Dianne has been judging for many years and has travelled the world to enhance her skills.

Showing and Judging is the showpiece window for our industry and is an excellent way to promote your stud.

It should be taken serious, but it should also be a friendly event where fellow breeders can meet, compare, learn and improve their stock for the following year.

Showing alpacas is a way in which breeders can measure one animal against another in show situation. To new breeders who are still learning it gives them an indication as to how they are going in their breeding programme.

Comparing your animals against others and talking to other breeders is what showing is all about, and if you happen to win a ribbon then it makes it even more exciting.

There can only be one winner, and although you may disagree with the judge’s decisions, you must except and respect their decisions. You take your animals to the show, to have them judged and to get an opinion, it is natural to be disappointed at times with some decisions, but always remember to be a modest winner and a good loser, as no one likes a winging exhibitor, and bad reputations are soon gained.


When assessing an alpaca in the show ring judges have a set method to work with, normally starting at the front of the animal and working their way along the body. Starting at the head they check the mouth is correct then continue on to the top knot. They are looking for a dense fleece standing up at right angles from the skull. It should carry fine even crimp to the base and be free of guard hair. Working down the neck and along the back-line they check for condition and conformation.

In Australia fleece assessment carries 60% of the points allocated to the total score, the remainder of points are given for conformation 35% and 5% for presentation.

A fleece should be dense even and fine over the entire body and should handle like silk. The winning alpaca should have all these attributes. There are three areas which should be examined quickly and thoroughly at the start. Judges will spring the fleece open evenly and consistently opening the fleece cleanly through to the skin, to assess the fleece quality. This should be done in the same position on each animal. The fleece should bounce open with density and fineness. They are looking for lustre, degree of crimp Uniformity, and lack of guard hair, in these three positions.

In a large show alpacas that carry uniformity in these three positions are brought forward to inspect more thoroughly.

High quality animals can be extremely close. The fleeces are now looked at more thoroughly, moving down the back leg, the judge is looking for fleece quality that continues down past the knee, under the belly and around the tail area, a top alpaca carries the same fibre on the tail as the body. Moving into the chest area and down the front leg they will find a large variation in fleece, a good animal will carry the crimp further into the chest and will have less guard hair which will be considerably finer. The finest animal does not always win as most of the animals are fine for their age so it is a balance of all these factors that makes the perfect alpaca. It has to be the most complete animal that wins.

The judge usually stands back and takes a final look at the coverage and conformation and then they make their decision, placing the ribbons on the winners.