How to Show an Alpaca

New to the alpaca industry and want to try your hand at showing? It is a great hobby as long as you are prepared to put in the time and preparation. After doing your initial homework on why you want to show your alpaca, and finding out which shows fit in with your needs and time, there are still many other considerations to take into account. This article provides a brief run-down to help you get motivated and on your way. Good luck!


  1. Image titled Show an Alpaca Step 1
    Make a sound decision about why you are showing your alpaca. Going to shows is hard work, tiring, but rewarding. You need to reach your own reasons as to why you want to show your alpaca to justify the expense, time, and effort that is required to show an alpaca. Main reasons that people show their alpacas include:
    • Getting the judge's opinion of your alpaca (if you get as far as the final deciding group)
    • Meeting up with other alpaca breeders
    • Promoting your alpaca stock
    • Winning a ribbon; for pride, or for increasing the value of your stock[1]
    • Benchmarking your breeding decisions against the decisions of others and sharing tips, ideas, and know-how; go on and feel the fleeces of winning alpacas so that you get a tactile impression of what the fleece should feel like; this can help you know what to aim for in your stock!
  2. Image titled Show an Alpaca Step 2
    Know what the alpacas are being judged on. Before you even head off, you should be informed about the show's style, its requirements and what the showing seeks to emphasize. Note that there are variations in what is looked for in alpaca shows depending on where you are in the world and the reason for the occasion. In South America, alpaca showing can be an excuse for a fiesta, with the alpacas being part of the festivities. In the USA, alpaca showing can focus on the abilities of alpacas to navigate an obstacle course to demonstrate the owner's "handling" skills, or it can focus on the fleece as a commercially viable outcome of breeding alpacas, as is most common in Australia and New Zealand.[2] Show associations can provide you will all the details you need to know; contact them in advance. A list of relevant show organizations is provided under "Tips". Showing an alpaca might include:
    • Division of alpacas by color
    • Division of alpacas by sex and age
    • Judging of fleece according to certain standards
    • Judging of handling
    • Possible judging of shorn fleeces if you have these as well.
  3. Image titled Show an Alpaca Step 3
    Register for the show. Most shows will require advance notice of your intention to bring your alpaca(s) along. Know which class or classes that you want to place your alpaca in and fill out the registration forms and send back in on time. Some shows will not permit late entries or will charge a late entry fee. Be sure to pay any fees required also, or you might find yourself disqualified for non-payment.
  4. Image titled Show an Alpaca Step 4
    Obtain suitable clothing. Wear a white or black shirt, white or black pants, and nice shoes. Or wear a white coat as pictured here. Nothing too flashy and nothing that says your farm name or logo. This will ensure a neat and complementary presentation with you alpaca being the star, and you not upstaging it or distracting the judges.
  5. 5
    Make sure the alpaca is trained properly. There is no point showing an alpaca unless you have already trained it to perform the correct show presentation. These are things to train your alpaca in:
    • Getting used to large groups of people and being viewed by people. This is a case of always handling your alpaca and having people around her.
    • Halter training your alpaca. She should be comfortable with being lead around from a halter.
    • Train your alpaca to halt, to walk, and to enter a trailer. It is really important that your alpaca is familiar with the trailer before you go, as this can be a frightening experience and might cause you to stay at home instead of going to the show if your alpaca shies away and refuses to enter it.
    • Play at judging with you alpaca. Have someone other than you run their hands through your alpaca's fleece, picking at the fleece here and there a few times prior to the show. This is what the judge will do, so best that the alpaca is prepared.
  6. Image titled Show an Alpaca Step 6
    Bring the right gear and needs with you. Be sure to pack the following:
    • Alpaca's lead and halter - black. This is neat, often regulation and it is easy to find.
    • Food, e.g., hay, pellets, hay bag
    • Water and container (buckets)
    • Floor mats (if wished)
    • Promotional materials for your farm/stock
    • Clothes for you
    • Blanket for alpaca
    • Any medical requirements
    • Grooming needs
  7. Image titled Show an Alpaca Step 7
    Bring your alpaca's health papers. You will be required to show these at many shows but it pays to find out what requirements your state, province or national show board has in place so that you bring along the correct documentation. It is recommended that you have your alpaca microchipped.
  8. Image titled Show an Alpaca Step 8
    Be on time. If not, you will likely forfeit your chance. There is no re-run. Moreover, not being at the show at least an hour or so ahead means that your alpaca is being taken straight from the trailer onto the showing area without a rest or settling period and this is not good for the alpaca's nerves nor for yours.
  9. Image titled Show an Alpaca Step 9
    Don't talk to the judge. Let the judge perform his or her job unhindered by a running commentary. By all means respond to questions put to you but do not upset the moment by cracking jokes or boasting.


  • Children can be involved in obstacle showing of alpacas, provided that they are familiar with the alpacas and are comfortable handling them.
  • Intermediate alpacas are referred to as "chilis."
  • Alpaca show associations include:

  • There are two breeds of alpaca, the huacaya and the suri. Huacayas are the most owned in both South and North America. Both types of alpaca appear similar but produce different fibers. The huacaya has dense fiber growing straight out from its body, and has a crimp effect. The suri has finer, straight fiber which parts along the length of its spine and flows down.


  • Know your alpaca's temperament inside out; no surprises that way.

Things You'll Need

  • Alpaca (or more)
  • Neat clothes
  • Trailer and transport
  • Items from list above in "Steps"
  • Show calendar
  • Registration forms (fill them out and send in on time)
  • Item that will allow you to display ribbons at show if wished

Sources and Citations

  1. Nic Cooper, Southern Alpacas Stud, Showing Alpacas; most of the reasons are adapted from here
  2. Nic Cooper, Southern Alpacas Stud, Showing Alpacas

Article Info

Categories: Alpacas and Llamas