The proportion of suris among the global alpaca population is extremely small, at just 1–2%. Without international breeding efforts, the species would be in danger of extinction. The ideal suri is well proportioned with powerful legs and an elegant appearance. As with the huacaya, the neck and head constitute around a third of its height. However, the head is small and the ears appear to be a centimetre or two longer. The fur evenly covers the body from head to hooves.
The fleece stands out for its wonderfully lustrous, silky dreadlocks that fall parallel to the body on either side, thus creating a characteristic line down the back. Compared to the suri’s coat, the long, spiral locks are heavier and shinier. The twist may be to the right (clockwise) or to the left (anticlockwise). We often use the term ‘pencil’ to describe the structure of the fur – it is ideally well-defined, compact and uniform. The most essential quality features are the unique sheen and an extremely silky touch. The lustre is also a key characteristic when it comes to breeding. Given its limited availability, a suri fleece can command the highest prices on the market today.