Tuduk and one of his faithful pack members



Gampr DNA Analysis

collecting samples

After more than a decade of waiting, it finally became possible to begin the process of typing Armenian Gamprs, specifically. In 2018, our Club founder, Rohana Mayer purchased 12 DNA profile kits from Embark and flew to Armenia, for the third time, to collect samples.  Out of those 12 kits, one could not be processed, for an unknown reason. One dog tested as mixed; part mutt and part Rottweiler. In the end, there were 10 Gampr DNA samples that gave clean, consistent results, which are listed below.


Once in Armenia, Armen Khechoyan and his wife Irina were very helpful in obtaining a wide variety of samples from across the country, by putting in an extreme effort to help find the correct dogs for testing, during the three week trip.  The difficult part was deciding which dogs to test. Most of what is seen in sheep camps and with breeders are mixed breed dogs. We needed enough variety to have a well rounded genetic profile, while also avoiding the mixed breeds, in order to have enough clean samples.

On the way to visit Armen Khechoyan’s farm in Amasia, he remembered a sheep camp on a side road, so the group  of friends drove through the fields to find it, asking questions of various shepherds they passed. Strangely, a few shepherds did not have dogs with them, but they did return to camp at night, where there were dogs for protection from wolves.

The first DNA sample Rohana collected was between Aparan and Darik, in a sheep camp belonging to a man named Norik.  On first seeing Norik’s camp, a pack of dogs began barking and ran up the hill to greet Rohana and the rest of the group. They were the usual type, a mixture of what appeared to be Central Asian, fighting dog and native Gampr.

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Sheep camps usually have 7-12 males and 1, sometimes 2 females


Typical sheep camp dogs, a nice red gampr and a mixed partner

At Norik's camp, there was one older female and more than a dozen male dogs, of which only 3 appeared to be non-mixed. The older female, plus a couple of males who also appeared to be older, maybe 8 years old.  It was decided to collect a DNA sample from the older female. She tested as free of 164 known genetic diseases, as 100% Armenian Gampr, and we can see her color alleles and more. Her results were can be seen in Embark.


The dogs in camp were good natured with the children

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One of the younger children with a polite male from the pack


Hospitality at camp for strangers


Armen and his dear friend Tuduk, with dogs from Tuduk's camp

Great News!

the results are in


Since analyzing the gampr DNA results, we’ve confirmed that the breed is relatively free of genetic diseases.  Considering the very long list of 167+ diseases Embark tests for and compared to other breeds, the Armenian gampr is very healthy!


Three of the dogs showed with a single recessive copy of the genetic disease Degenerative Myelopathy and one other dog showed as a double copy.  DM will not develop in a single carrier like those three, but has a chance of developing in a dog with two copies of the gene. The gene showing in 40% of the dogs tested means that we need to monitor our breeding programs in the USA by DNA testing both potential parents prior to breeding so that we do not breed two carriers together.   The only other genetic condition that showed was a in one dog whose results show a single copy of HEXB Sandhoff disease, which is very rare.

Also revealed in the data is that there is a gene for the short tail, and for liver color, in a 100% Armenian Gampr dog that is 100% CLEAR of all genetic diseases.  Therefore, we can see that these two traits are both normal, and non harmful. There seems to also be a second undiscovered gene for a short tail, as there are several others in the tests that were likely born with a short tail.

Below are the results from the dogs tested in Armenia.

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A 10 year old female at Norik’s camp, a friend of Armen Khechoyan. 100% clear of all genetic diseases and conditions. Results


An elderly male, the same age but not as fit as his partner (#3). He is the one mixed dog we tested. Results


A young pregnant female whose pups were later imported. Clear of 166+ diseases, carries liver and bobtail gene Results


Vagr, in estrus on Mt Aragats. Puppies were later imported, one of which showed a remarkable resistance to parvo. 100% clear of all 167 genetic diseases. Results


Cream colored male on the border of Armenia, Georgia and Turkey. 100% clear of all genetic diseases and conditions. Results


A red pregnant female, 7 years old. Sample could not be processed, so there's no link to share.


Yuri, a gorgeous 4yo male currently in Mt Aragats. Carrier of DM, clear of 166+ genetic diseases. His pups to be imported in 2020. Results


A 5 year old male, from Tuduk, who are the descendants of some of the original source stock of Armen Khechoyan’s. The only dog with 2 copies of the gene for DM. Results


An 11-year old female near Lake Sevan. A carrier of DM, and HEXB, clear of 165 other genetic conditions. Results


A long-haired male, whose owner was not present. 100% clear of all 167 genetic diseases. Results


Other shepherds helped collect the sample while the dog growled at us. Carrier of DM, clear of 166 genetic diseases. Results


A particularly sharp, shy and fast female. Now owned by Rohana Mayer, but resides in Armenia. Clear of 166 genetic diseases, carrier of zero. Results