Argentine Llamas – What makes them different?

by Lynda Carothers 2006.


I’ve been raising Argentine llama for 6 years and I often have people ask what makes them different.  Here in North America many of our llamas have blended bloodlines. They may have North American, Chilean, Bolivian or Peruvian and most likes mixed backgrounds. But the Argentine llama is fairly new to North America and they do have some distinct traits.  The Argentine llamas in North America come from the northern part of Argentina. The areas they are from have no alpacas but there are vicunas running with them. The people of Argentina have raised their llamas for meat and fiber. We see these traits in most of the Argentines llamas in North America. 

Fine Dense Fiber: Argentines typically show tremendous wool coverage. Most are born with full leg coverage including wool between their toes. As they grow they start to show heavy wool on their faces and fringes in their ears. The wool on the Argentines is very dense and fine. We see about twice the weight in fiber from an Argentine shearing than from one of our non-Argentine llamas. This is due to the denseness of their fiber.  And they need the Argentine style haircuts to keep cool in our hot summers. We are also seeing many placing high in ALSA and non-ALSA fleece contests, often with notes about the fineness of the fiber.  Their fiber can have lots of crimp or be more straight and silky. 

Robust Bodies: The Argentines show a wide chest and thicker body style. Although they come in many heights their body style seems to be the same. They are very sturdy looking. I believe that they have been bred for this trait for generations to provide more meat production for the people of Argentina.  

Heavy Leg Bone: You will see heavy leg bone on most of the Argentines in North America. This helps to support their robust body. Some people refer to them as the Clydesdale of the llama world.  The Argentine legs remind me of wood fence posts. And on the bottom of these heavy boned legs we find big feet. 

Color: Although the Argentine llama comes in many colors and color patterns, red seems to be the dominant color. Multiple colors seem more rare. This is probably due to the fact that in Argentina they depend on using the fiber and having solid animals mean less work when sorting fiber colors. 

Most Argentine llamas look like big teddy bears. And they have the disposition to go with that. Most are very sweet and easy to handle.  I am sure there are other llamas in North America that might exhibit some of these traits, but they are dominant to the Argentines that we find here. Also not all the llamas in Argentina exhibit these traits. But the ones chosen for export to the United States by Paul and Sally Taylor do.


 To learn more about the Argentines go to and visit members’ websites.