Paco-Vicuñas? Yes, Paco-Vicuñas, or PVs for short, are fiber-producing animals in the Camelid family that are being bred to produce exceptionally fine, dense fleece. In the long history of fiber, vicuña fiber is well recognized as one of the finest fleeces in the world. But vicuña fiber is slow growing, often only long enough to shear about every three years. The earliest alpacas were domesticated from the vicuña by the native South American peoples as long as 6000 years ago. The resulting fiber was so incredibly fine and soft that Incan Royalty alone was permitted to wear it. After the Conquistadors slaughtered much of the major alpaca herds in an effort to control the local populations, the exquisitely fine fleece produced by the indigenous population was lost. The few remaining animals often cross-bred with the llama population left on the high plains, before the major herds had recovered, and controlled breeding was reintroduced. On their travels and with his work as an alpaca screener, Phil Switzer began noticing camelids in the late 1980's that were much finer than most alpacas, and more delicate in their structure. Knowing that high up on the altiplano of South America, little bands of vicuña males will occasionally breed with alpacas (the vicuña is the ancestor of the alpaca). The resulting offspring can vary, often having the longer fleece length of the alpaca, but much more delicate in bone structure with larger eyes and exhibiting the presence of more guard hair than most alpacas, particularly about the chest area and bib but with very fine fleeces. Many of the current PVs in the U.S. today are the offspring of the camelids found up on the Altiplano. The Paco-Vicuña Association has an independent and open registry that is essentially a breed standard. The Registry details 6 steps or categories of Paco-Vicuñas and the identifying traits and fiber fineness as well as the physical traits necessary for each category. For more information about vicunas for sale or about our baby alpaca yarn, visit our other pages.
Paco-Vicuña Chart of Characteristics and Traits
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