The Gampr (Armenian wolfhound) – A National Treasure Of Armenia
The Gamprs are considered a national pride, property of Armenia and are protected by the state.
The Armenian wolfhounds (Gamprs) are considered to be one of the oldest dogs on the planet. This is evidenced by the rock paintings found by archaeologists in places that were historically part of Armenia. These drawings were made around the first millennium BC, and in many of them you can find images of dogs similar to Gampr.
The Armenian Gampr is a very rare and ancient aboriginal dog breed, originating from the Armenian Highlands, in historical Armenian lands stretching from the mountains of the southern Caucasus (present-day Armenia, southern Georgia and Azerbaijan) to Anatolia in Turkey.
Gamprs are very large dogs. They can grow up to 60 kg (132 lbs), but they are quite athletic. They have thick double fur, adapted to the harsh winters of the Armenian Highlands.
The Armenian Gampr is a unique dog. These dogs are prone to making independent decisions, even in the most difficult situations, and as a rule, this decision is the only correct one.
They are very attached to a person, and the owner should reciprocate with them respectively, because if he does not do this, then the dog will simply ignore him.
Since the ancient times, the Armenian wolfhounds were helpers of shepherds who did not graze livestock, but guarded the flocks of sheep from wolves. Also, Armenian wolfhounds are used in search and rescue operations during landslides or avalanches.
The wolf is a very strong and intelligent animal. And Gampr has a perfect strangulation technique. If he manages to cling to the throat of the wolf, then he will not let it go. In such cases, the victory usually rests with the dog. It is not for nothing that from time immemorial this dog has been called “Gelkhekht” (“wolfhound” in Armenian).
There is a kind of test that the owners of the Gampr carry out for puppies. When the puppies reach the age of 2 months, they throw the skin of a wolf and watch the reaction of the dogs.
Someone who is more aggressive – he begins to bite the wolf’s skin, and shows some kind of activity, yet who is more cautious – steps aside. And knowledgeable people say that even at this young age, a real wolfhound is already recognizable.
For all their aggressiveness that these dogs show towards the wolf, they are very open and kind-hearted towards humans. Truly happy will be a person who has a friend like Gampr. In case of danger, the Gamprs fiercely and fearlessly stand up to protect the owners and the house. For any Armenian family, Gampr is a loyal friend, helper and family member. Gampr is a priori incapable of betrayal!
But, there were times when the Gampr breed was nearly lost. It happened during the 1915 Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire. The Gamprs are wonderful warriors, able to defend their family on their own, and they defended their Armenian masters to the last drop of their blood.
Knowing this, the attacking Turkish military units and Kurdish gangs killed first the dogs, and then their Armenian family members.
We would like to bow before these dogs in memory of those terrible times…
In 2011, the Armenian wolfhound breed – Gampr was recognized by the International Cynological Union (IKU), and in 2016 Gampr was recognized by the World Cynological Alliance (Alianz Canine Worldwide).
Currently, the Armenian cynologists are actively involved in the revival of the national breed and try to preserve it in its original form.
Just a note. The landrace Gampr is not: an Alabai, Caucasian Ovcharka, Kangal, Anatolian, Kars, Akbash, Karakatchan, Central Asian Shepherd, Kuchi, Tornyak, Sharplaninats or Sharplaninets, or a cross of any of these modern-day dogs. A dog is no longer a true landrace Gampr if it has any additional breeds in its genetic history.
At the bottom of this post, you can watch very cool video about Armenian Gamprs by “Планета Собак” (in Russian).