Alpacas and Llamas...What's the Difference?

Chris Nelson

Posted on March 25 2018

It's not unusual for people to confuse alpacas with llamas. They do have a lot of similarities, as both are part of the camelid family, but there are a lot of differences, too!

Llamas are much larger than alpacas, weighing between 200-350 pounds. Alpacas weigh anywhere from 100-175 pounds. An average alpaca stands 34"- 36" at the withers (shoulders), whereas a llama stands 42"- 48" at the withers.

Despite being larger than alpacas, llamas actually produce less fiber. While alpacas are bred for their luxurious fleece, llamas were bred as pack-carriers, and can even be used as guard animals for alpacas and other livestock. 

In addition to their size difference, you can also tell them apart by their ears! A llama has curved ears, which are often referred to as bananas, whereas alpacas have straight years. 

It's not unusual to see llamas by themselves either. They're very independent and are often along. But alpacas need to be in a herd, and it's recommended to always have at least two.

In terms of their personalities, alpacas are quiet, intelligent, and rarely bite, kick or spit. Llamas are also smart and easy to train and handle, but they do spit more than alpacas.

You'll probably get varying opinions on whether alpacas or llamas are preferred livestock, and we may be a little biased, but we love our alpacas! They are wonderful, calm animals, and we often have visitors sit by our fenceline and simply watch the alpacas in the pasture due to their serene personalities. 

We welcome you to visit our farm and boutique, and see just how exquisite these animals really are!

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