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Armenian Gampr
Other names Gampr
Nicknames Gampr
Country of origin Armenia
Weight Male 126-135 pounds (50-60kg)
Female 100-130 pounds (45-55kg)
Height Male 25-26 inches (62-65cm)
Female 23-24 inches (60-62cm)
Coat Thick double coat - thick undercoat.
Color any color
Litter size 6-8 puppies
Life span 12–15 years

Armenian Gampr (Armenian: գամփռ) is a dog breed that originated at Armenian Highlands, including the territories of modern Eastern Anatolia of Turkey and the Republic of Armenia, and bred by local people by primitive selection.



The dogs of this type were spread all over the Armenian Highlands, starting from prehistoric times that is proved by thousands of petroglyphs found in various regions of the territory. Thus, on studying the petroglyphs found in the territories, surrounding modern city of Kars, the age of which is dated 13,000 years back, Professor Oktay Belli. Stambul University, determined that in the vicinities of Kars the hunting with several domestic dogs existed in Neolithic period[1]. No one knows for sure the exact time when the gampr was domesticated, early sources are quite unclear on this account, often bickering among themselves to prove an academic point. While there is a huge diversity among the endemic species dating back tens of thousand of years, the prototype of the modern gampr was formed 3000 years ago. Petroglyphs found in the Armenian Plateau, beginning ca. 15,000-12,000 BC, show a large number and variety of dog types, providing a record of development. Of the hundreds of petroglyphs found at Ughtasar and on the Geghama mountain range, up to 20% of the carvings resemble the modern gampr, while others show a remarkable diversity of dog that no longer exists. A monograph by S. Dal, "Sevan plateau's transcaucasian shepherd dog, 1st millenium BC" described the results of an excavation conducted in 1954 by Lake Sevan. In the excavation site dating approx. 800 - 1000 BC, they found a well preserved dog skeleton in one of the tombs. By comparing the skull with the head of a modern gampr and other canines, Dal concluded that it was a then typical representative of the breed, although there are some marked differences from the modern type, like longer head-face, narrower head box and stronger teeth. Dal concluded that although the selection and breeding process of the last 3000 years affected the dogs general appearance and size, the gampr was already established and formed as a breed in the 1st millennium BC. As a result of these finds it is now believed that natural selection and breeding over the millennia 'built' the modern gampr, a breed that shows traits of the older dog types represented in the carvings while maintaining its own unique physiology. And despite the conjectures of outside nations that the dog originated outside of the Armenian Plateau, and was somehow introduced by countries as far flung as Tibet, there is an endemic species of dog on the Armenian Plateau that is recorded as early as 12,000 BC[2].

The problem of the preservation and breeding local breeds of dogs exists in many regions of the world[2] [3], including Armenia.[4]


The modern Gamprs have little changed within the history of their existence in Armenian Highlands. Gamprs are one of few natural breeds that were not subjected to hard selection by phenotype. They preserved the genetic variation that other dog breeds had initially. This genetic variation was promoted by spontaneous and, in some cases, intentional periodic matings with local wide wolves that happen even at present. Gamprs differ by their vital capacity, independence, mind, strong self-preservation instinct, ability of the trustworthy defence and protection of livestock, and exclusive friendliness to humans.[5]


Large, well outlined, well-developed, but without prominent cheekbones, without the signs of dryness, impressive. Skull part is wide, with gentle passage from the forehead to muzzle. Gampr has characteristic mighty jaws. Generally 60 % of the total length of the head belong to the skull, and other 40 % to the muzzle. Forehead is straight and almost parallel to bridge of the nose. Cheeks are full, dry, and neat. Ears are a little lower than eye level. Eye color is more dark than coat color. Eyes are relatively small, almond-shaped, deep set, a little slanting, with clever, imperious, and serious look. The serious and stern look is shown even in puppies at several weeks of age. Teeth are white, strong, well-developed, positioned close to one another in the mouth. Teeth centers are located at one line. Scissor-type bite. Neck is mighty, muscular, with medium incline and medium length.


Body is of extended form, index 108-110 %. Extension is formed at the expense of chest, but not waist. Breast is wide and deep, with a little rounded chest. Lower breast line shall be lower than elbow joint. Stomach continues breast line, a little tuck in. Top of shoulders is a little noticeable at the back. Back is wide, straight, mascular and strong. Waist is short and mascular. Croup is extended, wide and straight.


Height in withers in male dogs is 65 cm or more, and female dogs is 62 cm or more. Weight shall correspond to the total size of the dog, and usually varies from 45–50 kg to 60 kg.


High set, in calm mode it is lowered. When walking and in irritated state it is raised above the back and igets a sickle-shaped or ring-shaped form.

Front Legs

Fron legs, when front watched are straight, parallel to one another. Elbows and humerus bones are long, make an angle of shoulder-scapular joint of 108-110 degrees. Forearms are stright, massive, parallel set. Wrists are long, massive, parallel set. When looking from side, the wrists are set aslant.

Back Legs

When watched from backside, the legs are straight and parallel to one another, when watched from aside - a little straightened in knee and ankle joints. Thigh and legs are long, ankle joints are well expressed. Metatarsus are massive, equal to the thigh length. Heel bones are well-expressed. Forehell part of the leg is long and strong.


Round, firm, hard, gathered, with soft pads.


Usually short at the muzzle, ears and front legs. Double coat and undercoat shall be well-developed to protect the dog under any climatic conditions. Depending upon the coat length two types of coat are differed: long-haired - with long top hairs, and short-haired - with dense, relatively short hair.

Coat Color

Brown color and piebald pattern are not desired.


Fast, free and well-balanced. Front and back legs move parallel.


The substantial difference from the sizes, fixed in the standard. Light-colored eyes and nose. Too prolonged, short or narrow muzzle. Yellow teeth. Round, squint, protruding eyes. Shortness in body type. Slack or humped back, paunchy belly, long waist, short croup. Non-scissor-type bite.


Expressed cowardlyness or virulence. Lack of double coat and undercoat. Cryptorchidism. Blindness and deafness.

Character and Behavior

Gampr means "mighty, strong, large". These dogs shall not be trained, they perform the very function that is necessary in the particular situation. Gampr is a multyfunctional dog. It is no mere chance that Gampr dogs are known in Armenia under different names according to their function. A wolfhound is named "gelkheht" (from "gel" - "wolf" and "hhehtel" - "to smother"), a bear hunting dog is known as "archashoon" - "bear-dog", a rescue dog to rescue people covered by avalanche is named "potorkashoon", a shepherd dog is named "chobanishoon" - "shepard's dog", and Gampr - watchdog.

One of the main traits of Gampr dog is its ability to adopt indepedently a proper decision. If the Gampr dog will see that you need its help, it will protect you. If the Gampr will understand that you do not need its assistance, it will not protect you. The Gamprs are very tied to people, especially those dogs that live in human houses, because they feel themselves a family member.



In Armenia Gampr dogs are bred by "Gampr", Tiknapah", Aralez" and "Aspar" Clubs, as well as "Amasia" Kennel [6] that carry on the breeding to preserve the phenotype and working traits of Gampr dogs.

Only dogs without any inclusions of non-gampr(ie. CAO, Alabai, Kochee etc.) bloodlines shall be bred as gampr, in order to keep the breed pure. There are two strains of gampr, the palace guardian type and the livestock type. The livestock type tends to be smaller, tireless, and slightly more volatile. The palace guardians are generally taller, more square-built, and fairly congenial but still very protective. They have a tendency to be more sedentary, and to stay in one location. During the invasions of Armenia over the last several hundred years, the palace guardian type dogs have been dispersed, with a few remaining in remote villages, but many were taken out of the country and used in the development of the breeds elsewhere, such as the CAO, and in the Red Star Kennel in the USSR.

Gampr is supposed to be unique by its genotype, because of belonging to the haplogroup of dogs of other parts of the Armenian Highlands that cluster only with the dogs of Spain and Scandinavia[4][7]

External links

  • A Brief History of the Armenian Gampr[8]
  • Wolfhounds of the World (in Russian - Волкодавы народов мира)[9]


  2. ^ The preservation of natural and local breeds of domestic animals, including dogs, is realized by world community, as one of the most urgent directions in the preservation of cultural and natural heritage of our planet. Since 1974 two structures in UNO are occupied with the natural breeds: UNEP and FAO. See White Asians of Baikal territory (Белые азиаты Прибайкалья)
  3. ^ В отличие от большинства пород домашних собак, которые неосознанно посвящают себя человеку, гампры прежде должны поразмышлять об этом. Владельцу необходимо содать такие взоимоотношения с собакой, чтобы она осознала это. Если владелец будет игнорировать гампра, то тот, в свою очередь, будет игнорировать владельца. Взаимоотношения с гампром скорее напоминают дружбу: она должна поддерживаться, оберегаться, иначе гампр положит ей конец, найдя себе новых друзей. У гампров есть тенденция прежде чем признать главу семьи проявлять привязанность к младшим членам семьи, детям и женщинам. Такое же отношение гампры проявляют в отношении к подопечным домашним животным: сначала они проявляют заботу о козлятах и ягнятах и только потом со взрослыми животными стада. Но если собака решит, что она является важной частью семьи или стада, то она останется и будет защищать. Если гампр живет в человеческой семье или выполняет сторожевые функции, собака должна быть включена в рабочие взаимоотношения и выполнять служебные функции.[1]
  4. ^ Because haplotypes of clades D, E, and F were found only regionally in Turkey, Spain, and Scandinavia; Japan and Korea; and Japan and Siberia, respectively (table S1), we concentrated our analyses on the major clades A, B, and C. See: Genetic Evidence for an East Asian Origin of Domestic Dogs, Peter Savolainen et al.


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