According to conventional categorization, camels are placed in four classes such as beef, dairy, dual purpose and racing. There appears little justification for such classification at present, because except in experimental lots, no camels are reared primarily as meat producers; racing camels do not constitute separate breeds, rather are selected from within existing populations only after they have shown a particular aptitude for speed and so on.
It was once said that no true breeds could be recognized and camels were named after the tribes that breed them and that types could often be identified with their help. Modern classifications have advanced little beyond these concepts, because little attempt has been made to assign the quantitative production parameters that are now so important in other species for the breed description. One such quantitative approach uses six morphological and biological characteristics such as habitat, function and geographical distribution, physical size based on linear measurements, ease of milking and rapidity of weight gain as parameters in the breed description. In Saudi Arabia, the most commonly used classification is based on colour. The relative proportion of colour varies from region to region depending on the selection process but it is not yet clear whether there are production differences between or among the colour types. In the former Sovient Union, all one-humped camels are of the Arvana breed. Three main types of Bactrian camels are also recognized in the former Soviet Union: Kalmyk, Kazakh and Mongolian.
In most areas camels are multipurpose animals with the females used primarily as milk producers, the males for transport or draught and both sexes providing meat as a secondary or tertiary product. Capital accumulation and security functions are also of considerable importance for camel-owning groups. Largely as a result of the nomadic way of life, there has been relatively little differentiation into specialized types in the camels. The lack of specialization can be attributed to the uniformly harsh conditions in which camels are bred and reared. Thus their owners require them to be multipurpose. However, a sort of specialization that has occurred is in the dichotomy of riding and pack types, both within the overall transport function (Wilson, 1998).
Old World camels belong to the family Camelidae of the order Artiodactyla. It is now customary to place Old World camels in the genus Camelus, and New World or South American camels into genus Lama. Within genus Camelus, two species are generally accepted: C. dromedaries (the one-humped or Arabian camel or dromedary) and C. bactrianus, the Bactrian camel. Some workers are of the view that species division is not biologically correct, as the two species freely inter-breed in either direction and produce fertile offspring.
The only well documented information available about the camel breeds in Pakistan is by Isani and Baloch (2000). They have listed twenty breeds of camel. The characteristics of some of the breeds are clearly overlapping. Therefore, they have rightly suggested that there are so many gaps in our knowledge in this regard. Further detailed studies might bring more facts to surface. On the basis of information as mentioned above, the provincewise list of the camel breeds is as follows:
Balochistan: Brahvi, Kachhi, Kharani, Lassi, Makrani, Pishin and Rodbari
NWFP: Gaddi, Ghulmani, Khader and Maya
Punjab: Bagri (Booja), Brela (Thalocha), Campbelpuri, Kala-Chitta, and Marecha
Sindh: Dhatti, Kharai, Larri (Sindhi) and Sakrai.
Key Reference : Mr. Bakhat B. Khan