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Difference between Alpaca and Llamas

Alpacas and llamas both belong to the camel family (Camelidae) and mostly found in Peru and Bolivia. At first glance, alpacas may look a lot like llamas, but there are many differences between these two animals in terms of their size, shape and behaviour. Let us see how alpaca differs from llamas!


Alpaca is a species of South American camelid. It has small, blunt face with shorter, spear-shaped ears and has a very fine single coat. There are two types of alpacas: Huacaya and the Suri. The fibers of Huacaya are shorter and are perpendicular to the skin so it looks like a teddy bear. Whereas, the Suri has long, shiny fibers that curl into ringlets. An average alpaca stands 34"-36" at the shoulders and weighs around 65 kg.

Alpacas have a tuft of hairs on the top of their head. Their fiber is soft, lightweight, strong and highly durable. So, the garments made of its fiber do not cause any type of skin allergy. Their hair or fleece colour varies greatly; it can be white, light yellow, brown, black and more. Alpacas are shy, quiet and very intelligent animals, so they rarely bite or kick and thus are easy to train and handle. They are herd animals, so tend to stay with their group.


Llama is a pack animal of the camel family. It has an elongated face with long, banana-shaped ears. These animals are twice the size of the alpaca and are around 47" at the shoulders and weigh around 113 kg. It has been bred for more than 5000 years as a pack-carrying animal.

They generally have less hair on their head and face and have a coarse outer coat and a soft inner coat, produce far less fiber per animal than alpaca. Llamas are herbivorous as they feed on different types of grasses. They are confident and independent animals so often used as guard animals for alpaca, sheep and other similar livestock.

Based on the above information, some of the key differences between alpaca and llamas are as follows:

Alpaca Llama
It is a fleece-producing animal of the camel family. It is a pack animal of the camel family.
It is smaller than a llama. It is larger than alpaca.
They were chiefly bred to be fiber animals. They were mainly bred to be pack animals.
They inhabit humid and wet foothills. They prefer cold and dry plains at higher altitudes.
An average alpaca stands around 36" at the shoulders. An average llama stands around 48" at the shoulders.
It weighs around 125 to 200 lbs. It weighs 300 to 400 lbs.
Tail slopes down from the back. Tail is in line with the back.
It has shorter, sloping back. It has long, straight back.
They have a single coat of fine fleece. They have double coated fleece: outer long coarse guard hair and inner soft hairs.
It is shy, timid and intelligent. It is confident and independent.
It produces more fleece than a llama. Despite larger in size, it produces less fleece than alpaca.
It has a large tuft of hair on the top of its head. It has less hair on the head and face.
It cannot be used as a guard animal. It can be used as a guard animal for alpaca and other smaller livestock.
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