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Gamp'r- Ancient dog of Armenia


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#21 MosJan

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 03:58 PM

QUOTE (vava @ Jul 9 2008, 08:10 PM)
Never - my mistake, Elly jan (typo) smile.gif
I would in fact love to see one - but probably mosjan "the wise", knows that I already have too much on plate to handle a Gampr...
Mos, yete gampr tanem toun, tan mech k@pahem @ntaniki het - khekhtch shounin dours chem karogh k@tsem... smile.gif



Vavul jan smile.gif Et Gamper@ qez el kuty smile.gif tunn el het@ smile.gif gorts chunes axper jan smile.gif

#22 EZ

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 04:15 PM

And what about my request to move this topic to Culture? Who's going to do it?

I just did: http://hyeforum.com/...t=0#entry246725

Edited by EZ, 12 July 2008 - 04:24 PM.


#23 EZ

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 04:20 PM

Source: http://www.gampr.org (there's also a database with many pictures at www.gampr.net)
Original thread: http://hyeforum.com/...?showtopic=6937



The History of the Armenian Gampr


Armenian Gampr dogs are primitive, powerful, intelligent companions and guardians. The Armenian Gampr dog today has more similarity to the historical origin breed of all mollosser type dogs than other more well-known breeds. Historical evidence shows the development of livestock and companion dogs to have been in existence on the Armenian plateau before other ancient civilizations. Anthropological findings indicate that the current gampr type became what it is today at least 3000 years ago (Richard Ney, n.d.), and as the breed was developed out of necessity and continues to be a necessary part of human survival in its native area, the gampr has retained a surprising amount of its original characteristics. Various central Asian countries have closely related strains of the original shepherds’ dog. However, some of the other breeds also have had genetic manipulation in the last 200 years, which in most cases has meant the loss of the primitive soundness and depth of instinct that remains today in the gampr.

Located in a very fertile zone, at the crossroads of travel between ancient Persia, Asia, and Europe, the Armenian plateau has given rise to some of the earliest milestones of civilization. Armenian innovations and products have been at the forefront of the development of humanity, and many steps of human progress appeared first here. Armenia was the first country to define the zodiac, adopt Christianity, use astrology, create an astronomical observatory and a calendar with a 365-day year, and the Armenians even built a Stonehenge thousands of years before the well-known European site (Ney, n.d.). As these developments spread across Asia, so too did the early breed of dog, protecting livestock and people as they traveled. Historical records show early breeds of domesticated livestock to have existed in Armenia 25,000 years ago, roughly 10,000 years before their existence elsewhere (Ney, n.d.). Although the oldest archeological evidence of settlements in Armenia are 90,000 years old (Ney, n.d.), under the current city of Yerevan, many early peoples were nomadic, and wealth was measured in possessions, including livestock. A dog such as the gampr is invaluable in protecting one’s possessions, particularly livestock. Even now, it is common knowledge among owners of sheep or goats and livestock guardian dogs that a good dog will save the owner thousands of dollars in prevented losses (Poynner, Robyn, April 2008). During the thousands of years of nomadic herding and trading, a good dog could easily have meant the difference between life and death. According to early petroglyphs beginning ca. 15,000-12,000 in the Armenian highlands, specifically “at Ughtasar and on the Geghama mountain range, up to 20% of the carvings resemble the modern gampr, while others show a remarkable diversity of dog that no longer exists.”(Ney, n.d.) The continued existence of domesticated animals at that time was most likely restricted to those which were particularly useful and relatively self-sustaining.

Archeological records of early dogs are somewhat concurrent and very widespread. Many archaeological finds indicate that the “first” domesticated dog came from several origins. One fairly recent find is of two skulls that are quite similar to the gampr and other central asian shepherds, and it is postulated that this may be the first link between wolves and ancient dogs (Viegas, Jennifer, May 2003). Russian scientist Mikhail Sablin reported that the two dogs found were very similar to the wolves in the area at the time, but had shorter snouts, wider palates, and measured about 27.5 inches at the shoulder, which is about average for the gampr. Found near Bryansk, which is at the westernmost tip of the Russian Federation, the dogs were in a cave at the edge of the broad plain stretching through the Ukraine, northeast through Poland and south to the Caucasus mountains, Georgia and Armenia. The skulls are reported to be about 14,000 years old (Viegas, 2003).

Another possible origin of the domestication of the dog is southeast Asia. Extensive genetic mapping indicates a genetic “age” of the domestication process, 12,000-15,000 years old. A landmark study lead by Peter Savolainen and involving a team of scientists from several continents organized mitochondrial DNA clades from modern dogs into 5 main groups. Since ninety-five percent of the dogs studied were from three clades, Savolainen’s team looked to the remaining clades which included the first three but had more genetic diversity, indicating a longer age of genetic development. The greatest differences in mitochondrial DNA were apparently from southeast Asia, indicating to the analysts that this was where the original domestication process had begun (Savolainen et al, November 2002).

Since the Savolainen study was published, however, further study has been deemed necessary as the inherited genetic markers were strictly matrilineal (Verginelli, Fabio et al. August 2005) and did not disallow for included genes from males. Also, “loss of genetic diversity is clearly evident when comparing the Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene PICs with extant Italian/French wolves…[which] suggests that caution is necessary in drawing historical inferences from modern population data..” (Verginelli, 2005). Furthermore, cultural verbal histories indicate that allowing female dogs to breed to native wolves has been practiced for thousands of years in the Caucasus mountains (Ney, n.d.) The gampr and other closely related breeds are a product of the necessity of survival, rather than the desire for a specific possession, and therefore would have been subject to manipulation only to increase functionality. However, the influx of wolf characteristics was necessarily limited, as the shepherds needed a dog which was more powerful than a wolf, both physically and mentally (Kurrikov, Dovlet, n.d.), balanced by a strong sense of independence.

Modern dog breed history is easier to trace, as there are ample records of the flow of humanity and written histories to match. Dogs are classified into groups, including spitz, sight hounds, pariah, scent hounds, and molossers among others. “Even the legendary Alaunt, the breed considered to be the key progenitor of all bulldogge breeds, is also originally descended from this Caucasian stock of mountain dogs.”(Wolf, 2007 February). Molossers are also commonly known as mastiffs and include, among others, the English Mastiff, developed over 2000 years ago in England. The dogs represented by the skulls found in the cave near Bryansk, in western Russia, were molossian-type dogs. It seems preposterous to compare a little French bulldog to an Armenian gampr, and say that the little bulldog descended from the same ancestors, nearly identical to the modern gampr, but all evidence indicates that to be true. Breeders of modern show dogs have a fairly high level of predictability when expecting a litter from known parents (Whitney, Leon. 1971), but the genetic variability inherent in the gampr is much less refined. It is more likely that a litter of gampr puppies will resemble the grandparents and great-grandparents than the sire and dam (Ney, n.d.), which is actually a factor that has frequently aided the perseverance of the gampr in its native country. Thousands of years of natural selection has given the gampr as much refinement as is useful, and no more. This genetic heritage includes the ability to produce any characteristic found in the other molossian breeds, and occasionally there will be a puppy that seems to have come from another breed, not just another set of parents (Ney, n.d. and Qadirie, Rasaq, n.d.), but this is a useful characteristic in a country that has been beset by wars since pre-history, famine, earthquakes, and even the first genocide of the twentieth century, when three-quarters of the Armenian race were annihilated by the Ottoman Empire (Morgenthau, Henry. February, 1920) This mass genocide, occurring from 1915 though 1923, devastated the Armenian culture and weakened the ancestral link to the gampr dog. For the previous one thousand years, Turkish raiders had already been consistently taking the dogs as war booty (Ney, n.d.), and even though the historical borders of Armenia had incorporated what is now a large part of northeastern Turkey, current Turkish nationalism is now making an effort to consolidate recognition of descendants of the Armenian dogs as their own Kangal-Sivas and Akbash.

During the genocide of 1915 and for many years after, many of the best remaining dogs were taken to the newly formed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Ney, n.d.), and became a main portion of the founding of the Red Star breeding program, which has resulted in the recognition of the Caucasian Ovcharka, or Kavkastkaya. The Soviets originally intended to breed a police dog, and began introducing other breeds in an effort to make the independent-minded native livestock guardian more biddable, and more likely to attack on command. The “modern incarnation of the Russian show type also has some St.Bernard, Sarplaninac, Leonberger and Moscow Watchdog blood running through its veins, courtesy of ambitious Soviet breeders…”(Wolf, 2007). As they are, the gampr and other native guardians, such as the koochee of Afghanistan, are unlikely to actually physically attack without a direct unmistakable threat to their family, human or four-legged.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the trend has been to breed the ovcharka larger and more defensive, which has created serious genetic complications for the breed. Even though there are some definite differences between the native dogs and the modern ovcharka, the ovcharka has the recognition of the Federacion Cynologue Internacional, an international dog breed club, and therefore the native breeds are not valued as such, but are pressured to prove themselves to be ovcharka. This poses a threat to the genetic soundness of the gampr, as the pressure to become a more widely recognized dog has the potential to disrupt the fine-tuning of thousands of years of natural development (Qadirie, Rasaq, n.d., and Trut, 1999).

When analyzing characteristics of domesticated animals, it becomes apparent that the process of domestication is linked to certain physiological traits (Trut, Lyudmila N., March-April, 1999) which progress in a surprisingly consistent manner for all species. Fifty years ago, Dr. Dmitry Belyaev and his team at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Siberia pioneered a strict study of domestication in foxes. Beginning with 130 foxes, the team permitted only specific, timed, consistent interactions with the captive foxes, and allowed only a small percentage of them to be bred. Selection was based only on friendliness, and disregarded any other means of distinguishing those which were allowed to reproduce. A remarkable progression of developmental and physiological changes were recorded by the team, even after the death of Dr. Balyeav.

With selection being based only on friendliness, the speed of the domestication process was dramatically increased, accomplishing inadvertently various developments in fifty years which had never been done, even with intention of doing so, in the history of the farm-fox business (Trut, 1999). Apparently the selection factor of friendliness is polygenic, bringing with it certain traits which can be observed in many other breeds of livestock. Three main physiological traits expressed themselves early and consistently. White pigmentation on first the head then the feet, flopping ears, and curling of the tail were all evident in the early stages of domestication. Developmental changes were remarkable as well. Dramatically, the basal levels of corticosteroids in the blood plasma of the domesticated foxes had dropped to slightly more than half the level in a control group by just 12 generations, and within another six generations had halved again (Trut, 1999) Lower corticosteroid levels indicate a lower level of fear, and also less energy usage in order to produce the fear reaction. With this comes a higher level of seratonin, which in turn affects neonatal development. These changes affect the timing of certain growth markers, such as “earlier eye opening and response to noises and the delayed onset of the fear response to unknown stimuli.” (Trut, 1999).These in turn affect an animal’s ability to be aware of and to accept interaction with humans. Other significant early changes in morphology were differences in skull proportions, more variety in fur color, and changes in size. Remarkably, these characteristics are all evident in the modern gampr, but the gampr appears to have stopped its domestication at that evolutionary stage; the following changes in the foxes, which are more similar to other modern dog breeds, are not particularly evident in the gampr.

As domestication progresses, selection being based on a criteria arbitrarily selected by the desire of humans rather than functional need, many non-productive traits crop up. The Belyaev team began to see malformations of the jaw structure, short legs, bowed legs, extreme desire for closeness with humans, and less difference in size between the males and females (Trut, 1999). If the foxes had been living in a situation where their survival, and therefore ability to reproduce, depended on being physically functional, it may be safe to assume that some of these less desirable characteristics would not have become prevalent. However, since the study illustrates the connection between friendliness and these morphological differences, one could also surmise that the domestication of the foxes in a more normal environment would have also been halted or dramatically slowed at the point of non-functionality.

The vast majority of modern breeds of dog, particularly those recognized by AKC and primarily judged by a bench standard, have many similarities to the foxes at the end of the Belyaev study. Genetic defects, which make survival without the intervention of a veterinarian and constant care and companionship, have become more and more prevalent. Luxation of the patella in many small breeds is fairly common, as is displacement of the cornea in bull terriers, epilepsy in Labrador retrievers, weepy eyes in chows, incontinence in the bichon, heart murmers in bulldogs, and among the worst, absolute incompetency to reproduce in English Bulldogs. All of the breeds above were at some point more functional and less prone to genetic issues, but the efficacy of human manipulation for the sake of our own imaginary needs, rather than actual realistic needs, has pushed many breeds to brink of disaster. In just the last one hundred years, the Russian Ovcharka has been “developed” enough to cause it problems, particularly poor hips and unreliable temperaments.

A dangerous trend for dogs in Central Asia is the development of dog fighting as a sport. Historically, a nomadic tradition allowed for two dogs to be pitted against each other only long enough to assess which dog would declare dominance over the other, and no longer. There was very little risk to the dog, the contest rarely involved more than a wrestling match. Usually, showing teeth and attempting to bite the other dog was a signal of inferiority, because the contest of wills was more important: a dog that could dominate a situation, particularly with marauding wolves, without risking bodily injury was an invaluable resource. If a dog was afraid enough to resort to biting, that was a sign of mental defeat before possible physical defeat. During the last twenty years, the difficulties posed by widespread poverty coupled with a reduced reliance on tradition, have pressured many people into pitting their dogs against each other for money. In some areas this is the easiest and only opportunity to make money quickly and relatively easily. Even in more developed areas in Russia it is a somewhat common and lucrative sport. These modern dog fights have deviated from tradition, and it is now common for dogs to inflict some amount of damage on each other. This has resulted in a trend away from the inherent use of the breeds as they were developed to be. In the United States dog fighting is prohibited, as it is in many other countries, but the excitement and allure of a dog that is tougher than all the rest is still attractive to many people. The danger to the breed is that the calm, levelheaded self-determined intelligence may be lost, and a new version of the breed created that is less predictable and a lot less useful.

In 1998 a man named Tigran Nazaryan in Armenia wrote software for a database of the gamprs he had knowledge of in Armenia, and it is posted at www.gampr.net. Tigran and a veterinarian friend by the name of Avetik arranged for the transportation of several dogs to the United States, in order to establish the breed here as well. Some of the dogs were lost, and a few were bred. There are now at least fifteen gamprs in the United States, mainly in California. The Armenian Gampr Club of America, www.gampr..org, was organized in an attempt at preserving the breed here in the U.S. This comes at a time when new regulations are coming into effect that require any dog that is not a registered breeding dog of a recognized breed in a recognized club, actively being shown, become spayed or neutered (Los Angeles Animal Services, 2008). Coincidently, the first county to adopt the new regulation was Los Angeles County, the very same county where most of the Armenia-registered dogs happen to be living.

The Armenian gampr is still the breed it has been for thousands of years. In order for the breed to maintain its integrity as a useful, reliable guardian, strict and thorough measures must be in place to assure correct breeding practices. Outside of the native country, any gampr is at risk to a variety of misuses and misrepresentations. Armenia is a small country where there remain local shepherds in the hills, eking out a living the way their ancestors had for thousands of years. Many travelers to the cities never even know that the dogs exist, including Armenians who visit their homeland regularly. The native dogs and shepherds live the way they always have, and in so doing will hopefully be able to maintain the integrity of the breed that began 15,000 years ago.

References

Bedrosian, R, (1979) The Turco-Mongol Invasions and the Lords of Armenia in the 13-14th Centuries. Columbia University dissertation. Retrieved April 29, 2008, from http://rbedrosian.com/atmi3.htm

Kurrikov, Dovlet (n.d.) Turkmen Alabai. Retrieved April 24 from http://www.alabaiusa.com/

Los Angeles Animal Services. (March 6, 2008) AB1634. http://www.cahealthy...b-1634-home.php

Morgenthau, Henry. (1920, February 28) Shall Armenia Perish? The Independent, New York. Retrieved April 24, 2008 from http://www.armenian-...28-20-text.html

Ney, Richard. (n.d.) Armenian Shepherds: The Gampr Deified as Aralez. Tour Armenia. Retrieved February 2008, from http://www.tacentral....asp?story_no=2

Poynner, Robyn. (2008, April) Online web dialogue. Messages posted to http://finance.group...ngLGDs/messages

Qadirie, Rasaq. (n.d) Introduction Part 4. Retrieved April 24, 2008 from

http://www.koocheedog.com/intro4.php

Savolainen, Peter, Ya-ping Zhang, Jing Luo, Joakim Lundeberg, Thomas Leitner. (November 2002) Genetic Evidence for an East Asian Origin of Domestic Dogs. Science 22 : Vol. 298. no. 5598, pp. 1610 - 1613. DOI: 10.1126/science.1073906. Retrieved April 24, 2008 from http://www.sciencema...l/298/5598/1610

Trut, Lyudmila N., (1999, March-April) Early Canid Domestication: The Farm-Fox Experiment, American Scientist, 87: 160-169.

Viegas, Jennifer. (2003, May) Earliest Domesticated Dogs Uncovered. Animal Planet News. Retreived April 20, 2008, from http://animal.discov...5/earlydog.html

Verginelli, Fabio et al. (2005, August) Mitochondrial DNA from Prehistoric Canids Highlights Relationships Between Dogs and South-East European Wolves. Molecular Biology and Evolution 2005 22(12):2541-2551

Whitney, Leon F. (1979) How to Breed Dogs. New York: Howell Book House, Inc.

Wolf. (2007, February) Caucasian Ovcharka Profile. Retrieved April 24, 2008, from http://caucasian.org...t.php?content.5

Edited by EZ, 12 July 2008 - 04:30 PM.


#24 walter

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 09:46 AM

I have had the good fortune to own a male Gampr back until 1989 when the dog got old and passed away. Then I could not find a pure bread female gampr, so I did not want to cross bread with another since I was not sure what the outcome will be, also it was looked at as a somewhat uncotrollable beast. It was the greatest help to me along with 2 collies to take care of my sheep in Northern Quebec, Canada.
I have been looking to buy a pair, male and female, long hair, pure white ever since.
These are not pets, and I would strongley suggest not to keep them in confined quarters, like back yard or apartment, think of it like minimum 5 acres or more per dog, they need a lot of space to run and feel free, they do not like the billions of different smells of the city, they become irritated, but the best dog ever any sheppard could have. You don't really treach them anything, they learn from your moves and tone of voice what needs to be done and how, yes they are smarter than most high school graduates I have encountered. They are great with kids, my nieces and nephews used to ride him, had a home made saddle. They don't play or fetch or silly tricks, but if you see them with bloody snouth in the morning, then you know they have done their job at night.
If you know anyone who can sell me 2 puppies say next spring, please let me know.
Thank you.

#25 Rohana

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 06:21 PM

Hey Armen, I tried to follow the link from your post but it didn't work - is there a current link you could send?
I am working toward helping to get the breed established here in the US.
Thanks!
Rohana



[quote name='Armen' date='Oct 10 2004, 01:20 AM' post='116020']
Armenian Sheepdog
http://hundeguiden.n...an_sheepdog.htm

With origins dating back as far as 15000 years, there is little doubt that the Armenian Gampr is the oldest of all Molossers, and quite possibly all mountain dog breeds. The Armenian Plateau is one of the early cradles of civilization and the Gampr is believed to had existed in the highlands of Armenia since the very begining. With limited human interference, two main types of the Gampyr evolved side by side and 3000 years ago the longhaired and the shorthaired variants were formed. These dogs are considered by most Armenians to be the real Caucasian Sheepdog and Central Asian Shepherd Dog, as well as direct ancestors of most Asian and Turkish breeds. This theory is not very popular, but it does make a lot of sense, especialy when historical facts are considered. When the Turks invaded Armenia in the 9th century A.D. and encountered the Gampr dogs, they were so impressed that they took many of them back to Turkey. There are reportedly even records in Armenia stating how some of their Gampr Storm Dogs were exported to "a monastery in the Swiss Alps" in the mid 1660's, obviously hinting at the development of the Saint Bernard. The Soviets claimed the Armenian Gampr as Russian, with the Georgian type being favoured by Stalin, the result of which are the divisions still felt today in the Caucasian Ovcharka circles. The Turkish Kars Dog is of special interest, seing how Kars was the capitol of Armenia up until the 10th century.


#26 Rohana

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 06:40 PM

Wow I am so glad EZ posted here....so how do I get in touch w/ the people with puppies??? I created the Armenian Gampr Club of America to try to find and document and assist as many of the dogs and owners as possible...I know there are more out there, and I would love to take photos, add to the club whatever. We don't charge registration, basically its just me and a few other interested people. With the new regulations in LA county some of these dogs are at risk, and to get them documented, registered etc would be helpful. Some people have been pressured to prove that their dogs are CAO, or caucasian, or whatever, which is not good, just because there is no recognition for the breed here. Gampr are better, if you read the history at gampr.org hopefully you'll agree. I have contacts w/ American Rare breed Association to get these ones we have accepted with them, but we need a few more. I found out that some of the dogs posted on our webpage had some CAO in their background, so I don't wnat to continue their genetics with the pure gampr, that would cause us problems. Also Walter(he posted here) is looking for 2 pups....it would be nice to see if you can help him, and I could arrange a breeding as well.
I will be in LA on Aug 2nd and 3rd...it would be nice to meet with as many as possible!
Rohana


QUOTE (Ashot @ Jul 8 2008, 11:27 PM)
my mom's cousin's son is breeding 2 of them, I don't think they are in the list of those 15, also another family I say around Reseda area about a week ago had three!!!



#27 vava

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 08:09 PM

Welcome Rohana, I think Armen's post is from years ago, so likely the site he was linking to no longer exists. It's great that you're working with Gampr's - hopefully the breed can indeed be established in North America - good luck!

#28 EZ

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 06:42 PM

Hi Rohana, welkom smile.gif

I think the site in your quote below copied the text about the Gampr from http://www.molosserd...a...nt&tid=1024 ... since it's identical. So you might want to inquire there about who originally wrote it.

I'll be in touch. Happy holidays.
Elly.


QUOTE (Rohana @ Jul 25 2008, 01:21 AM)
Hey Armen, I tried to follow the link from your post but it didn't work - is there a current link you could send?
I am working toward helping to get the breed established here in the US.
Thanks!
Rohana

QUOTE (Armen @ Oct 10 2004, 01:20 AM)

Armenian Sheepdog
http://hundeguiden.n...an_sheepdog.htm

With origins dating back as far as 15000 years, there is little doubt that the Armenian Gampr is the oldest of all Molossers, and quite possibly all mountain dog breeds. The Armenian Plateau is one of the early cradles of civilization and the Gampr is believed to had existed in the highlands of Armenia since the very begining. With limited human interference, two main types of the Gampyr evolved side by side and 3000 years ago the longhaired and the shorthaired variants were formed. These dogs are considered by most Armenians to be the real Caucasian Sheepdog and Central Asian Shepherd Dog, as well as direct ancestors of most Asian and Turkish breeds. This theory is not very popular, but it does make a lot of sense, especialy when historical facts are considered. When the Turks invaded Armenia in the 9th century A.D. and encountered the Gampr dogs, they were so impressed that they took many of them back to Turkey. There are reportedly even records in Armenia stating how some of their Gampr Storm Dogs were exported to "a monastery in the Swiss Alps" in the mid 1660's, obviously hinting at the development of the Saint Bernard. The Soviets claimed the Armenian Gampr as Russian, with the Georgian type being favoured by Stalin, the result of which are the divisions still felt today in the Caucasian Ovcharka circles. The Turkish Kars Dog is of special interest, seing how Kars was the capitol of Armenia up until the 10th century.


#29 Zartonk

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:56 PM

The Wikipedia entry for the Gampr is surprisingly comprehensive.



History of the Breed

The dogs of this type were spread all over the Armenian Highlands, starting from prehistoric times that is proved by thousands of petroglyphs found in various regions of the territory. Thus, on studying the petroglyphs found in the territories, surrounding modern city of Kars, the age of which is dated 13,000 years back, Professor Oktay Belli. Stambul University, determined that in the vicinities of Kars the hunting with several domestic dogs existed in Neolithic period. No one knows for sure the exact time when the gampr was domesticated, early sources are quite unclear on this account, often bickering among themselves to prove an academic point. While there is a huge diversity among the endemic species dating back tens of thousand of years, the prototype of the modern gampr was formed 3000 years ago. Petroglyphs found in the Armenian Plateau, beginning ca. 15,000-12,000 BC, show a large number and variety of dog types, providing a record of development. Of the hundreds of petroglyphs found at Ughtasar and on the Geghama mountain range, up to 20% of the carvings resemble the modern gampr, while others show a remarkable diversity of dog that no longer exists. A monograph by S. Dal, "Sevan plateau's transcaucasian shepherd dog, 1st millenium BC" described the results of an excavation conducted in 1954 by Lake Sevan. In the excavation site dating approx. 800 - 1000 BC, they found a well preserved dog skeleton in one of the tombs. By comparing the skull with the head of a modern gampr and other canines, Dal concluded that it was a then typical representative of the breed, although there are some marked differences from the modern type, like longer head-face, narrower head box and stronger teeth. Dal concluded that although the selection and breeding process of the last 3000 years affected the dogs general appearance and size, the gampr was already established and formed as a breed in the 1st millennium BC. As a result of these finds it is now believed that natural selection and breeding over the millennia 'built' the modern gampr, a breed that shows traits of the older dog types represented in the carvings while maintaining its own unique physiology. And despite the conjectures of outside nations that the dog originated outside of the Armenian Plateau, and was somehow introduced by countries as far flung as Tibet, there is an endemic species of dog on the Armenian Plateau that is recorded as early as 12,000 BC. The problem of the preservation and breeding local breeds of dogs exists in many regions of the world, including Armenia


What is a "Natural dog breed"?


Dog breeds are groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans, bred from a known foundation stock.

The term dog breed may also be used to refer to natural breeds or landraces, which arose through time in response to a particular environment which included humans, with little or no selective breeding by humans. Such breeds are undocumented, and are identified by their appearance and often by a style of working. Ancient dog breeds are some of the modern (documented) descendants of such natural breeds.

Some natural dog breeds were more lucky, and they were recognized by international kennel organizations, the others were less lucky, and they are preserved and bred by individuals and small groups or clubs of dog fanciers. One of the bright examples of the first group os Alabay that was recognized by international kennel clubs as Central Asian shepherd dog[5]. From this point of view, Armenian Gampr was less lucky, and this natural breed is bred by individual enthusiasts in Armenia and "Armenian Gampr Dog Club of America", a small club in the USA.

At the same time all local and natural breeds of dogs have several traits some of which are mentioned, in particular, in a Russian article "The Wolfhounds - Lie, Legend and Slander" that runs: "The aboriginal dogs differ first of all by the lack of adaptation to the conditions of megalopolis, sexual dimorphism, and great intertype variations. Of course, there are bad individuals both among selective and natural dog breeds. But under other equal conditions an aboriginal dog has one advantage - it is less spoiled by human selection, and a selective breed dog has another advantages - its offsprings have predictable inherited traits, it is adapted (established) to the conditions of megalopolis, and there is information on its origin".


Phenotype

The modern Gamprs have little changed within the history of their existence in Armenian Highlands. Gamprs are one of few natural breeds that were not subjected to hard selection by phenotype. They preserved the genetic variation that other dog breeds had initially. This genetic variation was promoted by spontaneous and, in some cases, intentional periodic matings with local wide wolves that happen even at present. Gamprs differ by their vital capacity, independence, mind, strong self-preservation instinct, ability of the trustworthy defence and protection of livestock, and exclusive friendliness to humans.


Head

Large, well outlined, well-developed, but without prominent cheekbones, without the signs of dryness, impressive. Skull part is wide, with gentle passage from the forehead to muzzle. Gampr has characteristic mighty jaws. Generally 60 % of the total length of the head belong to the skull, and other 40 % to the muzzle. Forehead is straight and almost parallel to bridge of the nose. Cheeks are full, dry, and neat. Ears are a little lower than eye level. Eye color is more dark than coat color. Eyes are relatively small, almond-shaped, deep set, a little slanting, with clever, imperious, and serious look. The serious and stern look is shown even in puppies at several weeks of age. Teeth are white, strong, well-developed, positioned close to one another in the mouth. Teeth centers are located at one line. Scissor-type bite. Neck is mighty, muscular, with medium incline and medium length.


Body

Body is of extended form, index 108-110 %. Extension is formed at the expense of chest, but not waist. Breast is wide and deep, with a little rounded chest. Lower breast line shall be lower than elbow joint. Stomach continues breast line, a little tuck in. Top of shoulders is a little noticeable at the back. Back is wide, straight, mascular and strong. Waist is short and mascular. Croup is extended, wide and straight.


Size

Height in withers in male dogs is 65 cm or more, and female dogs is 62 cm or more. Weight shall correspond to the total size of the dog, and usually varies from 45–50 kg to 60 kg.

Tail

High set, in calm mode it is lowered. When walking and in irritated state it is raised above the back and igets a sickle-shaped or ring-shaped form.


Front Legs

Front legs, when front watched are straight, parallel to one another. Elbows and humerus bones are long, make an angle of shoulder-scapular joint of 108-110 degrees. Forearms are stright, massive, parallel set. Wrists are long, massive, parallel set. When looking from side, the wrists are set aslant.


Back Legs

When watched from backside, the legs are straight and parallel to one another, when watched from aside - a little straightened in knee and ankle joints. Thigh and legs are long, ankle joints are well expressed. Metatarsus are massive, equal to the thigh length. Heel bones are well-expressed. Forehell part of the leg is long and strong.


Paws

Round, firm, hard, gathered, with soft pads.


Coat

Usually short at the muzzle, ears and front legs. Double coat and undercoat shall be well-developed to protect the dog under any climatic conditions. Depending upon the coat length two types of coat are differed: long-haired - with long top hairs, and short-haired - with dense, relatively short hair.



Coat Color

Brown color and piebald pattern are not desired.


Movements

Fast, free and well-balanced. Front and back legs move parallel.


Faults

The substantial difference from the sizes, fixed in the standard. Light-colored eyes and nose. Too prolonged, short or narrow muzzle. Yellow teeth. Round, squint, protruding eyes. Shortness in body type. Slack or humped back, paunchy belly, long waist, short croup. Non-scissor-type bite.


Disqualification

Expressed cowardlyness or virulence. Lack of double coat and undercoat. Cryptorchidism. Blindness and deafness.


Character and Behavior

Gampr means "mighty, strong, large". These dogs shall not be trained, they perform the very function that is necessary in the particular situation. Gampr is a multyfunctional dog. It is no mere chance that Gampr dogs are known in Armenia under different names according to their function. A wolfhound is named "gelkheht" (from "gel" - "wolf" and "hhehtel" - "to smother"), a bear hunting dog is known as "archashoon" - "bear-dog", a rescue dog to rescue people covered by avalanche is named "potorkashoon", a shepherd dog is named "chobanishoon" - "shepard's dog", and Gampr - watchdog.

One of the main traits of Gampr dog is its ability to adopt indepedently a proper decision. If the Gampr dog will see that you need its help, it will protect you. If the Gampr will understand that you do not need its assistance, it will not protect you. The Gamprs are very tied to people, especially those dogs that live in human houses, because they feel themselves a family member.


Breeding

In Armenia Gampr dogs are bred by "Gampr", Tiknapah", Aralez" and "Aspar" Clubs, as well as "Amasia" Kennel [8] that carry on the breeding to preserve the phenotype and working traits of Gampr dogs. Only dogs without any inclusions of non-gampr(ie. CAO, Alabai, Kochee etc.) bloodlines shall be bred as gampr, in order to keep the breed pure. There are two strains of gampr, the palace guardian type and the livestock type. The livestock type tends to be smaller, tireless, and slightly more volatile. The palace guardians are generally taller, more square-built, and fairly congenial but still very protective. They have a tendency to be more sedentary, and to stay in one location. During the invasions of Armenia over the last several hundred years, the palace guardian type dogs have been dispersed, with a few remaining in remote villages, but many were taken out of the country and used in the development of the breeds elsewhere, such as the CAO, and in the Red Star Kennel in the USSR. Gampr is supposed to be unique by its genotype, because of belonging to the haplogroup of dogs of other parts of the Armenian Highlands that cluster only with the dogs of Spain and Scandinavia.

Edited by Zartonk, 19 April 2010 - 11:44 AM.


#30 Rohana

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 02:09 AM

I agree - Zarine Arushanyan did do a surprisingly comprehensive job on the wikipedia article. She had asked for my input, but I did not have the time during the month she needed it. I am very glad she was persistent enough to see it through. Apparently there was a lot of resistance in the Russian academia to the recognition of the topic. She would probably not mind at all if there were further editing - and would most likely appreciate the help. She does have some information that I think is too limiting for the parameters of the breed, but when i have the time it will be easier to address this.
There are somethings we (Armenian Gampr Club of America) are trying to do:
  • Locate all the dogs in the USA.
  • Approach UKC for breed recognition.
  • Place dogs appropriately so that the breed is seen at its best
  • Place adult dogs in new homes when needed
  • Contact travelers between Armenia and the USA for carry-on puppy transport.

Also I would love to find contact info for Peter Savolainen, geneticist.
If anyone has info or or would like to help with any of the above - please contact me through the website, www.gampr.org. I am working on the site so there are some incomplete pages.
There is a man named Paul Agopian in Romania who is publishing a long article on the gampr this week, in an Armenian paper there. As soon as it is available i will post it to the webpage.

I do share a lot more photos on Facebook, if you are interested you can look me up with my email, rohana101@yahoo.com, and add me as a friend.

There are a lot of attempts at keeping us from recognition as Armenian gampr. People involved in other breeds tend to think that we should be just lumped in with the rest. So I am pushing for recognition,, and the president of the Cane Corso Association of America happens to be Armenian, and has promised to help us in whatever way possible. He knows his business, and I am pretty thrilled to have his support.


Rohana
www.gampr.org
rohana@gampr.org
Attached File  voski nose pet.jpg   88.55KB   8 downloads
Attached File  stamp.jpg   13.55KB   7 downloads

#31 MosJan

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 02:12 AM

good friend just got one :) less then a week a go :), his nephew has 2 more :) darn good looking dogs, Zangi Zrngi :)

our neighbor Artur in N hollywood has one, yo can see his picture in gampr.org,

Posted Image

so has my other friend Edward that owns a ranch in Santa Clarita

if i'm not wrong this is teh picture of his dog at his ranch

Posted Image


good dogs if you own your ranch - but not for the city, be in our house wan Artur's dogs are barking... ohhh boyyyyyyyyyyyy

#32 Rohana

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 01:55 PM

So you are Arthur's neighbor - he is such a nice guy! And his dogs are very good, both bred by Garnik. And actually, they should be especially noisy this week - the female is ready to be bred, but not quite in the right frame of mind~ haha lucky neighbors!
If you could share info with the people who have new pups, and the others....thank you!
His dogs are much older now than in the pic on my site, well filled out and really athletic.
The other dog, Mroot, lives with me now. Ed sent her to me almost 2 yrs ago. She is such a good dog. And she is expecting a litter next month! Here is one of her other pups~
Attached File  Rambo 6 mos 2.jpg   196.06KB   6 downloads
He is 110 lbs at 6 months, in this pic.

Rohana
www.gampr.org

#33 Zartonk

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 05:32 PM

Welcome to Hyeforum Rohana :) I'm real glad to someone from AGCA here!

Zarine has done a great job with the article. Would you by any chance know the basis of the Russian academic opposition though? Its just very peculiar to me.

Edited by Zartonk, 19 April 2010 - 11:44 AM.


#34 MosJan

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 12:58 PM

So you are Arthur's neighbor - he is such a nice guy! And his dogs are very good, both bred by Garnik. And actually, they should be especially noisy this week - the female is ready to be bred, but not quite in the right frame of mind~ haha lucky neighbors!
If you could share info with the people who have new pups, and the others....thank you!
His dogs are much older now than in the pic on my site, well filled out and really athletic.
The other dog, Mroot, lives with me now. Ed sent her to me almost 2 yrs ago. She is such a good dog. And she is expecting a litter next month! Here is one of her other pups~
Attached File  Rambo 6 mos 2.jpg   196.06KB   6 downloads
He is 110 lbs at 6 months, in this pic.

Rohana
www.gampr.org



o yes Arturs dogs are much much much BIGGER now :)

PS. Thank you for the web site :) good info

#35 Rohana

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 01:32 AM

Welcome to Hyeforum Rohana :) I'm real glad to someone from AGCA here!

Zarine has done great job with the article. Would you by any chance know the basis of the Russian academic opposition though? Its just very peculiar to me.


I can fwd you the email from her, its a bit cryptic, and maybe 'opposition' isn't actually the case, but here's an exerpt:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> > Dear Rohana Mayer,
> >
> > I am happy for receiving your reply. Thanks very much. Yesterday, for
> > my surprise,
> > I found out that both Armenian and Russian articles about Gampr are
> > subjected to great
> > suppression, and they even want to delete it from Russian Wikipedia.
> I
> > managed to rewrite
> > it within the night, giving several sources, including Savolainen and
> a
> > Russian geneticist Ryabinina
> > (she proved that Kavkazskaya ovcharka is not the same as
> Severokavkazski
> > Volkodav - a dog,
> > similar to Gampr). But again they are not satisfied, and demand to
> > prove that some international
> > kennel organization recognizes Gampr as a breed. I had never studied
> > dogs before, though I have
> > several published articles on cats and cat domestication, etc. So, I
> do
> > not know the rules and I
> > guess the rules in cat fancy will not much difer from the same in dog
> > fancy. But, wnyhow, I need
> > some prove of such recognition. When I will protect this article, I
> > will try to edit or create the
> > corresponding articles in Armenian and English Wikipedia. But this
> task
> > is urgent. Thus, please
> > sent me any prove of the recognition of Gampr in any respectful
> American
> > kennel association or register.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I hope she doesn't mind the publicizing of her email! If you want the rest of the written conversation let me know. I think she had a hard time getting everyone to be consistent in helping her compile information, so I hope it went well. I think with the way Wikipedia works we can all edit it, but i only know english! and I think she published in Russian as well.
Anyway I tremendously appreciate her efforts. And I don't think I was able to help her as much as she wished. She did let me know that Peter Savolainen is in the US now, so thats a start - I would love to track him down and see what we can do with further genetic analysis.
You can email me at rohana@gampr.org if you want a copy of the email from Zarine, if it helps.

:) Rohana

#36 shaunt

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 02:25 PM

Very nice work!

#37 MosJan

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 07:43 PM

lucy - she is only 6 or 7 months old :) shes getting bigger day by day :)

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#38 MosJan

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 02:09 AM

more of lucy :)

http://www.facebook....6&id=1394731341http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30879716&l=20dfde7256&id=1394731341

http://www.facebook....c&id=1394731341

http://www.facebook....d&id=1394731341

http://www.facebook....d&id=1394731341

#39 Arpa

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 12:21 PM

ՎԵՐԱԴԱՐՁ
Դանիէլ Վարուժան
Հացին Երգը

Այս իրիկուն ձեզի կուգանք, ե՜րգ երգելով,
Լուսնակ ճամբով,
Ո՛վ գիւղակներ, գիւղակներ.
Ձեր բակերուն մեջ ամէն
Թող գամփըռներն արթըննան,
Եվ աղբյուրները նորէն
Դոյլերու մէջ քրքըջան.
Ձեր տօներուն համար դաշտէն` մաղերով
Վարդ ենք բերեր` խաղերով:


Edited by Arpa, 03 January 2010 - 12:22 PM.


#40 Rohana

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 02:39 PM

lucy - she is only 6 or 7 months old :) shes getting bigger day by day :)


She is very pretty. Great proprtions, nice coat. I like this first pic of her best, she has a very intelligent look in her eye.
There is a cute little male her age in Pasadena, belongs to Nishan and Saro Paparian, but I don't have current pics. He is gold/blond and white.

I just added the AGCA constitution, bylaws, ethics and Officers list to the AGCA page,links are on the 'About Us' page.(http://www.gampr.org/about_us.html) I have several nominations for various posts on the board, but 2 need filling .... any takers? The positions are:

Director #6 Public Relations-
Director #6 will preside over the Public Relation(s) Committee, merchandise and the Fund Raising Committee. #6 will ensure that the respective committees are on task and fully functional. Position requirements in addition to those stated above: Must have good organization and people skills.

and
Director #8 Rescue and Newsletter-
Director #8 will oversee the rescue committee; helping them coordinate and communicate with other organizations and keeping apprised of surrenders and dogs in need as well as to the number of successful adoptions. #8 will work closely with the Treasurer in regards to funding the club has available to the rescue committee. #8 will coordinate the production of the chronicle, making sure each party that is supposed to contribute does.

I am basically covering Director #8's tasks, as i do rescue/rehoming from my house, but I am certainly willing to share, or have a director be in charge of the technicalities.

In a couple weeks I am expecting that we will be set up to take formal memberships, as of right now its a bit of a loose-knit group. Mike Ertaskiran of CCAA has offered his help in whatever way needed to help us get more organized and functional - so this is the first step. Also I am hoping we can do some kind of exhibit or show during April...we'll see. Once we finish organizing and have our first meeting we'll know more.

So..any volunteers for the 2 board positions? Email them to me at rohana@gampr.org. There may be nominations coming from the people whom I emailed last night, so if we get multiple nominations, we'll have the excitement of a vote... wheeehew. And its ok for people to nominate themselves. :)


Rohana




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