In Llama breeding, we generally recognize the following four types which differ primarily in wool coverage, fibre type and body size.
Because no uniform regulations exist worldwide among breed organizations, additional type designations are found; for instance, the South American country of origin is commonly denoted to reference deviations in breed development.
The Wooly Llama has strong wool coverage over the whole body, especially on the neck, head and ears, and down the legs to the fetlock. Body size is usually smaller than other Llama types.
The fibre is very fine, crimped, parts easily and is interspersed with minimal fine guard hairs. Occasionally, fibre quality is approximately equal to the average alpaca . Because an undercoat is missing, the uniform fleece is referred to as "single coated".
This type has longer fibres on its neck and body, but compared to the Wooly has less and shorter fibre at the head, ears and legs.
It also differs from the Wooly in the presence of long, rough guard hairs protruding through a fine undercoat. This fleece is called "double coated" (without uniformity).
In practice, even specialists have difficulty distinguishing this type, which results either directly or indirectly from crossing Wooly (strong coverage) and Classic (light coverage).
Classic Llama (Ccara Sullo)
The Classic Llama clearly has less fibre on its whole head, neck and legs. The body has a slightly longer hair coat, often exhibiting the form of a saddle. Some have guard hairs on the neck that look like a mane.
The double-coated fleece, with rough guard hairs and a fine undercoat, lacks uniformity. Classic Llamas usually have a larger, taller body.
Suri Lamas are so rare that in all of Europe there may be no more than 100!
The Suri’s wool coverage is very similar to the Wooly, however the fibres are slightly less fine and cling to the body in long, rope-like wisps.
Working with an extremely small available gene pool makes the reproduction of Suri Llamas a delightful challenge, even for the most experienced breeders.