Tuduk and one of his faithful pack members
CREATING THE DNA PROFILE
Gampr DNA Analysis
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, 10 Gampr DNA samples 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 breeders are mixed-breed dogs. We needed enough variety to have a well-rounded genetic profile while also avoiding the mixed breeds to have enough clean samples.
On the way to 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. Upon 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.
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 three appeared to be non-mixed. The older female, plus a couple of males who appeared to be older, maybe eight years old. It was decided to collect a DNA sample from the older female. She tested free of 164 known genetic diseases, as 100% Armenian Gampr, and we can see her color alleles and more. Her results can be seen in Embark.
The dogs in camp were good natured with the children
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
the results are in
Since analyzing the gampr DNA results, we’ve confirmed that the breed is relatively free of genetic diseases. Considering the long list of 167+ conditions Embark tests for and compared to other breeds, the Armenian gampr is very healthy!
Three dogs showed a single recessive copy of the genetic disease Degenerative Myelopathy, and one other showed 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 before breeding so that we do not breed two carriers together. The only other genetic condition showed 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 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 standard and nonharmful. There seems to also be a second undiscovered gene for a short tail, as several others in the tests were likely born with a short tail.
Below are the results from the dogs tested in Armenia.