by Lynda Carothers 2008

If you are answering “YES” to this, then hopefully you will find some helpful information in this article.

The first place to check out is the Argentine Llama Aficionados (ALA)  website at Here is where you will find information on the Argentine Llama, members of the ALA and pictures of many of the Argentines in the United States today.  This group is more like a club, for those who own or want to own Argentine llamas.  The group supports the marketing of both full and part Argentine llamas. They produce a quarterly newsletter and have a display that travels to major events.  

What makes an Argentine llama? There most definitely is some confusion here.  To be a full Argentine llama, the lineage must have the original llamas coming from Argentina.  Many full Argentines start their name with Argentine, but not all.  And only full Argentine’s can have Argentine in front of their name.  There was another group of llamas imported called Rebano Escondido or RE’s. These have been referred to as Chilean llamas of the Argentine type.  And that is exactly what they are…..Chilean llamas that exhibit some of the Argentine traits.   They are not Argentine.  Part Argentine llamas are exactly that….whether they are 1/4th or 15/16th Argentine they are still part Argentine. We have seen Argentines crossed with Suri’s, Classics, Mini’s and regular llamas. And we have seen most often the addition of fiber and fiber coverage when these crosses have been made.  

The next step is to educate yourself on the Argentine llama traits and bloodlines.  There were 4 imports that included Argentine llamas through Chile into the USA. These all incurred between 1997 and 2000.  In all, about 80 full Argentine llamas were brought in and several part Argentines.  From these imports we recognize several important names: Argentine Kobra, Argentine Pecos, Argentine Don Zunca, Argentine Yecu and Argentine Saltarin.  By studying the older llamas on the ALA website you can learn more about the initial bloodlines imported to the US. With the limited bloodlines available here, one must plan their Argentine herd genetics with care.  Some of the more rare Argentine bloodlines go back to Oberon, Corvo, Paco, Gustavo, Novio and more.  Currently there are about 300 full Argentine llamas here.  And we see more and more part Argentines as many people seem to like the Argentine ingredient added to their herds. 

Just what are the Argentine traits?  The phenotype characteristics of the Argentine are a robust build, fine dense fiber coverage, large leg bone, big feet, triangular head and fiber coverage from the tips of their ears to their toes. They are also known to be intelligent and have sweet dispositions.  They have a large range of heights and can have lofty, silky or locked fiber.  

The Argentine llamas have been used mainly for fiber production in Argentina. We see beautiful shades of red and brown, from rich mahoganies to chocolate browns, whites, blacks and less often paints and appaloosa’s.  We see this because different colors often have different fiber characteristics, even if they are on the same animal. For that reason and that solids eliminate the need for sorting colors, Argentines were bred to keep solid color coats.  We typically see about four pounds of fiber from just a barrel cut, with full cuts often producing eight pounds. Because of the dense fiber, they most often need to be sheared with an Argentine hair cut. This helps keep them cooler in the summer months. Research shows taking the fiber off the neck can lower body temperatures two to three degrees.  I have seen Argentine  fiber so dense that nothing can get into it. If they are sheared yearly, it takes very little time to clean their fiber.  And we are seeing an interest in people asking for our Argentine llama fiber products. 

Whether you are interested in starting an Argentine herd of your own, or adding the Argentine ingredient to your existing herd, be sure to start with a visit to the ALA website.  Then visit member websites and talk with some of our Argentine llama members.  The Argentine llama is a magnificent animal and is bringing excitement to the llama industry.  Once you have an Argentine llama, you will for sure want more!