|Welcome to the website of the Armenian Gampr Club of America
In the USA:
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.
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
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.
|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.