Armenian Gampr dog

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Armenian Gampr
Armenian Gampr Dog
Other namesGampr, Armenian Wolfhound Gampr
Common nicknamesGampr
Breed statusNot recognized as a breed by any major kennel club.
Height Male 25–26 in (64–66 cm)
Female 23–24 in (58–61 cm)
Weight Male 126–135 lb (57–61 kg)
Female 100–130 lb (45–59 kg)
Coat Thick double coat - thick undercoat.
Color any color
Litter size 6-8 puppies
Life span 12–15 years
Dog (domestic dog)

Armenian Gampr (Armenian: գամփռ gamp’ṙ) is a landrace breed native to the Armenian Highlands. It sits within the Ovcharka group of livestock guardian dogs which can be found throughout the Transcaucasus area.[1]


The modern Gampr has changed little within the history of its existence in Armenian Highlands. It is one of few natural breeds 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 locally indigenous wolves (still present). Gamprs differ by their vital capacity, independence, mind, strong self-preservation instinct, capacity for trustworthy defense and protection of livestock, and exclusive friendliness to humans.[2]

This breed's head is large, well-outlined and well-developed but lacks prominent cheekbones. The back is wide, straight, muscular and strong. At the withers, the height in male dogs is 65 centimetres (26 in) or more, and in female dogs is 62 centimetres (24 in) or more. Weight corresponds to the total size of the dog, and usually varies from 45 to 60 kilograms (99 to 132 lb).

The Armenian Gampr has a well-developed undercoat, in order to protect it under harsh conditions. Depending upon the coat length, there are two types: long-haired, with long top hairs, and short-haired, with dense, relatively short hair. A brown or piebald coat is undesirable according to the breed standard.[citation needed]

Character and behavior[edit]

A young Gampr dog guarding a flock of sheep near the Armash fishponds.

Gampr dogs are not trained, instead performing the necessary functions naturally. The Armenian word "Gampr" means "watchdog", but the same breed may instead be called a "gelkheht" (from "gel" - "wolf" and "khekhtel" - "to choke") if it is predisposed to be used as a wolfhound; a bear-hunting dog is known as "archashoon" ("bear-dog"); an avalanche dog is named "potorkashoon", and a shepherd dog is named "hovvashoon". The Gamprs are very tied to people, especially those dogs that live in human houses, considering themselves a family or pack member.[3]

Kennel club recognition[edit]

The Armenian Gampr is not recognized by any of the major kennel clubs or other fancier organisations around the world.[4] The path to recognition by these larger organizations is begun by small breed clubs who later apply to the larger breed clubs for recognition.

in 2006, Rohana Mayer began the Armenian Gampr Club of America in order to begin the conservation of the breed. ( The AGCA has created a registry and pedigree database including health information, and evaluations for individuals within the breed to maintain consistency with historically correct type, and breed dogs of the highest quality. Rohana Mayer collected DNA samples, and paid for the genetic analysis of the breed with Embark Vet, the most thorough and in-depth dog DNA analysis group in the world.

As an offshoot of the Armenian Gampr Club of America, The Armenian Gampr Club of Canada began soon after.

In April 2011, a new organisation called the International Kennel Union (IKU), but acts in 17 countries, including Spain, Bulgaria, Greece, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and others,[5] officially recognized the Armenian Gampr as Armenia's national dog breed.[6][7]


Armenian Gampr Postage Stamp

In Armenia Gampr dogs are bred by "Gampr", Tiknapah", Aralez" and "Aspar" Clubs, as well as "Amasia" Kennel[8] that carry on the breeding to preserve the phenotype and working traits of Gampr dogs.

Only dogs without any inclusions of non-Gampr (i.e. 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.

The geographic and cultural coexistence of the Caucasian Ovcharka and the Central Asian Ovcharka, and its use as a standard, is itself seen as an issue threatening the continued existence of the Armenian Gampr dog landrace.[9][10] The Armenian Gampr Club of America states: "The gampr is not: An Alabai, a Caucasian Ovcharka, a Kangal Shepherd, an Anatolian Shepherd, an Akbash, a Karakatchan, a Central Asian Shepherd, a Koochee, a Tornjak, a Šarplaninac or Šarplaninec, or a cross of these."[2]


  1. ^ Dohner, Janet V. (2016). Farm Dogs: A Comprehensive Breed Guide to 93 Guardians, Herders, Terriers, and Other Canine Working Partners. Storey Publishing, LLC. pp. 64–67. ISBN 9781612125923.
  2. ^ a b "Description & Information". Armenian Gampr Club of America. Archived from the original on November 27, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  3. ^ "Armenian Gampr Club of America- Characteristics". Archived from the original on May 9, 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
  4. ^ "Armenian Gampr". List of Dog Breeds: The A to Z of Dog Breeds. Archived from the original on October 6, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
  5. ^ "Members of the International Kennel Union (IKU)". Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  6. ^ "Группы собак для проведения выставок IKU (Show groups of dogs)". Archived from the original on May 27, 2011. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  7. ^ "Признание Армянского Волкодава-ГАМПРА (Recognition of the Armenian wolfhound Gampr". Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved May 19, 2011.
  8. ^ "Dogs In Modern Armenia". Retrieved April 26, 2011.
  9. ^ Tatiana, Ivanova; Oliff, Douglas B. "Central Asia Shepherd Problems: preservation of indigenous breeds of dogs (Russian)". Retrieved April 26, 2011.
  10. ^ "A Brief History of the Armenian Gampr". Armenian Gampr Club of America. Archived from the original on May 9, 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2011.

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