Registries & Associations
As breeders, when we say we are members of various registries and associations, we are affiliating ourselves with official networks which help provide a framework through which the Canadian alpaca industry operates. These registries and associations provide the structure and support which not only helped bring alpacas into Canada, but has also put our industry in a position to be taken seriously and to grow. They provide guidelines that inform us of the best practices, not only in breeding but also in husbandry; set standards that give us room to grow; and help bring the community together so that we can learn from and support one another.
Outlined below are the registering bodies and associations we are members of, with basic information as to what benefits each organization has to offer anyone, who is interested in owning and raising alpacas— be it as pets, fibre and breeding stock, or show animals.
The Canadian Llama and Alpaca Association (CLAA)
The CLAA is the national registry body for all Canadian alpacas. The CLAA is recognized under the Animal Pedigree Act, and all alpacas registered with them are afforded the benefits of this recognition. The CLAA maintains an online database of the national herd of both llamas and alpacas, making it easy to track down registered stock and to learn more about them, their current and former owners, and their offspring. Membership with the CLAA also comes in conjunction with membership to an individuals corresponding species association— either Llamas or Alpacas (or both), depending on the primary interest of the breeder.
Canadian alpacas are held to a minimum breed standard which is in place to encourage the continued health and wellbeing of the national herd. Canadian alpacas are eligible for registration only if their parentage can be DNA verified, and if they are free of congenital deformities. Alpacas registered with the CLAA are also microchipped and can be tracked between ownership, which is added protection against theft.
Alpaca Canada is the national association for alpacas within Canada, working in conjunction with the CLAA. Whereas the CLAA is the registry body where all alpaca registrations are issued from, Alpaca Canada is the voice of the industry working directly with owners and businesses within the industry to promote alpacas as a livestock.
Among other things, Alpaca Canada promotes alpacas, alpaca owners, and alpaca related businesses and advocates for them across Canada. It maintains the national show system through which owners animals can compete in halter, fleece, and combined shows for local and national recognition. Alpaca Canada also tries to encourage activity within the membership, and to promote communication between associations and members to ensure newcomers to the industry find the support they need if they have any questions they want to ask. Alpaca related events, workshops, and seminars can often be found listed with Alpaca Canada, and the association provides a host of other benefits to its members with the intent of helping owners grow and support their businesses.
The Alpaca Owners Association (AOA)
Many alpacas registered in Canada are also registered with the Alpaca Owners Association, which is the national registry and alpaca-association in the United States. Formerly two separate entities, the Alpaca Registry Inc. (ARI) and the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA), the two entities combined in recent years to provide additional services to its membership. The AOA promote the interests of American owners and breeders, and support a large database of alpaca related information which can be useful for further learning.
Alpacas registered with the AOA are DNA verified much like Canadian Alpacas, but are not subject to Canada's stricter conformational guidelines. Alpacas who are registered with the AOA may also partake in their Estimated Progeny Differences (EPD) program, which provides some valuable information as to the breeding qualities of participating animals.
Alpacas who are only registered with the AOA cannot compete in Canadian sanctioned shows (and vice versa, CLAA registered alpacas without AOA registration cannot compete in American shows).
The Alpaca Livestock Producers And Cooperators Association (A.L.P.A.C.A.) is the provincial Alpaca club for Alberta. This club connects provincial owners and breeders with one another and helps promote the alpaca industry within Alberta. The club hosts shows and other alpaca related events, including workshops, seminars, and open farm days, for those interested in learning more about alpacas.