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Introduction | Age: Determined by Dentition | Sex and Pregnancy Status | Weight | Body Conformation and Breed | Body Condition - Hump (Fat) Score | Colour


There was considerable genetic diversity in the camels imported into Australia. In broad terms there were three general types.

The light framed riding camels
The tall heavy framed draught camels
The stocky thick set draft camels

Although all camels have intermingled freely for the past 80 - 100 years, camels should be categorized into one of the above types for an accurate description. The camels that suit the abattoir trade are generally the load carrying types, while specialised riding camels (racing) generally are the light framed type.

Classifications of the breed Camelus Dromedarius affect the conformation to a large extent. There are many classifications of the dromedary camel throughout the regions of its traditional global habitat. These are far too numerous to list here, but suffice to say that the majority of camels imported into Australia came from the regions of the Great Indian Desert in northern India and the Thar Desert in Pakistan. These were the heavy draft camel.

There is evidence that some camels were imported from Sudan as riding camels. These Sudani camels have a finer confirmation and are considered to be the equivalent of the thoroughbred horse breed. They are much sought after by the camel racing fraternity in the Arab Gulf countries.

Whilst selective breeding may have taken place by individual camel owners in these traditional areas of the world, it would be fair to say that the only recognised camel stud with large numbers, was established by Sir Thomas Elder of Beltana in South Australia. However, over many years of natural breeding in the arid areas of Australia, the camel has evolved to produce a typical Australian camel. This is still basically a heavy draft type of camel and is unique only in that it is derived from the only remaining wild herds in the world.

There were also a few two-humped camels (Camelus Bactrianus) imported into Australia. When cross bred with the dromedary camel the resulting progeny have a unique conformation. Typically they are shorter in stature, stocky and heavily muscled with one long hump giving the appearance of an elongated body. Another distinguishing feature is the extensive coat distribution of wool. This crossbreed does occur but is not common in the Australian feral herd.