibres Brutus

There are not many females recognised as industry icons, but the best known are Purrumbete Sweet Freedom, Purrumbete True Perfection and Purrumbete Vanilla, and in our opinion, Pucara Juliana should be included also.

If you are interested in breeding black alpacas, you should be looking for Coonawarra Julius or his son Coonawarra Dorchester to appear in the pedigree.

NB: Alpaca breeders tend to drop prefixes off names when discussing animals. Thus Purrumbete Highlander is usually reffered to as “Highlander”, ILR Peruvian Drambuie as “Drambuie” etc. Unfortunately, this can lead to confusion as several animals with different prefixes can share the same name. For example, there are several studs named “Warrior””, but only one “Jolimont Warrior”. It pays to check the prefix of the animal concerned to ensure you and the seller mean the same animal!

Peruvian ancestry is normally considered preferable, particularly if the animals concerned were sourced from the Accoyo or Royal Alianza studs.

Also consider the progeny and show performance of parents, and show successes of siblings

 DNA Parent Verification has only been available since about 2012. This symbol appearing in a pedigree shows the alpaca concerned has had it’s DNA scientifically tested to prove that the stated parents ARE BEYOND DOUBT the true parents of that alpaca. It is highly desirable to see as many of these logos in a pedigree as possible, and increases the value of the alpaca as you can be confident the listed parentage is correct.

Progeny: The best indicator of an animals breeding value is it’s progeny. Consistently good progeny equates to genetic strength. Progeny can be inspected personally or assessed by show ring performance. Remember, 50% of the genetic input comes from both parents – if a male is producing good cria from mediocre females – he’s a great choice. If a female is producing cria better than herself – she’s a good buy!

Price: Generally higher quality animals carry higher prices. However, don’t assume a high price equals quality. Conversely, while a cheap price generally means lower quality, there are bargains out there. Learn to assess quality vs price.
We have a wide selection of alpacas for sale – there’ll be one thats perfect for you!  Call us now!