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Alpaca Breeds: Suris

The suri alpaca has a long lustrous fleece that hangs vertically down its body and is often referred to as dreadlocks.  The locks that make up the fleece should be round, close to the skin and have a uniform twist from beginning to end. The locks in a suri fleece should be uniform in size and style throughout the fleece.  This uniformity in a suri fleece is akin to the uniformity created by crimp in a Huacaya fleece.

The amount of luster in the fleece defines the quality of the fleece.  Luster is the shine produced when light is reflected off the fiber.  Suri fleece has more luster than Huacaya because of the microscopic structure of the fibers. They have flat thin scales that contribute to this luster. But Suri fleece has no crimp.

Suri fiber has a high tensile strength which makes it useful as the warp in woven goods. However, due to its silkiness, suri fiber is not as suited for spinning yarn for knitting and is usually blended with another fiber.

In the world alpaca fiber market the relative value of a Suri fleece is greater than that of a huacaya fleece. This is partly due to the rarity of the Suri alpaca compared to the Huacaya.  Because it has no crimp it is a better fit for woven goods. It is in high demand in the textile industry and usually goes for a premium on the fiber market.

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