This history of the Armenian Gampr goes back to before the Common Era. The Gampr breed of dog is said to have been particularly liked by Tigran the Great, who was emperor of Armenia overseeing the growth of Armenia, for a short period, as the strongest state in the Roman Republic.
The Armenian Gampr dog is a very large breed of livestock guardian dog and is native to the Armenian Highlands, as well as what is today the Eastern Anatolia. The Gampr breed came to be along with the advent of agriculture. The Gampr was exclusively an Armenian breed until Armenia went under Soviet rule, at which time the Gampr was interbred with other dogs to produce the Caucasian Ovcharka. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Armenian lovers of the breed worked with the existing gene pool to help the dog breed survive into the twenty first century. During this process, the breed was given the official name of Gampr which had been the ethnic Armenian name that had been used for more than two thousand years. Through the efforts of many people the Gampr breed is starting to gain recognition around the World, and even though it is not yet recognized by many clubs, it is on its way to greater prominence in the dog world.
The Armenian Gampr is a large with a powerful frame and a very large head. They are not the tallest of breeds, but generally can be expected to grow to measure from 25-35 inches from the ground to the withers. Since they have a stocky build their weight ranges between 90 and 180 pounds, with the males being generally heavier than the females.
The Armenian Gampr has a rough outer coat which is cushioned with a softer undercoat. The rough outer coat helps protect the Gampr against the cold weather of the Armenian Highlands, as well as attacks by predators (since they are used as herding and guard dogs). There is great variety in the color of the coat, generally to help it blend in with its native environment.
The Armenian Gampr has a very large and full head with a short muzzle. Their ears, which are generally cropped to prevent injury in confrontations with predators such as wolves, are set high on the head, only slightly above eye level. The eyes are generally small and almond shaped, and are usually dark in color. The cheeks of the Gampr are not prominent. The Gampr has closely set teeth with a scissors bite (where the upper incisors overlap the lower ones).
The Armenian Gampr is a hefty dog with a muscular neck and body, with a broad and well-muscled back. They have a deep broad chest. Their tails are high set, which is carried low when in a relaxed environment-when excited, the tail is carried high and in a curve.
Scientific evidence supports the contention that the Gamrp breed, as it is today, has existed for at least 3,000 years, retaining an intriguing number of its original breed characteristics. The Gampr was part of the day-to-day lives of ancient peoples living on the Armenian Highlands, the Caucuses and surrounding areas. References to the Gampr exist in a variety of ancient cultural materials and include pictographs, historical legends and other minor but reliable sources. Through millennia, the Gampr breed has seen changes due to the movement of the people that sustained the breed through time. This has resulted in the Gampr breed to be used to breed other varieties of dogs with very similar bus subdued characteristics of the original Gampr dog.
Over its history, the Gampr has been developed into to strains, the palace guardian, and the livestock type. The livestock types is generally smaller, highly energetic, and somewhat more temperamental than the palace guardian strain, which is taller, with a more square built, and is very friendly and protective. The palace guardian Gampr tends to also be more sedentary than its cousin, and prefers to rest in one location for extended periods.
Despite the Gampr’s storied history, the last hundred years have not been kind to the breed and its bloodline as the political turmoil in Armenia and surrounding regions, first by the Armenian Genocide, followed by Soviet rule, have decimated the ancient bloodline of the breed; however, in the last few decades, there has been renewed efforts within Armenia as well as abroad, to help revive this ancient breed to its former glory. As a result the Armenian Gampr was introduced to the United States in the 1990s.
The Armenian Gampr is a loyal guard and herding dog, and offers unexpected gentleness coupled with courage and physical dominance.
Like most dogs, the Gampr has a strong need to be part of a family (pack); however, they are reserved in showing affection, and need a high level of involvement and interaction from their family in order to bond. The Gampr’s level of affection and behavior is very much based on how it is treated by the owner and family, and will respond mostly in the way which it is treated.
The Armenian Gampr is comfortable around other animals, especially if they are raised alongside them, especially with animals that it is charged with guarding. They are gentle and kind companions for children. They are generally calm, and not inclined to be aggressive unless the situation makes it a necessity. The Gampr prefers to be inconspicuous and keeps a calm existence unless the situation calls for otherwise.
The Armenian Gampr is instinctually dominant, so it needs to be socialized from early on with its owners and other humans and other household pets. The Gampr will only accept strong leadership, but demands respect, otherwise, it may develop an undesirable personality which would be very difficult to correct.
The Armenian Gampr needs large open spaces for exercise. Though they are generally a sedentary breed, they do require enough room for daily exercise to keep them healthy and happy. The Gampr thrives in an environment where it can be busy and useful in some fashion.
The Armenian Gampr has no major genetic health issues, though some new gene pools are producing dogs with hip joint problems. Other health issues are rare and not characteristic of the breed.
The Gampr, when not working as a herding guard dog, should be exercised on a daily basis in the form of long walks. This will keep the dog healthy and expend its considerable energy.
The Armenian Gampr has a rough (usually long) coat, and sheds once or twice per year. Ideally a shedding rake should be used for grooming. Bathing can also help with the shedding; however, the bathing should only be done as needed as to not strip the coat (and skin) of its natural oils. When on a natural and raw diet, the Gampr produces almost no body odor.