Breed Standard

Breed Standard


Published by: Llama Association of Australasia (LAA) c2005 This document cannot be reproduced in its entirety or in part by any means, including in print or by electronic means, without the approval of the LAA Management Committee. (Current LAA members for personal use are exempt)

Preamble & Purpose

Llamas have a distinct and unique appearance, and in order to maintain the llama’s breed identity, all distinguishing features should receive consideration when deciding which llamas to breed. Those of a utilitarian nature, which relate directly to performance, or production should, of necessity, carry more weight than such points as colour, markings, or the shape of the head, face or ears. As well as outlining the specific characteristics that go towards describing an ideal llama, this breed standard can also be used as a guide, not only for llama breeders, but also for the novice or potential llama owner, in identifying which characteristics are desirable to look and aim for.


Standard Faults
The head, which is carried proudly and alertly, is long and lean, tapering slightly to the nose Short or excessively tapered head
The eyes are large. They should be bright and clear, oval in shape and set widely apart. Both eyes should be the same colour. They should be black or brown. The eye rims are well pigmented Overly protruding eyes. Blue eyes. Miss-matched eyes. Un-pigmented (pink or pink-spotted) eye-rims
The nose is well defined and well-pigmented, with slightly flared nostrils Un-pigmented (pink or pink spotted) nose. Pinched nostrils
The ears, carried upright when alert, are long, slightly rounded at the tips and curve inwards. They are covered with short hair or may (in the case of long wool llamas) be fringed with long hair Short, very straight or pointed ears. Ears which point outwards
The upper lip is evenly divided into two, long, prehensile sections Un-pigmented (pink or pink spotted lips)
The jaws fit well together and are even in length. The lower front teeth press evenly against the hard pad of the upper jaw Under or overshot jaws


Standard Faults
The neck is long and slender, continuing directly from the line of the backbone and blending smoothly into the shoulder Ewe neck (dipping below the front of the withers) Neck length disproportionate in relation to body size
It is carried in an upright position when moving slowly Poor carriage of the neck


Standard Faults
The chest is of medium breadth and reaches to the elbows. The fore-chest is well muscled Lack of fore-chest. Chest too broad or too narrow. Note: too broad a chest is a greater fault than too narrow, due to possible birthing problems in the offspring
The withers are well-set into the shoulders, well fleshed and relatively wide, where the shoulders meet, forming a straight line with the back Withers prominent. Shoulder blades loose In or out at the elbows


Standard Faults
The body has good length, without being overly long. The animal should not be so broad in the body, as to inhibit the movement of the long, forward moving limbs Too long. Too broad
It is deep through the girth, with well sprung ribs Shallow body. Slab-sidedness
The back is straight and strong, with the top-line level or rising slightly to the rear Humped/roach back. Sway back Withers higher than the rear
The loins should be strong, broad and flat with a large deep back barrel Narrow weak loins. Shallow back barrel


Standard Faults
The rump is flat and broad, with a good space between the pin bones Rounded, narrow or sloping croup
The tail, although short, in relation to the overall size of the animal, is still long enough to cover the genital area and be completely covered with hair. It follows in a straight line with the back-bone and is set high. In profile, especially when the animal is moving, the tail is carried high and curved Tail too short or low set. Tail crooked (wry tail), or poorly carried (to one side) when llama is in motion
The thighs are broad, strong and well-muscled Hindquarters weak and narrow

Legs & Feet

Standard Faults
When viewed from the front, forelegs appear to drop vertically, from shoulder to fetlock. They are straight, well boned and strong, with minimum inward or outward deviation Lack of angulation in front assembly. Bones too fine or coarse. Bowlegged or knock kneed
Toes should point forward and pasterns should be strong and upright Carpal deviation (toed in or toed out) Knuckled over or excessively sloping pasterns
Feet are well formed with two forward pointing toe-nails, either dark or pale in colour. A calloused pad covers the sole of the foot Very small feet
The hind-legs, when viewed from the rear, appear parallel and straight Base wide or base narrow Cow hocked or sickle hocked
In profile, the thighs have good width and the moderate angulation of the cannon bone (metatarsus) gives the animal a slightly sickle hocked appearance Post-leggedness (lack of rear angulation) Camped out or camped under behind

Female Genitalia and Udder

Standard Faults
The vulva should be set almost vertically The vulva horizontally positioned or any sign of hermaphrodism
The udder should have four teats and be well attached Either more or less than four teats

Male Genitalia

Standard Faults
A well attached scrotum should carry two equally sized testicles, approximately 3.5-7cm in length, 2.3-3.5cm in width, and 3-4cm in depth at maturity Small testes in mature male. Testes of unequal size. Ectopic testes


Standard Faults
The llama has four natural gaits – walk, pace, gallop and “pronk”. It moves easily from one to the next. It does not trot naturally. At the walk and pace, the animal has a tendency to “single-track” Uneven length of stride. Feet dragging, winging out, paddling, “rope-walking”. Divergence of feet. Lameness

Height & Weight

Standard Faults
A mature llama, over three years old, will reach a minimum height of 100cm at the withers and weigh at least 100kg Less than the minimum height and weight. Obesity


Standard Faults
The llama is a charismatic animal and appears to exude a sense of superiority. The llama is curious and generally calm but aloof. The llama’s temperament is in keeping with its all-purpose requirements Extreme nervousness
The llama is trustworthy around both the very young and old and should not be given to panic when undergoing normal handling and examination Aggression towards humans

Coat Colour & Pattern

Medium Wool (solid dark grey) Long Wool (black, tuxedo) Extreme Long Wool(white)
Suri Wool (brown, dark points) Solid Long Wool Long Wool (Natural or Wild)
  • Coat colour: Llamas come in an almost limitless range of colours and shading – from black, white, grey, cream, fawn and honey, through to red, brown, roan, and more. For more information on colours, please check the REGISTRATION COLOUR CHART Examples of Llama Colour and Patterns.

    ALR Registration Colour Chart

  • Coat Patterns: Coat patterns are classified as follows (some of these can come in combination with others): a. Solid: single colour b. Tuxedo: solid body colour, with white markings confined to face, neck, chest and lower legs c. Paint: patches of colour on a white background d. Dark points: solid body colour with darker head, legs and tail e. Natural: fawn to light brown body colour, lighter underneath, with greyish markings on the head and lower legs f. Appaloosa: darker spots on a light background g. Reverse Appaloosa: lighter spots on a dark background h. Tortoiseshell: tri-coloured, black, brown and fawn as in a tortoiseshell cat. Faults: Llamas are not faulted for any colour or coat pattern. Each is considered equal to any other.

  • Fleece Type & Distribution: When referring to the type of fibre on a llama, the terms fleece and wool are often used interchangeably. Llamas fall into three basic fleece type classifications. Short Wool; Medium Wool; and Long Wool.

  • Short Wool: A short wool animal has a clean smooth head, ears and legs, and a short dense fleece all around the neck. There is a short dense fleece of body wool, which is double coated, having a coarser outer coat (guard hair) and a finer under coat. The fleece of a short wool animal is at least partially shed annually.

  • Medium Wool: A medium wool animal has a clean, smooth head and ears. Although medium wool animals may have tufts of hair below the knees or hocks, the amount is not significant. There is a dense, usually double coated fleece, of body wool. The neck wool, which in young animals may be longish all round is partially shed on maturity, leaving a short soft fleece on the front and longer hairier fleece on the back of the neck; this sometimes resembles a mane. A medium wool animal does not have long wool all around the neck, or significant wool on the legs, or below the knees or hocks.

  • Long Wool: The head of a long wool animal may be covered in short smooth hair all over, or have a fringing of longer hair around or over the eyes and along the edges of the ears. The fleece on the legs usually extends to below the knees or hocks. The neck wool is long all around the neck and is not shed. The body fleece is long and can be either “single” (no noticeable difference between the guard hair and the under-wool), or “double” (obvious guard hair). Fleece types for long wool llamas may vary from one, which stands out perpendicularly from the body, to one which hangs straight or is in waves. This long hair may result in a “parting” along the back and sometimes down the neck.

  • Suri Wool: The suri wool llama is distinguished from other long wool llamas, primarily by its fleece. It has similar conformation and temperament characteristics as all other llamas but the fleece, while having the same distribution over the body as in other long wool llamas, forms into cords. These hanging cords, which form close to the skin and maintain a uniform profile to the tips, give the suri wool llama the appearance of “stretchiness” and narrowness, especially when viewed from the front.


Most llamas will display faults in varying degrees of importance and severity. While special thought and consideration should be given when breeding with llamas that display obvious faults, these faults, with careful breeding, can be reduced or eliminated from the offspring.

Disqualifying Faults

Disqualifying faults however, are considered to be congenital. While these may not always be passed on to the next generation, there is a strong probability that they will show up in subsequent generations at some time. Animals that display congenital faults should not be bred in a natural breeding program that will allow their genes to be passed on to their offspring. NB. Males with disqualifying faults, should be gelded and females protected against accidental matings. Females can, however, be used as ‘surrogate mothers’ in embryo transfer (ET) programs where they are not passing on any of their genes to the offspring. The donor sire and dam are considered the parents for registration purposes. Supporting evidentiary material in the form of a veterinary certificate or statutory declaration identifying the natural parents will be required for the registration of the offspring. The list of disqualifying faults will change over time as more research is undertaken and knowledge gained.

Breeders are requested to check on the LAA website at for the current updated list. At the time of publishing this breed standard, disqualifying faults are:

  • Severe genital abnormalities
  • Fewer or more than two testes on a male
  • Fewer or more than four teats on a female
  • Missing tail (which is not the result of an accident)
  • “Gopher” (extremely short) ears
  • Severe deformities of the head
  • Severe skeletal deformities
  • Polydactylism (more than two toes on a foot)
  • Syndactylism (fusion of the two toes into one)