A couple words on the Kuhaylan Khallawi strain

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on September 10th, 2010 in Egypt, Syria

Kuhaylan Khallawi (often misspelt Halawi) is a strain of Arabian horses little-known in the West.  It is mentioned in Lady Anne Blunt’s list of strains derived from the Kuhaylan family, and in Carl Raswan’s list. The only other place it is mentioned is in Roger Upton’s writings, where his desert-bred import Yataghan (sire of the Ma’naqiyah mare *Naomi, which still has an asil tail female in the USA) was recorded as having been sired by a well-regarded Kuhaylan Khallawi stallion belonging to the Shammar. That’s it.

In Egypt, the 1943 mare Futna, bred by the Tahawi Arabs, and bought by Ahmad Hamza as a broodmare for his Hamdan Stables, was from that same strain. Her dam is recorded as a Kuhaylah “Halawiyah”, just another way to write Khalawiyah, depending on how you choose to pronounce the Arabic letter [?]. Futna still has a thin tail female alive in the USA and Egypt, so the Kuhaylan Khallawi strain still goes on.

According to their family website, wihch has a very rich section on horses, the Tahawi clan leaders brought all their horses from the area of Hims and Hama in Central Western Syria in the period extending between the 1880s and 1930s.  They seem to have preserved dozens of photos of the Syrian desert-breds they imported to Egypt, as well as pedigrees and hujaj (Arabic authentication documents).

In Lebanon and Syria, the Kuhaylan Khallawi strain is well known. The desert area around the city of Hama in Syria is actually the cradle of the strain. This is the precise area where the Tahawi leaders went to buy most of their horses, and the area immediately north of it is where a fraction the Hanadi, the tribe from which the Tahawi clan originates, settled and was given agricultural land, to reward it participated in the Syrian military campaign of Egyptian Viceroy Mohammad Ali the Great. The Egyptian Tahawi maintained close social and family ties with their Syria relatives, and used them in their horse purchasing ventures as agents or intermediaries of some sort. While no positive evidence has yet surfaced within the asil Arabian horse community as to how the original Kuhaylah Khallawiyah ancestor of Futna came to be owned by the Tahawi clan, there is a great likelihood that this was how things happened.

Historically, the Kuhaylan Khallawi strain was owned by the Bedouin tribe of al-Mawali, a wealthy and partly sedentarized sheep herding tribe that nomadized east of the city of Hama. The leaders of the Mawali, Aal Abu Rishah, who bore the title of Prince (‘al-Amir’) were recognized by their peers, as among the bluest-blooded of all Arab shaykhs, so blue-blooded indeed, that no price for their blood could be asked for in case one of them was killed by enemies.

The Aal Abu Rishah owned a famous, extremely covted branch of the strain known as Khallawiyat al-Niswan, “the Khallawis of the Women”. Not sure why they were called by this name, though. Radwan Shabareq of Aleppo once told me that the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II (or at least I recall it was him), when on his way from Istanbul to perform his religious pilgrimage to Mecca, was greeted by the Prince of the Mawalis near Hama, who offered him one of these Kuhaylah Khallawiyah mares as a present.

Sometime in the XIXth century, a branch of the leading clan of the Mawali, known as al-‘Aabid, settled in Damascus, and became one of the cities’ leading aristocratic families. In the XXth century, this family gave Syria its first ever president, Mohammad Ali al-‘Aabid. The family owned a famous marbat of Kuhaylan Khallawi, known by its name as Khallawiyat al-‘Aabid. The last asil mare of that prestigious, regal marbat of Kuhaylan Khallawi, a sick, elderly 1974 bay mare of beautiful conformation died of bronchitis in my ownership in the mid 1990s. Her name was Al-Khillawieh (LSB #4).

A second branch of the Kuhaylan Khallawi strain survives in Syria today. It is owned by Juzif al-Salim, a Bedouin of the Tay tribe, but originally traces to the Fad’aan ‘Anazah Bedouins. The latter may have obtained it from the Mawali, in which case it would be the same branch as that descrived above. The mare below, owned by Mustafa al-Jabri in the 1980s and the 1990s, and later sold to Kuwait, was from that second family of Kuhaylan al-Khallawi, from the Tay Bedouins. I took that photo in the mid 1990s at Mustafa’s.

14 Responses to “A couple words on the Kuhaylan Khallawi strain”

  1. A wonderfully informative history Edouard. IIRC you did however say that the Tahawi are no longer breeding Asil horses no?
    Just for clarity, what about a survey of where there are still Asil breeders left in greater Arabia. Would it be possible to find them, or determine their location?
    Best Wishes
    Bruce Peek

  2. Hallo Eduard,
    the name Kalawieh was given to a son of Kaisoon by Nazeer out of a Polish mare in the 1960s or 1970s in Germany. Also it appears in a story related by Count Rzewsuki about a famous mare in the Syrian desert in 1817/19 when Rzewuski travelled in that area. He reports that Challaiweh, a Hamdani Giasil was taken by a trick by an agent of Saleh Pasha, wali of Damascus. She had the reputation of being the fastest mare and his owner from the tribe of the Ahseneh gave the thieve the secret of her speed in order that she was not overtaken by the chasing beduins and kept her record as unbeaten even so that he lost her to the Pasha. Eduard can You give me the meaning of Kallawieh?
    Does this story have any connection with this strain Koheilan Kallawieh. The Mawalis, as reported by Opperman were the rulers of the Syrian desert in the 18th century and were defeated by the Anazehs when they came north with the uprising of the Wahabbees in Nedschd. By the way Rzewuski uses a special expression for the asil horses: Nejdi Kocheilan el bedawieh. In his list of starins in his manuscript we don´t find the strain Koheilan Kallawieh, but aslo many strains with only one name and some with both like Saklawi Djedran.

  3. Hi Eduard, I believe I met you at the Tallaria open house at the last Pyramid Society Breeders Conference. Our mare, who is of the Kuhaylan Khallawi strain, thankfully had a filly this year. Hope all is well with you.

  4. Melinda these are very good news, and hopefully more news will surface about this Tahawi strain very soon.

  5. Hello Edouard,

    Here at KZ Arabians we own a superb mare her name is Rowayah (2000),grey(bred by PhyllisLane/USA).
    Sired by MFA Mareekh Amir x BFA Shamraq, I was just informed by Joe Ferriss that Rowayah is a descendant of Tahawi breeding, Kuhaylan Hallawi or Khallawi (through Bint Futna II).
    Rowayah was 2005 Israeli Reserve National Champion Mare, has produced 7 foals so far , 3 Fillies – 1 of them sadly died last year.
    The two remaining are both sired by Tabari (Ansata Sinanx Talia Halima);
    Rowayah is now 12 years old and still has a bright future ahead of her.
    Her daughter KZ Tahera has had a beautiful 2011 filly by Sawfan Al Nasser (Ashhal Al Rayyan x Amira Al Nasser).
    Rowayah’s son KZ Saraab by Sahji Al Naif(Jandeh Al Naif x Ansata Mariam) is standing in Germany at Classic Touch Arabians. He won the Silver Ribbon at the German Stallion Test.
    Just wanted to let everyone know that this line is still here today.

  6. i saw a picture on allbreedpedigree.. she is really beautiful, and also close enough to futna..

  7. In my constant research of this female line I found a mare Tahawi Desert Rose ( Marty Haziim x Tahawiyah) also a descendant of Futna ;
    Tahawiyah ( Amas Nimrs Waris x Fahda)

    Tahawi Desert Rose is offered for Sale at Lyday Farm/USA
    one can find her on their website;

  8. EB Shamara (3.2% Folla) and EB Halim (1.6% Kuheilan Khelawi /Futna) are in Maine, USA. They are yearling’s. No Minstril. Their father is a gorgeous 3/4 Ansata Bred Stallion REA Asmar Halim. Their Dams (which is where they get their Tahawi blood are being bred to EB Dhark Tammen this summer. Also no Minstril. While these two yearling’s I have only bring a little Tahawi, with the right partners the line can be preserved one at time!

  9. Thanks for sharing. Good to know. There is nothing wrong with the Ministril anyway.

  10. She likely means that as a reference for genetic diversity. ‘The Minstril’ is quite pervasive in the pedigrees of the main body of the straight Egyptian. He was a bit of a fad for a while. Many breeders are looking for outcrosses to him. He was a beautiful horse!

  11. Thank You Catherine, that is what I was leading to. Some audiences want to know that right up front which horses are or are not in the pedigree. Ironically I’ve learned many are equally against Ansata bred horses so I don’t reference anymore. (probably why so many post pedigrees when we talk about our horses). But I’m actually re-reading this article because I’m trying to learn more/understand the strains of my Tahawi horses and how my Futna colt may cross on the Folla and Bint Barakat Tahawi sister strains I have. so I was referred back to this article. Ive recorded the names and most locations of these Kuhaylan Khallawi horses through Futna. Less than 50 left in North America, but many are in the hands of breeders who have been notified of their significance. Alkhamsa should be updating them to the Code Red list. This years Convention put a highlight on the Tahawi horse and hopefully it will increase the interest in their preservation.

  12. Hi Lisa. Sounds like you have an excellent breeding project in mind. All of these lines are important, the Straight Egyptian breeders have too often put the emphasis on a handful of top show horses. Rarer lines have so often been overlooked. In effect, they’ve bred themselves into a corner, no real outcrosses in the Egyptian herd.

  13. Hello Everybody,
    I wanted to update the number of horses of the Futna Line;

    KZ Troyah (Tabari x Rowayah) by MFA Mareekh Amir, had 2 fillies so far
    Al Royah GB ( by Sawfan Al Nasser) – 2013;
    and a 2015 filly by Kais Albaydaa;

    KZ Tahera was sold to Italy has had a colt (by Sawfan Al Nasser) as well as my filly KZ Salma (by Sawfan Al Nasser);

    5 mares (including Rowayah) of the Kuhaylan Khallawi strain of Futna in Israel;

  14. Lisa Craig thank you so much for posting pics on horsebreeds of your horses. I just bought Rea Asmar halim the sire of your stallion and mare. I really wanted to see his offspring the rest that breed with him I can’t find any pics for them if you can help me out I’m trying to build a book of his history and his ancestral line. If you are able to send some pics or clips to my email at Sayer_86@hotmail.com that would be amazing. Thank you

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