Armen Khechoyan's flock resting during a five day trek from the village to the mountains to graze
CODE OF ETHICS
The following Code of Ethics is attached to and made a part of the AGCA Bylaws. All AGCA Members are representatives of the Club and the Breed. All Members are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that brings respect to the Club and the Breed by displaying civility, honesty, and responsibility for their dogs and themselves at all times. All AGCA Members must protect the Armenian Gampr and its future by raising Breed awareness, welcoming new owners or interested persons, and facilitating their education about the Breed and the Club. As part of any request to join the Armenian Gampr Club of America or participate in Club Programs, Members acknowledge the responsibilities and pledge to follow the AGCA Code of Ethics. If a Member cannot, or is no longer willing to, abide by this document, the Member may submit written resignation to the Club. Any willful violation of this Code of Ethics can result in Member suspension or expulsion.
Section 1: All Members
All AGCA members shall:
Abide by these AGCA Code of Ethics and AGCA Show Guidelines, when applicable.
Register all Armenian Gampr dogs with AGCA and understand that this information is crucial for analyzing Breed data and adjusting the Breed Conservation Program.
Encourage other Gampr owners and enthusiasts to join the AGCA as members so that everyone receives proper owner support, breed education, and the chance to participate in this community effort.
Recommend and support participation in the Registration and Litter Database, maintained by AGCA for all Armenian Gampr dogs and puppies.
Not knowingly falsify any papers or documents, such as health records, registration or pedigree information, show records, or other documents about the dogs or the Club.
Encourage and maintain the best accepted, reasonable, and responsible standards of canine health, hygiene, feeding, care, and training.
Be mentors for the Breed by willingly sharing correct knowledge about Armenian Gamprs. Novices are encouraged to seek out more experienced Breeder/Owners for advice and assistance.
Not sell, give, trade, or surrender any Gampr to a commercial facility, lab, pet shop, or animal shelter.
Not misrepresent owned dogs to anyone by temperament, working ability, or soundness.
Not use dogs for any illegal activity, including supporting or purchasing from any known overseas seller/breeder that participates in dog fighting or breeds dogs for fighting.
Not spread false information as it pertains to the Breed or try to discredit Owners, Breeders, Exhibitors, or AGCA members. All parties agree to handle any issue that may arise civilly. An AGCA Club Officer may mediate between parties if requested.
Section 2: Breeders
All AGCA Member Breeders that breed their dogs, whether being the bitch or stud owner, shall also:
12. Follow all rules of any AGCA Programs that they are involved in.
13. Not have any role in breeding, buying, or selling dogs that do not conform to the Breed Description, are from objectionable lineages, are from known Breeders who participate in dog fighting or breed dogs intended for fighting. If there are any questions concerning current Breeders, puppy buyers acknowledge they will check the AGCA Approved Breeder website page for a list of safe Breeders and import options.
14. Develop breeding programs for the love and betterment of the Breed, and any breeding shall be carefully selective toward this goal and not for the sole benefit of financial gain.
15. Conduct all business dealings related to the breeding or the placement of puppies/dogs with honesty, completeness, and clarity, and advertise honestly in a manner that is in no way misleading or fraudulent.
16. Place the health of the gene pool and conservation efforts as paramount using the goals of the AGCA Mission Statement and this Code of Ethics as guidance on how to construct a sound breeding program.
17. Embark DNA test all owned Gamprs before one year of age if acquired after January 1, 2021. Gamprs acquired before this date should be Embark DNA tested before breeding. Submit links for GM2, DM, COI%, and BREED results to AGCA to be kept on file
18. Comply with all AGCA investigations concerning owned Gamprs or breedings, puppy Owner complaints, failed Embark DNA test results, or other evaluations by supplying additional documentation to AGCA or further testing, as requested.
19. Understand that if an Embark DNA result is not 100% Gampr, the Owner will not breed, or sell intact, any dog (or puppy thereof) in question until the issue is resolved with the Board. The BOD will work with the Owner and Breeder to help investigate the matter regarding lineage by considering other evaluation test results and working with Embark, with the Owner release, to make a determination. AGCA may request an additional Embark DNA test or other evaluations on the dog in question or relatives. For any new Embark DNA tests that may be performed, the Owner will record a live sampling of the dog, beginning with an unopened DNA kit, and will include the complete sampling of the dog in question. If all the compiled results are conclusive that the dog in question is appropriate for the Breed, AGCA will request that Embark change the DNA result by offering all documentation for proof of Breed. If a decision for the dog’s inclusion cannot be reached due to failure to comply by the Breeder, lack of further testing, or inconclusive results, the BOD will vote based on all known facts on whether the dog fits within the Breed guidelines. If the dog in question is determined not to be 100% Gampr by further testing, the Owner agrees not to use the dog in any Breeding Program and secure the dog otherwise to ensure he is not bred. Owner / Breeder also agrees that any dogs (or their offspring) who were grandfathered in and had prior litters are still bound by the terms of this Code of Ethics, and the Breeder must contact owners of all previous offspring to alert them of the mixed-breed findings.
20. Understand that in cases of a failed Working or Physical evaluation due to no behavioral fault of the dog on the day of Evaluation, the Breeder may appeal the decision to the BOD and request a one-time, second evaluation with a BOD observer present, at no charge. During any evaluation where the dog under-performed, the evaluation can be repeated at the Owner's expense.
21. Not intentionally breed a dog under twenty (20) months old.
22. Agree to perform the basic breed-relevant evaluations at a minimum and are encouraged to join the Approved Breeder Program, following guidelines of becoming a Conservation Breeder or Breeder of Merit. Gamprs who have not completed required evaluations will not be listed on the website, nor will any puppies produced be promoted.
23. Strive to keep the Armenian Gampr lines pure of all other breeds by never intentionally out-crossing Gamprs to other species or any unapproved dogs from unknown lineages. Dogs with questionable families should never be bred.
24. Educate themselves on the AGCA Breed Description of the Armenian Gampr, the difference between Gamprs and other related and similar breeds, and only breed Gamprs that conform to the ideal dogs, which should positively represent the breed. Members shall always breed as close to the AGCA Breed Description as possible and not breed dogs with serious faults, including temperament flaws, which would be detrimental to the health and welfare of the Breed. Members shall also educate on how to identify fighting lines or mixes and agree to do due diligence before buying a new puppy and unknowingly supporting a dog fighting breeder or breeding to a fighting mix dog.
25. Try to pair any potential mates concerning the overall gene pool health, considering crucially needed genetic diversity, with the general idea of pairing opposites. The ideal Armenian Gampr breeding program implements the AGCA General Rule of Three: breed appropriate dogs only three times in the dog’s lifetime to 3 different mates. When possible, the three three mates should be unrelated to one another and the geographical types and other considerations below are different. At times, this is impossible, or other plans are acceptable, with careful discretion and help from a Board Member. Pairings should be balanced based on several aspects: Lineage, size, coat length & tail, and geographical origins, with consideration of other information (temperaments, faults, assets, and health):
Lineage: A dog’s genetic value decreases as their relatives become more numerous. Consider how many relatives are in the gene pool when choosing a mate. Choosing to pair with a dog who has few existing relatives is optimal. Any lineage that is repeatedly bred can ultimately cause long-term damage to the gene pool.
Size: Gamprs are a landrace breed with various sizes and should remain as such. Breeding choices should be made to not overpopulate the gene pool with a specific size but rather be inclusive of all sizes by pairing opposites. This type of pairing will produce a wide variety and well-balanced structure.
Coat Length & Tail: Dogs with very short, slick coats should not be paired, nor should two dogs with tightly wound tails. Pairing two dogs with a difference in the coat is ideal when possible.
Geographical Origins: Due to the nomadic nature of shepherds over the course of history, the aboriginal Armenian Gamprs moved across a large area and subsequently blended. There were distinct physical differences between the Northern, Western and Eastern types, with differing traits that can still be seen today. For genetic diversity and to not breed out any of these types from our gene pool, pairing a mix of these types (and not always type to type) is ideal.
Other: Breed-inappropriate temperaments, severe health or physical faults should not be bred. However, due to the small size of the gene pool, there are acceptable mild faults that should be paired with a mate who shows excellence in that area. Dogs with wet mouths should be paired with a dog with a tighter mouths. In that regard, dogs with mediocre hips, elbows or other physical traits should be paired with dogs with good hips. Intense dogs should be paired with dogs who have a very relaxed temperament. However, dogs with slipped hocks should never be bred.
26. Not withhold information concerning other current or future AGCA litters, including imports, to retain all placement inquiries for themselves; instead, offer support to the Program and genetic diversity by referring interested parties to other current AGCA litters in the USA and providing information about import opportunities, remaining mindful that sometimes the best placement/owner pairing is not with a dog that is your own.
27. Request a litter certificate from the website or any AGCA Board Member after any litter birth.
28. Not blindly place puppies in homes without adequately discussing proper ownership, positive training, breeding, breed ideals, and goals with interested parties. Once verified that an interested party is deemed suitable and will be a responsible owner, the Breeder shall give each potential buyer a copy of this Code of Ethics and a copy of the Breeder’s puppy contract before accepting a deposit on any puppy (usable contract template on the AGCA website).
29. To the best of their ability, evaluate puppies /dog temperaments and the prospective placement homes for compatibility to strive for lifelong placements.
30. Shall send home with each puppy, at minimum, the following: AGCA Litter Certificate (or full Registration), medical records (printable template found on AGCA website), personal puppy contract (signed by both parties), and an AGCA New Puppy Info Packet (also located on the website) which includes a copy of this Code of Ethics, pamphlets, and basic puppy ownership information. Breeders shall emphasize to each new home the importance of registering their new puppy with AGCA to help with gene pool data and breed conservation efforts.
31. Act as a resource to all new owners. With every puppy sold, the Breeder expands their responsibilities and becomes the mentor for each new owner in all areas of owning an Armenian Gampr.
32. Assume lifelong responsibility for every puppy produced, including taking back possession of any dog not working out in their new home or personally rehoming the dog. Breeders must develop resources to handle situations that may arise.
33. Provide a completed litter certificate for the entire litter back to AGCA promptly, but no more than thirty (30) days after placement, to be entered into the Pedigree Database, which gathers essential gene pool data and further the conservation efforts to save our breed. Minimum acceptable information is last name, city/state, gender, and basic litter information including number in litter and gender count.
34. Replace or refund any puppy sold as sound but later found to have a significant genetic fault. The solution will be mutually agreed upon by the buyer and seller, their puppy contract, and if needed, and asked to arbitrate by either party, with assistance from the AGCA Board.