What is a miniature llama?
A mini llama is a llama that has been bred to look exactly like the large standard llama, but remain small in size. They should retain the correct proportions, correctness of movement and great personality of the standard llama. Miniature llamas are not dwarfs, ill-thrift large llamas or unhealthy. They are simply healthy little replicas of the traditional standard llama. For more answers on how the miniature llama was developed, check out our “Mini History” page on our web site.
Do miniature llamas have their own registry?
Yes. In 1999, a small group of llama breeders from different regions of the United States decided to form the American Miniature Llama Association (AMLA). The AMLA since then has grown to include members from all across the U.S. and Canada. To be registered with the AMLA a llama also has to be registered with the International Lama Registry (ILR). The ILR is the largest lama registry in the world.
What are the qualifications for a llama to be registered as a miniature llama?
There are three separate categories in the AMLA standards for a miniature llama. Male and female llamas that measure 38 inches or less at the withers (where the neck and the back connect) at 3 years of age or older and are registered with the International Lama Registry (ILR) may be registered as a mini llama with the AMLA. Females that measure 38.1 to 40 inches at the withers, at 3 years of age or older and are registered with the ILR may be registered as a foundation miniature female with the AMLA. Offspring with one or more AMLA/ILR registered parents may be registered with both the ILR and AMLA at birth as Immature Minis. At 3 years of age, these immature minis have to be measured at the withers to make sure they make the AMLA height requirement. If they still are within the AMLA’s height requirement, they can be permanently registered with the AMLA as a miniature llama.
Are AMLA registered miniature foundation females valuable to a miniature llama breeding program?
Yes! Foundation size miniature females, 38.1 to 40 inches, are very important in mini breeding programs. There are very few AMLA registered mini females 38 inches or less in the United States. In order to keep a large gene pool in the miniature llama the foundation miniature females help provide a larger diversity of bloodlines. Many foundation miniature females have multi-generational pedigrees of small llamas in their genes. These females are very valuable assets in a miniature llama breeding program. Foundation miniature females, even though they are over 38 inches, still have the ability to produce offspring that are less than 38 inches at 3 years old or older. In the same way, a female that is 38 inches or less can also produce an offspring that will mature over 38 inches. That is the joy of genetics!
What type of fiber do miniature llamas have?
Since miniature llamas were developed from many different llama bloodlines they can be found in all the same types of fiber as standard llamas. These fiber types include suri, light fiber, medium fiber, heavy fiber, lanuda and silky. Their fiber, like the standard llamas’, is great for spinning, felting and other fiber arts. They can be sheared annually in the late spring to early summer for their luxurious fiber. Minis can be found in a rainbow of natural colors and their fiber can also be easily dyed.
Do miniature llamas have their own classes at llama shows?
Yes. In the past, miniature llamas had to compete in the large standard llama halter classes as there were no mini llama halter classes offered at llama shows. That has now changed. Over the last couple of years miniature llama halter classes have become very popular at llama shows as the popularity and acceptance of the miniature llama has grown. Mini llamas can now compete for the same titles, rewards and recognition as the standard llamas. They can compete in fiber, showmanship, costume, driving, performance and halter classes. Miniature llamas are judged on the same criteria as the standard llama. The only judging difference is in deciding a tie between two equally proportionate mini llamas the higher placing should go to the smaller llama based on their ages.
What are the benefits of having miniature llamas versus standard llamas?
Miniature llamas are perfect for the small acreage owner because of their little size. As more and more Baby Boomers retire and move to their smaller retirement properties and families decide to leave the city behind and have a small homestead, there is a real need for a useful animal that will provide multiple benefits. Mini llamas, because of their small size, need less pasture space, barn space and less feed than large standard llamas. They also are easier to handle due to their petite size when doing routine health care like trimming toenails, shearing and vaccinations. Miniature llamas make great animals for children, small adults, older folks and special needs individuals because their size is not intimidating like the larger standard llama. Historically llamas were bred as beasts of burden and the miniature llama is no exception. They cannot carry as much as a large standard llama, but they can easily carry 10 lbs in a pack, making them perfect companions on the hiking trail. Miniature llamas make excellent animals for youth to work with in 4-H llama projects because of their small size. Another advantage of the miniature llama is the potential tax benefits raising them can bring their owners. Mini Llamas are perfect for all different generations of people and make an excellent project for families to enjoy together.