Appaloosa Alpacas and the exciting Harlequin greys…….
Like many alpaca breeders we realised that to be different was to stand out from the crowd. We felt that, especially in the huacaya sector, that breeders had just about everything covered. By breeding suris we felt we could stay ahead of the game as the number of breeders was and still is very low.
But in the world of the huacaya you already had specialists in white, fawn, black, greys and even browns. We needed something to stand out! We came across the answer quite unintentionally whilst on holiday in Australia in 2007. When you’ve bred alpacas for some time you will realise that holidays tend to include visits to fellow alpaca breeders and so we found ourselves looking through a selection of young males at Ambersun Alpacas near Adelaide. We were quite overawed by what we had in front of us, beautiful whites, stunning fawns and the occasional darker coloured male but Felicia came across a young male the likes of which she had never seen before and she was immediately intrigued.
Felicia had stumbled across Camouflage, a”spotty” or as we now call them an “appaloosa”male and that was the start of Popham’s venture into the world of appaloosas.
Camouflage joined our breeding programme in 2009. We bred him to mainly white females and waited in anticipation for the cria. The first Camouflage cria was actually born away from Popham and was an appaloosa girl. The wait for our own became even more intense and then eventually Popham’s first Camouflage cria arrived. An appaloosa male. The best result we could possibly hope for. We called him Serengetti and he was soon followed by another spotty male that we called Amboseli. These boys are now standing at stud in Germany and Holland respectively and are continuing to produce appaloosa alpacas in their own right.
I must hasten to say that not all of his offspring are spotty but we have found the best results to come from white females carrying a brown spot. Popham Faith is one of these females and she has produced four spotties from five cria. Some females have only produced about 50% spotty and some none at all.
Generally the appaloosa alpaca has been greeted with interest but as in all walks of life you will find those in opposition. Initially the “purists”, as I like to call them, completely poo-pooed the idea. Comments ranged from ” what about colour uniformity then”, ” you won’t get a spotty yarn you know” to one judge who shall remain anonymous commenting in their verbal reasoning that the “appaloosa alpaca had no place in the industry”!!!
Well they have been proved wrong and appaloosas are here to stay. Camouflage has further offspring now working at stud in Switzerland, Belgium and of course here in the UK and the interest continues.
One further exciting, and unintentional, development is the appearance of 2 harlequin grey offspring amongst his cria in 2015. These two males, we’ve called one Mardi Gras and the other Carnival are thriving well and we watch their development with interest. His other appaloosa cria in 2015 was a female we have named Pebbles.
Popham does occasionally release an appaloosa alpaca up for sale. Not only do they carry the appaloosa gene but they are bred from our finest bloodlines with fantastic fleeces and conformation.