Welcome to the website of the Armenian Gampr Club of America

Contact us:

In the USA:

Rohana Mayer
Armenian Gampr Club of America
...bred for thousands of years to Love and Protect
    Our goals include
  • introduction of the gampr to the USA in the healthiest manner,
  • establishing them on small farms across the continent
  • Providing rescue and placement services
  • helping to maintain the health and viability of the breed in its native context
  • Maintaining communication among owners, breeders, and enthusiasts
  • Providing information regarding care and management, socialization and training.
    What is an Armenian Gampr?
          The Armenian Gampr is the native aboriginal landrace livestock & family guardian dog of the
    region from the southern Caucasus mountains (Current Armenia, southern Georgia, and new
    Azerbaijan) and the Armenian Highland, which is now  known as Anatolia. The genetics of the
    gampr are diverse, which is an indication of a healthy gene pool and excellent adaptability.  The
    gampr has regional varieties, which over the millennia have been intermittently crossed with each
    other, maintaining a healthy genetic diversity. The semi nomadic nature of some shepherds, and
    changing boundaries of countries, have helped move the gampr genetics across regions from the
    north caucasus to the Taurus mountains.
          During the Soviet domination, many gamprs were taken from their homeland to the breeding
    kennels that eventually produced the modern Caucasian Ovcharka (CO). While perhaps 50% of the
    genetics of the modern CO is of gampr origin, the CO is no longer a gampr, but a separate
    standardized breed. The Central Asian Ovcharka (CAO) was standardized by the Soviet breeding
    program, and particular regional types blended. It also is not aboriginal, but more modern in origin.
          Goals of the Soviet breeders and most modern breeders were different than the original breeders
    of history, therefore selection for breeding different, and the results of those breedings have become
    different than the original landrace type.
          A landrace, by definition, is a localized breed developed for a purpose and chosen for function
    regardless of appearance. Over time and successive breedings, landraces tend to maintain a higher
    degree of genetic health, and generally consistent and predictable function.
          The gampr is not: An Alabai, a modern Caucasian Ovcharka, a modern Kangal, a Karakatchan,
    a Central Asian Shepherd, a Koochee, a Tornjak, a Sharplaninatz, or a cross of these. The history of
    the Anatolian, Akbash and Kangal are all of Armenian origin, but in the last 100 years modern
    breeding practices, such as line-breeding, outcrossing and standardization has occurred, creating
    some level of separation. Aboriginal dogs of Anatolia (western Armenia) may, with proper
    investigation, be accepted as gampr.
         A gampr is NOT a pure gampr if it has any alabai, CAO, CO etc in it's genetic history.
Gyle the gampr in snow
Armenian gampr with sheep
Gray hovashoon gampr puppy in Armenia
Hovashoon gampr, Armenia
    Why do we call it an Armenian Gampr, instead of Nagazi,
    Ovcharka, Gurdbasar, Kars etc ?
           The Armenian Gampr has existed in these areas, and has been a part of
    Armenian culture for the last 12,000+ years. No other culture in the area has
    existed for the duration of the time that the gampr has existed, no other culture
    has utilized and shaped the gampr as long and as consistently as the Armenian
           The modern maps show certain areas as now belonging to other countries,
    but the archeology and history of those areas were Armenian. This breed of dog
    did not happen overnight, nor in the last 1000 years. The gampr is an ancient
    landrace, and the only consistent human culture in the area that has existed with
    them for the duration of their development, are the Armenians.
           The Anatolian, Kars and Kangal are descended from currently isolated
    populations of dogs who were originally part of the gampr landrace. The native
    Nagazi, Gurdbasar, Kars and generally all those native to the south caucasus are
    still gampr.
           However, the 'modern aboriginal' which is now being registered with FCI as
    caucasian ovcharka, although short haired, are NOT gampr. These dogs are
    primarily descended from the Dagestani , Ossetian, and South Russian dogs,
    north of the transcaucasus. So there is confusion, but when origin is analyzed, and
    type compared, the 'modern aboriginal' is a different subgroup of the dogs
    originating in the Caucasus. They are nearly entirely of North Caucasus origin,
    they are primarily descended from Dagestani and Soviet-created specimens,
    rather than the native dogs of the Armenian regions, south of the trans-caucasus.
           The 'modern aboriginal' that is heavily promoted as a native aboriginal dog of
    the caucasus has a different coat, and is selected more for bite work than livestock
    guarding ability. They are attractive, and look like a very stylish version of the
    native gampr. But they are heavier, they have not stood the test of thousands of
    years of selection, and their breeding is based on a different source of genetics.
           Yes, a percentage of the landrace gampr genetics do come from Dagestan-type
    dogs; it is the nature of a landrace to have porous borders. But the percentage is
    low, in regard to the historical exchange of dogs in primitive travels. Now with
    modern breeding and traveling methods, the Dagestani-type 'modern aboriginal'
    is becoming more prevalent, especially in Georgia.
           It is the gampr that is native to the lesser Causacus, south of the transcaucasus.
    Not the 'modern aboriginal' which is a short-coated version of the USSR-created
    Caucasian Ovcharka. There are differences, some of them not visible.
           In order to preserve the native dog of Armenia, we need to be watchful of
    inclusion of dogs of the 'modern aboriginal' Caucasian Ovcharka and also of the
    Central Asian Ovcharka. The gampr is not a Russian breed, and Ovcharka is
    Russian. The gampr is a gampr. It was created within the Armenian people's
    influence, not Dagestani or Russian.
Map of historical Armenian territory
Gampr, male, in New York
Historical Armenia
The orange highlighted area above
indicates the genetic and historical
homeland of the gampr. In the last century,
the edges of this area have been annexed
by other countries, shrinking the boundaries
of current Armenia.