Fowberry Alpacas
Houghton Hall Alpacas
The International Alpaca Reference Library

Articles by Alpaca World Magazine:

Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association:

By Mike Safley


The AOBA board of directors met in Louisville Kentucky on May 16, 2007 and approved the Alpaca Emphasis Guide. The new guide will be used to train alpaca judges. The purpose of the guide is to help judges consistently prioritise placing points in the alpaca show ring. The guide identifies the important alpaca traits and catalogues them into three classifications: 1) priority emphasis, 2) moderate emphasis and 3) lesser emphasis. Both fleece and conformation traits are addressed. The emphasis guide also takes into account whether the alpaca is male or female and their age: juvenile, yearling and adult.

The idea for the emphasis guide which has been three years in the making began at a meeting of judges, Amanda VanDeBosh, Jude Anderson, Cameron Holt, Julio Sumar, Cheryl Gehly, and Mike Safley.

The idea was proposed as a means of augmenting the AOBA handbook
which identifies positive and negative alpaca traits but does not give any guidelines as to their relative importance. The handbook also failed to distinguish the relative importance of traits between younger and older alpacas.

The chart is based on three guiding principles: 1) the form to function aspect of
conformation 2) the textile value of fleece and 3) the heritability of the traits involved. The expectation to these three principles is body score which is included as a trait of primary importance, the judges believe that too many underweight animals, not in show condition, were being entered into AOBA shows.

The emphasis guide was first exposed to a group of judges in Golden Colorado during an AOBA Form and Function clinic. The judges discussed and modified the original chart. Since then the chart has been reviewed, edited and approved by the Judges Training Committee, the Alpaca Show Rules Committee, the Judges Advisory Committee and the AOBA BOD.

The Emphasis Guide is a significant step forward for the Alpaca Show community. It should help judges be more consistent in their placing and help exhibitors better understand the judge?s decisions.

The chart was implemented for the first time at the Form and Function clinic
this July in Golden Colorado. I have attached the guide below. To fully understand the dynamics of the guide you need to remember that certain traits such as bite, leg set, testicles etc. are given more importance, or moved up from 2 to 1, for instance, as the alpaca matures. The fleece traits remain consistent as the animal ages. Fineness, density/ fleece weight, uniformity of colour and lack of guard hair are the number 1 traits above. Lock style (suri), crimp/ character (huacaya), handle, and uniformity; of length, fineness, and density are secondary traits or number 2?s in the Emphasis Guide. Much of it is common sense and many breeders already employ the same hierarchy of traits in their breeding programme. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at mike@alpacas.com

Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association: Emphasis Guide?.by Mike Safley







______________________________________________________________________________
3 Northwest Alpacas: www.alpacas.com Phone: 503-628-3110
Legend: Numbered 1, 2, 3:
1 = Primary Emphasis
2 = Moderate Emphasis JUVENILES
3 = Lesser Emphasis
Conformation JUVENILE JUVENILE
Male Female
Bite- Lower teeth must meet forward edge of upper dental pad. 1
(1/4 inch back,
1/8 inch forward
is acceptable)
1
(1/4 inch back,
1/8 inch forward
is acceptable)
Bite- The Lower gum line should be set back from the leading edge of the top dental
pad.
1
(1/4" to 1/2")
1
(1/4" to 1/2")
Ears- Erect, spear-shaped and of appropriate length. 1 1
Front Legs- Straight (not base narrow at the feet) 1 1
Body Score- ideal condition is 5 out of 10 - acceptable range is 4 to 6 1 1
Leg Anomalies- Dropped Pasterns 1 1
Testicles- Two must be palpable 1
Female Genitalia- normal in appearance and size 1
Hind legs- Straight (not base narrow at the feet) 1 1
Tail- Straight/Length (no structural deviations from normal) 1 1
Hind legs- Straight (not cow-hocked as viewed from the rear) 2 2
Hind legs- Substance of bone relative to age and size 2 2
Body Capacity- Breadth & depth of the body, chest & abdomen 2 2
Body Capacity- Hind Quarters: broad & well-muscled 2 2
Overall Balance & Proportion - standing square on all four legs; neck and legs of
equal length. Length of neck and legs 2/3 of length of back. 2 2
Head- depth of jaw from eye to bottom of jaw 3 3
Neck- angle is within 90-100 degrees 3 3
Topline- level behind withers to pin bones, rounded at croup to tail set. 3 3
Hind legs- Side view lie between post-legged and sickle-hocked (intermediate is
optimum). 3 3
Hind legs- Angular limb deviations 3 3
Movement- leg set & angulation affect tracking 3 3
Front Legs- Angular limb deviation (knock-kneed, turned out/toes out) 3 3
Front Legs- Toed in (one leg or both) 3 3
Leg Anomalies- minor expression 3 3
Testicles- consistent in size and texture. 3
Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association: Emphasis Guide?.by Mike Safley
______________________________________________________________________________
4 Northwest Alpacas: www.alpacas.com Phone: 503-628-3110
Legend: Numbered 1, 2, 3:
1 = Primary Emphasis
2 = Moderate Emphasis JUVENILES
3 = Lesser Emphasis
Fleece? HUACAYA Male Female
Fineness 1 1
Density/fleece weight 1 1
Staple length 1 1
Uniformity of color in the blanket from one area to another 1 1
Lack of guard hair 1 1
Character/Crimp 2 2
Handle (CV) 2 2
Brightness 2 2
Uniformity from one area to another
Micron/Fineness 2 2
Character/Crimp 2 2
Density 2 2
Length 2 2
Color- Greys/Indefinites/Multis 3 3
Fleece ? SURI Male Female
Luster 1 1
Density/fleece weight 1 1
Fineness 1 1
Staple length 1 1
Uniformity of color in the blanket from one area to another 1 1
Lack of guard hair 1 1
Lock Style 2 2
Handle (CV) 2 2
Uniformity from one area to another
Lock Style 2 2
Length 2 2
Fineness 2 2
Density 2 2
Luster 2 2
Color- Greys/Indefinite/Multis 3 3
Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association: Emphasis Guide?.by Mike Safley
______________________________________________________________________________
5 Northwest Alpacas: www.alpacas.com Phone: 503-628-3110
Legend: Numbered 1, 2, 3:
1 = Primary Emphasis
2 = Moderate Emphasis YEARLINGS
3 = Lesser Emphasis
Conformation YEARLING YEARLING
Male Female
Bite- Lower teeth must meet forward edge of upper dental pad. 1
(1/4 inch back
is acceptable)
1
(1/4 inch back,
1/8 inch forward
is acceptable)
Bite- The Lower gum line should be set back from the leading edge of the top dental pad. 1
(1/4" to 1/2")
1
(1/4" to 1/2")
Ears- Erect, spear-shaped and of appropriate length. 1 1
Front Legs- Straight (not base narrow at the feet) 1 1
Body Score- ideal condition is 5 out of 10 - acceptable range is 4 to 6 1 1
Leg Anomalies- Dropped Pasterns 1 1
Testicles- Two must be palpable 1
Female Genitalia- normal in appearance and size 1
Hind legs- Straight (not cow-hocked as viewed from the rear) 1 2
Hind Legs- substance of bone 1 1
Hind legs- Straight (not base narrow at the feet) 1 1
Body Capacity- Breadth & depth of the body, chest & abdomen 1 1
Body Capacity- Hind Quarters: broad & well-muscled 1 1
Overall Balance & Proportion - standing square on all four legs; neck and legs of
equal length. Length of neck and legs 2/3 of length of back. 1 1
Tail- Straight/Length (no structural deviations from normal) 1 1
Topline- level behind withers to pin bones, rounded at croup to tail set. 2 2
Hind legs- Side view: lie between post-legged and sickle-hocked (intermediate is
optimum). 2 2
Hind legs- Angular limb deviations 2 2
Movement- leg set & angulation affect tracking 2 2
Front Legs- Angular limb deviations (knock-kneed, turned out/toes out) 2 2
Front Legs- Toed in (one leg or both) 2 2
Testicles- consistent in size and texture. 2
Head- depth of jaw from eye to bottom of jaw 3 3
Neck- angle is within 90-100 degrees 3 3
Leg Anomalies- minor expression 3 3
Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association: Emphasis Guide?.by Mike Safley
______________________________________________________________________________
6 Northwest Alpacas: www.alpacas.com Phone: 503-628-3110
Legend: Numbered 1, 2, 3:
1 = Primary Emphasis
2 = Moderate Emphasis YEARLINGS
3 = Lesser Emphasis
Fleece? HUACAYA Male Female
Fineness 1 1
Density/fleece weight 1 1
Staple length 1 1
Uniformity of color in the blanket from one area to another 1 1
Lack of guard hair 1 1
Character/Crimp 2 2
Handle (CV) 2 2
Brightness 2 2
Uniformity from one area to another
Micron/Fineness 2 2
Character/Crimp 2 2
Density 2 2
Length 2 2
Color- Greys/Indefinites/Multis 3 3
Fleece ? SURI Male Female
Luster 1 1
Density/fleece weight 1 1
Fineness 1 1
Staple length 1 1
Uniformity of color in the blanket from one area to another 1 1
Lack of guard hair 1 1
Lock Style 2 2
Handle (CV) 2 2
Uniformity from one area to another
Lock Style 2 2
Length 2 2
Fineness 2 2
Density 2 2
Luster 2 2
Color- Greys/Indefinite/Multis 3 3
Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association: Emphasis Guide?.by Mike Safley
______________________________________________________________________________
7 Northwest Alpacas: www.alpacas.com Phone: 503-628-3110
Legend: Numbered 1, 2, 3:
1 = Primary Emphasis
2 = Moderate Emphasis ADULTS
3 = Lesser Emphasis
Conformation ADULT ADULT
Male Female
Bite- Lower teeth must meet forward edge of upper dental pad. 1
(1/4 inch back
is acceptable)
1
(1/4 inch back,
1/8 inch forward
is acceptable)
Bite- The Lower gum line should be set back from the leading edge of the top dental
pad.
1
(1/4" to 1/2")
1
(1/4" to 1/2")
Ears- Erect, spear-shaped and of appropriate length. 1 1
Front Legs- Straight (not base narrow at the feet) 1 1
Body Score- ideal condition is 5 out of 10 - acceptable range is 4 to 6 1 1
Leg Anomalies- Dropped Pasterns 1 1
Testicles- Two must be palpable 1
Female Genitalia- normal in appearance and size 1
Hind legs- Straight (not cow-hocked as viewed from the rear) 1 2
Hind Legs- substance of bone 1 1
Hind legs- Straight (not base narrow at the feet) 1 1
Body Capacity- Breadth & depth of the body, chest & abdomen 1 1
Body Capacity- Hind Quarters: broad & well-muscled 1 1
Overall Balance & Proportion - standing square on all four legs; neck and legs of
equal length. Length of neck and legs 2/3 of length of back. 1 1
Tail- Straight/Length (no structural deviations from normal) 1 1
Topline- level behind withers to pin bones, rounded at croup to tail set. 1 1
Hind legs- Side view: lie between post-legged and sickle-hocked (intermediate is
optimum). 1 1
Hind legs- Angular limb deviations 1 1
Movement- leg set & angulation affect tracking 1 1
Front Legs- Angular limb deviations (knock-kneed, turned out/toes out) 1 1
Front Legs- Toed in (one leg or both) 1 1
Testicles- consistent in size and texture. 1
Head- depth of jaw from eye to bottom of jaw 2 2
Neck- angle is within 90-100 degrees 2 2
Leg Anomalies- minor expression 2 2
Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association: Emphasis Guide?.by Mike Safley
______________________________________________________________________________
8 Northwest Alpacas: www.alpacas.com Phone: 503-628-3110
Legend: Numbered 1, 2, 3:
1 = Primary Emphasis
2 = Moderate Emphasis ADULTS
3 = Lesser Emphasis
Fleece? HUACAYA Male Female
Fineness 1 1
Density/fleece weight 1 1
Staple length 1 1
Uniformity of color in the blanket from one area to another 1 1
Lack of guard hair 1 1
Character/Crimp 2 2
Handle (CV) 2 2
Brightness 2 2
Uniformity from one area to another
Micron/Fineness 2 2
Character/Crimp 2 2
Density 2 2
Length 2 2
Color- Greys/Indefinites/Multis 3 3
Fleece ? SURI Male Female
Luster 1 1
Density/fleece weight 1 1
Fineness 1 1
Staple length 1 1
Uniformity of color in the blanket from one area to another 1 1
Lack of guard hair 1 1
Lock Style 2 2
Handle (CV) 2 2
Uniformity from one area to another
Lock Style 2 2
Length 2 2
Fineness 2 2
Density 2 2
Luster 2 2
Color- Greys/Indefinite/Multis 3 3