The miniature llama has been developed from various llama bloodlines from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Canada and North America. In llamas’ native habitat of South America it is believed that small llamas may have been products of surviving harsh natural climates. However, today with the knowledge of genetics it has made the possibility of breeding specifically for size a reality. Some of the most well known herdsires in the llama industry from years past continue on in miniature llama’s genes today.
Miniature llamas were bred from many different small llamas with various types of fiber. Today in the miniature llama industry you will still find minis of all fiber types including suri, light, medium, heavy and silky fiber. Miniature llamas can be found in a rainbow of colors.
For the last couple of decades breeders have been selecting for llamas that resemble a standard-size llama in every way, but remain small in size. In 1999, several breeders across the United States decided to come together and form the American Miniature Llama Association (AMLA). The AMLA was formed to provide opportunities to share information among owners, breeders and persons interested in miniature llamas, to provide input to national llama associations regarding issues vital to the industry, to encourage and support events to expand awareness and market potential and to provide social contact among owners, breeders and persons interested in miniature llamas. This association was to be the first to separate itself from the general llama industry in the desire to create a specific type of llama. Several years later the Suri Llama Association would also decide to break away from the industry and start their own registry for suri llamas.
At first the AMLA had their own registry separate from the International Lama Registry (ILR), but in 2005 the AMLA and the ILR began a working relationship and now the ILR handles all registrations for AMLA.
Today the American Miniature Llama Association has grown to include members from states all across the U.S. and Canada. Miniature llama classes are included at some of the llama industry’s most prestigious events in the United States and miniature llamas can win all sorts of awards just like the large standard llama. Many AMLA breeders are now breeding multi-generational miniature llamas that are consistently producing small offspring. The mini llama is truly on its way to becoming a “breed apart” in the llama industry!