|Conformation and fleece shows|
In France the alpaca is generally judged on its conformation and movement (50% of the marks), and the quality of its wool (50% of the marks).
Several countries, particularly in Europe, have adopted the rule of 50-50. Others give a higher percentage for fleece quality, such as for example Australia, England and Peru.
Before a contest begins, the judge calls all the competitors together to explain ring procedure. This is the way the animals are to be displayed in the ring. These procedures make it possible for the judge to appreciate the movement of the animals, their proportions, balance and stance from various angles.
The judge will then approach the animals individually and open their fleeces at several points on the body, to assess its fineness, density, uniformity, and crimp, etc (see chapter “the wool”.) He will also check for correct occlusion of the teeth, and absence of fused vertebrae in the tail and that the genitals are normal.
There are several categories of class listed by age, colour, and sex.
The winners of each class then compete against each other for the accolade of Best in Show all categories.
WHY SHOW ?
Comparing animals like for like aids in the selection and improvement of the species, it is the testing ground for breeders and a chance for them to gain the opinion of a specialist. Judges have a long and rigorous training before they become real experts and the talents and international recognition of some of them are very impressive.
It is important for breeders to gain the opinions of a variety of judges, and for the judges to see as many animals as they can in various countries.
Competitions provide an impartial assessment of animals for both breeders and future owners enabling them to make comparisons between animals. It is also a chance to see animals from different breeding lines, and an opportunity to speak with their owners. If you wish to buy stud services you will benefit from seeing the male classes and perhaps see some of their progeny.
Shows offer us the occasion to view the years’ new crop of animals, which is always thrilling, and to spend time with other breeders and owners. Meeting over lunch and at the ringside provides an opportunity for fruitful exchanges, to renew acquaintances and meet new people.