Chalford Cappuchino – an unusual surprise!
We are extremely excited about this development within our herd. We have bred harlequin grey alpacas! Chalford Cappuchino was born in 2009, much to his mother’s shock! His mother is Chalford Charlotte, a black from black parents and her first cria was spotty! Cappuchino’s sire is Mariah Hill Mambo, an award winning black from Australia who was our leading herd sire for many years. Mambo has white, fawn and brown colours in his background but in the all the years we owned him, he only ever produced crias the same colour as the mother. Except for Cappuchino!
Cappuchino has a super temperament and his fleece is gorgeous. We have shown his fleeces in grey classes during the last few years and he has been awarded first places in Junior, Intermediate and Adult classes.
What happened next?
In 2012, we bred Cappuchino to two unrelated white females by American sourced males, Francesca and Ariella. The reasoning for breeding to a white was to prove the harlequin genes could be passed on. Francesca’s first cria was born and he is the spitting image of his dad, another harlequin grey! We have called him Cappuchino’s Harlequin (or Harley for short). Ariella’s cria, Archie, is solid light fawn. Although he has a few fawn spots on his head he is not a harlequin.
Chalford Ariella produced a harelquin grey in 2014. Meet Chalford The Artful Dodger….
The Artful Dodger has now been sold and will be making more spotty alpacas in Southern Spain !
Dr Andrew Merriweather, a genetist and alpaca breeder in the US, has this to say about harlequins;
‘Harlequin greys are greys with dark spots or speckles over the face and often over the whole body. They do not typically have any white on them, and are thus not a risk for making BEWs (Blue Eyed Whites). This is likely a different gene than any of the other kinds of greys. The inheritance pattern is not clear for harlequin greys. Harlequins appear to be more common in suris, due to the large influence of Condor and Romantico on the US suri herd. They have produced many harlequin greys. It could be dominant or recessive. I am still investigating this phenotype. Right now the numbers of cria from harlequin crosses is too low to make any kind of meaningful guess, but hopefully we will collect enough breeding data to say if it is a dominant or recessive gene soon’.
We will continue to breed Cappuchino and hope for some females in the future. We would love to hear from anyone interested in grey genetics or anyone who has a harlequin in their field.