Camel Breeding

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Camel Breeding


a branch of animal husbandry concerned with the raising and use of camels; developed in desert, semidesert, and arid steppe zones. In the USSR two species of camels are raised: single-humped (dromedaries), which are animals of hot climates (Turkmen SSR, Tadzhik SSR, Uzbek SSR); and double-humped (Bactrians), adapted to severe, freezing winters (Kazakh SSR, Kirghiz SSR, northern Uzbek SSR, Kalmyk ASSR, Tuva ASSR, and in the Astrakhan’, Volgograd, and Chita oblasts). The following double-humped breeds are raised in the USSR: Kalmyk, Kazakh, and Mongolian. The arvana is the single-humped breed. The largest and most powerful camels are the Kalmyk Bactrians. The arvana camels excel all other breeds in milk production. Hybrids of single- and double-humped camels, distinguished by their greater dimensions, power, and endurance, are widespread. Hybrids of the first generation (nary and inery) are not mated among each other, since they produce inferior offspring. The male hybrids are castrated, while the females are mated with males of one of the parent forms—Bactrians or dromedaries—and the subsequent raising of hybrids is conducted by absorptive crossbreeding. Hybrids of crossbreeding with Bactrians (kospaki) have a double hump and are close to Bactrians; hybrids of crossbreeding with dromedaries (kokherty) are single-humped and close to dromedaries. In the USSR, dromedaries constitute approximately 34 percent, Bactrians 44 percent, and hybrids 22 percent of the livestock population. In the USSR camel-breeding farms conduct breeding work to improve the working and productive qualities of camels: Sakar-Chaga in Turkmenia and Kzyl-Uzen and Timur in Kazakhstan.

Camel breeding is an extremely economical branch of animal husbandry. Camels feed on pastures the year round. In periods unfavorable to pasturing, they are fed hay; during periods of heavy work and in the mating season, concentrated fodders. In winter they are watered once a day; in summer, twice. They are housed in accommodations of the simplest type: in summer in range yards with awnings, in winter in corrals and barns. The premises must be clean and dry, since camels are very sensitive to dampness. Mechanization of watering, milking, and shearing of camels makes possible an eventual decrease in the cost of keeping the animals.

In the USSR the number of camels used as the principal means of transportation in regions of developed camel breeding has been significantly decreased as a result of the mechanization of transport (motor transport, railway, helicopters, and so on). On Jan. 1, 1969, there were 263, 600 camels in the USSR, including 99, 300 on individual farms.

Camel breeding is most developed in the countries of Africa (total camel population, 8.5 million head, including 2.5 million in the Sudan, 2.3 million in Somali, and 970, 000 in Ethiopia) and Asia (total camel population, 3.7 million head, including 1.08 million in India, 601, 000 in Pakistan, 680, 000 in Mongolia, and 360, 000 in Saudi Arabia). The world camel population in 1967-68 was 12.2 million.


Lakoza, I. I., and V. A. Shchekin. Verbliudovodstvo i osnovy os-lovodstva i muloproizvodstva. Moscow, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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