Pahwal or Gaddai camel

Pahwal or Gaddai camel

This breed of camel belong to Pashtun/Afghan Kochis (nomads). They travel from central Afghanistan to north-east Balochistan. Some nomads even cross Suleiman mountains and inter in Indus delta. Some tribes of the Kochis cross Bolan pass and enter in Kachhi area of Balochistan and some go further and inter in Sindh province.
Unfortunately, some Kochis are leaving camel culture and adapted tractors for luggage transportation because of the hinders in the historic routes and war and conflict in the region.

Camel is one of the important modes of transportation for the nomad (Kochis) who travels longer with their livestock, especially sheep and goats. The Gaddai or Pahwal breed of camel is unique of its kind and highly resistant to foot rots in cold wet weather, walks longer distances and can exist in cold and wet weather with scarce feed and water resources. The word Gaddai is derived from Pashtu (the Afghan Kochis mother tongue), meaning compact and round. Pahwal is the word use for Kochis in some Pashtun tribes. The milk production potential is lower, ranges from 3-10 liter per day but the higher variation is the option hope of a medium dairy potential.

Pahwal or Gaddai camel
The Afghan nomad with their Gaddai camel’s herd in their winter destination of Thal Duki, Lorelai district of Balochistan

As this breed of camel belongs to Pashtun/Afghan Kochis (nomads), therefore, they travel from central Afghanistan to north-east Balochistan. Some nomads even cross Suleiman mountains and enter in Indus delta (Punjab province of Pakistan). Characterization and significance of Raigi camel, a livestock breed of the Pashtoon pastoral people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Some tribes of the Kochis cross Bolan pass and enter in Kachhi area of Balochistan and some go further and enter in Sindh province, use the Indus river banks and adjoining areas for grazing of their livestock and the nomads work in the crops of local farmers.

A view of the Gaddai camel in the Kakar Khurasan region of Pakistan

Unfortunately, some Kochis are leaving camel culture and adapted tractors for luggage transportation because of the hinders in the historic routes and war and conflict in the region. Also, the land grabbers deforested the Indus banks and grabbed the lands for the cropping, especially the cotton crop.Floods, river Indus and the local livestock breeds in Pakistan



Some tribes replaced camels with the tractors, while the others use a donkey for this purpose. The donkey is equally good and strong transport animal but the longer distances really need the incredible camel.

This breed is under threat because of many reasons, all are manmade. Gaddai is one of the strongest breed/lines of a camel in the region. The British empire chose this breed of the camel to export to the Australia and used in terrain rugs of the country for heavy transport. The Australian camels are mainly composed of this breed.

Kakari Sheep Breed

Habitat: Kakari sheep is found in all Kakar belt. The main areas of the breed are Zhob, Loralai, Qillasaifulla, part of Pishin and Musakhail districts. The main tribe as indicated by the name is Kakar, also known as Thorghuazi. There are two main types of Kakari sheep, i.e. Thorghuazi and Bori. Bori is mainly found in Kakar Khurasan and Toba Kakari range, while Thorghuazi found in Zhob, Loralai and part of Musakhail districts.

Phenotypic characteristics: White body color, soft wool, Kooki & Zabarrghuzi (very small & droopy ear), all or partial of the face is black and head is usually black (figure 10.

Thorghuazi type is close to Bybrik, and can only differentiated on the basis of tribes, topography and production systems and wool (Kakari has soft long wool). The Bybrik has harder wool than Kakari.

Vegetation: The vegetation highly liked by the breed is much diversified, because of the diversity and vast area of the breed. Vegetation of the region is also different in different seasons i.e. spring and monsoon.  The vegetation very much like is composed of Surgulgi, Ozie, Saba, Barwaza, Murgha, Sargharri, Barawga, Chobrri, Saba, Murgha, Viza, Spanda, Tharkha, Sargarre, Ghozera and Barvaze etc.

Population: Population of the breed is about 3.2 million, one of the major breeds of the Pashtoon belt of Balochistan province. The trend is increasing again after the drought spell.

Special Traits:

v  The vide diversity within the breed is very important. Kakari are many types, i.e. mountainous & plain land, and smaller size (Abdullazai area) & larger size (Kibzai area)

  •  Hardy to dry years
  • Long  soft wool
  • Good in gaining weight and good for stall feeding

Option hope: Feed lot systems for fattening of lambs is the future hope for this breed

Economic importance: The breed is source of income in hard days and the breeders usually not intend to sell their sheep, especially females. The breed is usually use as subsistence type of production system; the milk is use as fresh, for tea and by-products like ghee, butter fats and Kurth like Kajalle. The meat is mainly use for Landi purpose, as the meat high local consumer preference, good marbling and taste. The wool is dense and is usually prefer for making local rugs.

Raigi Camel Breed

Raigi camel is predominantly found in the historic Khurasan region. The region had very rich history. Avesta, the holy book of Zoroaster, written in 2570 and 25230 BP, called Khurasan as Arya Warsha (mean the place for grazing). The word is still in use as Pashto (Warsh) word for the grazing land.

Production systems and socioeconomic importance

The Raigi camel is well adapted to the climatic extremes and is well appreciated for its significance in the pastoral economy. It is mainly raised under nomadic and transhumant types of production systems. Only male animals are kept for work by some sedentary people, but some sedentary people keep she-camel for milk. The transhumant or semi-nomadic people travel inside the Khurasan region either in Pakistan or Afghanistan, but some families travel up to Musakhail district of Balochistan province in winter.

The nomadic people travel south western along with the border on both sides and reach to the Raig (Raigistan) desert of triangle i.e. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. They stay in winter there and come back to Khurasan in summer. Those people mainly raise Khurasani goat and Jiggie sheep. In Khurasan, camel is being used mainly as baggage animal by the pastoral people, who travel with their families along with the Durand Line and may stay near Kandhar, Hirat, Farah, and Kurrum area of Chaghai district in Balochistan. The sedentary people mainly use Raigi camel for milk and local transportation.

In Khurasan region camel is used on religious rituals like Eid ul Azha and Sadaqa. The meat of camel is traditionally dried (Landi) and use during the winter. In recent years the importance of camel increased many folds due to various factors like drought, high male calf prices, demand in the neighboring countries, and awareness about the camel products.

Population size and trend

Their populations of the Raigi herders are estimated to number about 300-500 households, but the exact figures are hard to find because of the remoteness and instability of the area. The breed is cross boundary in nature and need to be study from the both sides. Normally the average herd size is small (13) but the range is too wide and ranges from 4-150 animals. The estimated population of the breed ranges from 4700 to 7000. The trend of the population is not appreciable and decreasing in number because of high slaughter rate and political instability in the region. The other main reason is the increasing desertification and scarcity of the feeding materials in the area.

Biometric parameters of Raigi breed

Body measurements Male Female Mean
Head Length 39.48 39.19 39.25
Head Width 20.14 19.75 19.87
Wither Height 165.67 163.93 164.34
Thoracic Girth 175.33 173.5 174.415
Abdominal Girth 210 237.3 223.65
Tail Length 49.10 47.21 47.67
Ear Length 11 10.99 10.99
Ear width 5.95 5.99 5.98
Neck Length 82.76 76.14 78.49
Body Length 139.33 139.27 139.3
Estimated Weight 337.58 384.90 439.995

Table Reproductive and productive Traits of Raigi camel







Average birth Weight

30 kg

33 kg


Average weaning Weight*

140 kg

160 kg


Ready for workload

3 yr

3 yr


Use for heavy duty

7 yr


Age of puberty

3.5 yr

3 yr


Average work life

20 yr


Average reproductive life

15 ye

21 yr

11 Conception rate out of herd 50-53%
12 Gestation  period 375-386 day
13 Calving rate out of herd 50-55%
14 Calving interval 2-3 yr
15 Average milk production 7 kg/day
16 Lactation length 10-12 month
17 Wool Production 3 kg

 Breeding goals

Thick and consistent milk production for longer duration is one of the major breeding goals. Wide chest and wide cannon bone, a criterion for good climbing ability in mountainous ecology is another breeding goal. Also, long travelling ability is the important breeding goal to enable it for nomadism.

 Special traits of the breed

v  Thick milk is special trait, one of the most thick milk in camel breeds

v  Drinking brackish water

v  Eating the bitter taste plant Artemisia

Phenotypic characteristics

The color of the Raigi camel is fawn in summer and brown in the winter season. The camel has long eye lashes. The Dark brown retina and the black nails are in the Raigi camel. The large barrel like body cavity of the Raigi camel indicates its dairy potential in the future.

Reproductive and productive performance

The breeding age for male and female is 3.5 years and 3 years respectively. One vigorous bull is satisfactory for breeding of 40 animals. Service period remains for 5 to 6 days and estrus cycle ranging from 1- 4 weeks. If conceived, she camel changes her behavior at 6th day of service and show a different behavior as erecting her tail when an animal or a person come near to her. Calving interval is normally 2-3 years, depending upon the availability of foliage and lactation length. Average reproductive life of a female is about 15 years. Weight of the calf at the birth is almost 30-33 kg, depending upon the sex, nutritional and health status of the dam. Weaning weight at (9 month) is about 140-160 kg. 

Marketing and future economic potential

The markets of the cities like Ghazni, Zabul, Kandahar and other cities of Afghanistan are the main markets for the meat of this breed. Some animals reach to the meat market of Zhob in Pakistan. The new trend of market is also increasing i.e. illegal export of camel to Iran for meat. There is high consumer demand for camel meat locally. The local people use camel meat for Landi in winter, and also slaughter animal on special occasions like Eid and sadaqa.

The milk of the camel is saltiest in general but this phenomenon is specific for Raigi, which entirely graize on haloxylon and artimisia. The surplus milk is used especially used for Shlombey and Kurth. The Raigi camel is famous in the region for its thick milk yields and can give top yields of 5-6 kg per day in ordinary grazing system. Camels are milked twice or thrice per day, usually at nighttime and in the early morning hours. Lactation lengths average one year and calving intervals approximate two years.