Dogs, cats and their owners » Dog Breeds » Gampr (Armenian Wolfhound)


Other names: Armenian Wolfhound

Gampr is a large shepherd and guard dog breed, bred since ancient times on the territory of the Armenian Highlands. Most of the livestock is concentrated in Armenia.

Brief information

  • Breed name: Gampr
  • Country of origin: Armenia
  • Weight: males 57-61 kg, females 45-59 kg
  • Height (height at the withers): males 64-66 cm, females 58-61 cm
  • Life expectancy: 12-15 years


  • The name of the breed translates from Armenian as "powerful", "strong".
  • The first images of gampres can be seen on coins from the time of King Artashes I.
  • The breed is included in the list of the national heritage of Armenia, and a monument has been erected in Yerevan in honor of its representatives.
  • Gampra is not recommended for people who do not have leadership qualities and do not have experience working with dominant dogs.
  • For Armenian wolfhounds, both a liberal and permissive style of communication and an excessively authoritarian one are equally harmful. An animal should not feel like a boss in the family, but a humiliated position is not for him.
  • Unconditional attachment to the owner of gampras is not peculiar. If the owner treats the dog harshly and unfairly, the pet pays him with contempt and disobedience.
  • Having a stable psyche and a tendency to make independent decisions, gampr is considered the most dangerous kind of wolfhound in battle.
  • Some cynological associations classify the Gampra as a Caucasian shepherd of the Armenian type.

Armenian Wolfhound is an ideal watchman, guard and shepherd, who has a unique ability for a working dog to think for the owner. Having a reasonable character and a moderately phlegmatic temperament, gampr does not respect blind submission, preferring to understand difficult life situations independently. In parallel, the animal loves to take care of everyone he considers part of his family, so the owner and his closest relatives are provided with timely reflection of any living threat.

Breed characteristics

Aggressiveness ?
Moderate ( Rating 3/5)
Activity ?
Very high ( Rating 5/5)
Training ?
Difficult ( Rating 2/5)
Molt ?
Moderate ( Rating 3/5)
Need for care ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Friendliness ?
Below Average ( Rating 2/5)
Health ?
Good ( Rating 4/5)
Cost of maintenance ?
Above Average ( Rating 4/5)
Attitude to Loneliness ?
Moderate time ( Rating 3/5)
Intelligence ?
Smart ( Rating 4/5)
Noise ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Security qualities ?
Excellent ( Rating 5/5)
*The characteristics of the Gampr breed are based on the assessment of experts and reviews of dog owners.

History of the gampr breed

Hunting with people, guarding cattle and guarding the housing of the gampra began at the dawn of civilization. This is confirmed by the drawings in the caves of the Armenian Highlands, created no later than the III century BC. However, the remains of an ancient dog found by Soviet archaeologists in 1954, in a tomb of the Urartu era, became a direct proof of the impressive age of the breed. The skeleton discovered by scientists belonged to a small wolfhound, which had a strong resemblance to modern individuals, which made it possible to recreate a reliable image of the first gampres.

Armenian wolfhounds are also mentioned in the descriptions of the military campaigns of Tigran II, who lived in the I century BC. At that time, four-legged human friends were attracted to the martial craft, and in peacetime they were used for entertainment like dog fights. In the XX century, the ranks of purebred Gampres began to thin out, which is associated with the annexation of the territories of the Armenian Highlands to the Ottoman Empire. It is worth clarifying that this event was reflected mainly on the watchdog branch of the Gampres, which was considered more elite than the shepherds. It was the individuals of the guard variety that the Turks crossed with their native breeds in order to develop a territorial-protective instinct in their representatives.

Curious fact: It is known that once Armenia was visited by monks from the monastery of St. Bernard in the Alps. The purpose of the visit of the clergy was to buy gampres, which were planned to be bred in the monastery for the excavation of snow rubble and the search for missing people.

From the 30s to the 50s, Armenian wolfhounds were exported to the Soviet kennel "Red Star", where they tried to breed an ideal "service dog". This also accelerated the reduction in the number of dogs, since the best producers were selected for experiments and no one returned them back. In the 2000s, Armenian breeders set themselves the goal of achieving world recognition of the breed and engaged in increasing the number of gampres. Then a cynological union was founded in the country, which united four large breed clubs at once.

It was only in 2011 that the gampres managed to pass the standardization procedure and join the group of working dogs on official rights, after which the animals were immediately declared a national symbol of Armenia. In 2016, the breed was included in the registration books of the World Cynological Alliance (Alianz Canine Worldwide), which united about 80 cynological federations from around the world. Today, the development and spread of the Armenian Wolfhound clan is being monitored by the Armenian Film and Sports Union, headed by its President Violetta Gabrielyan.

Video: Gampr

gampr breed standard

The aboriginal status of the Gampres was reflected in their appearance. Since the owners of wolfhounds have never abused interbreeding, modern individuals do not differ from their ancestors who roamed the territory of the Armenian Highlands 300 years ago. At the same time, the dogs themselves sometimes came into contact with wolves, which also left an imprint on their exterior. The closest domesticated relatives of gampres are the dogs of the North Caucasus and Eastern Anatolia (Turkey) – due to the proximity of these territories, the animals living on them spontaneously bonded with each other.

The average Armenian wolfhound today is a dog of outstanding size, weighing from 40 to 70 kg. The lower height bar for males is 67 cm; for females – 63 cm; the upper limit is 77 and 71 cm, respectively. There are significant differences between the guard and shepherd varieties of the breed. Shepherd dogs are noticeably smaller than their yard relatives, while they differ in a less stable temperament. Sentry gampers have a gigantic physique, they are more seasoned in character, less mobile, but they have an exaggerated territorial instinct.


A massive head devoid of signs of dryness is one of the defining features of the breed. The skull of the Armenian wolfhound is large, wide, it accounts for 60% of the volume of the dog's head. The feet of pedigreed animals are soft, the cheekbones are almost not prominent, but the cheeks are plump and taut. The frontal lines are smooth and parallel to the nose.

Jaws and teeth

Gampers have incredible jaw power with strong, tightly set teeth and a scissor-like bite.


The eyes are distinguished by a deep, slightly "depressed" fit and an almond-shaped, slightly slanted incision. The eyeballs themselves are not large, the color of the iris is honey, but always darker than the color of the coat. The dog looks smart, serious and strict, and the severe expression of the gaze is characteristic not only of adults, but also of one and a half-month-old puppies.


The ears of the Armenian wolfhound are planted at or below the eye line, the set of the ear cloth is wide.


A moderate length and an average slope are typical for the neck of a gampra. The muscle tissue in the area of this part of the body is developed, adding massiveness to the silhouette.


The Armenian Wolfhound is a breed with an elongated build and a body index of 108-110. The elongation of the format is achieved not due to the length of the lower back, but due to the peculiarities of the structure of the chest. The breast itself is characterized by sufficient width and depth, while its lower line should be below the elbow joints and gently transition into a moderately taut stomach.

Gampres have very wide straight backs with a distinctly prominent hillock of the withers. The lumbar region is short, but sufficiently filled. The croup is massive, elongated, without sloping.


Correct positioning and parallelism to each other is a mandatory requirement for both the front and rear legs of the gampra. The shoulder bones and long elbows form a joint with an angle of 108-110 °. The forearms should be strong and take a parallel position relative to each other. The same rule applies to the wrists, but when looking at them from the side, the oblique position should be clearly guessed.

A distinctive feature of the hind legs of the Armenian wolfhound is a slight straightening in the area of the hocks and knee joints. The femur and lower legs are elongated, with pronounced articular joints. The metatarsals have the same length as the thighs, and also differ in rather large sizes and a stretched prenatal part. The dog's paws have a regular rounded shape, tightly gathered fingers and soft pads. The gampr moves with a free powerful gait, keeping the neck, croup and back on the same line.


The tails of the breed representatives have a high fit and are usually lowered downwards. If the wolfhound is angry or just in a hurry on business, the tail rises above the back, becoming like a sickle or a ring.


The modern standard recognizes only the short-haired variety of gampers. These are individuals with thick fur with a very short fur on the muzzle, forelimbs and ears. Long-haired Armenian wolfhounds are not yet registered by cynological associations, but they are quite successfully bred and are very popular in the northern part of the Caucasus.


Formally, any color of gampra is acceptable, but fawn and zonal remain the most preferred. It is desirable to have a "mask" spot on the animal's muzzle. It is not welcome if the dog has a liver or brown color.

Disadvantages and disqualifying vices

Serious defects of appearance usually include an excessively narrow muzzle, lightened iris and nose lobe, bulging eyes, small yellowed teeth, sloping croup, a short body with a sagging belly, as well as a humpback or saddle-shaped back. Blind and deaf gampras, individuals with cryptorchidism and those who lack double hair are subject to disqualification.

Character of gampras

The Armenian Wolfhound is a thinking and very independent breed. However, it should be clarified that animals began to possess these qualities far from immediately and exclusively with the help of humans. Since ancient times, gampres have been used as pets for everything – dogs guarded manors, grazed sheep, pulled people out from under snow rubble, participated in fights in the ring and even went to the bear. Today's representatives of the breed also know how to do all this, but, unfortunately, they do not always get the opportunity to prove themselves in business.

The main thing that distinguishes the Armenian wolfhound from most other dogs is its exceptional independence and unwillingness to obey anyone. As an example: the trust and love of these serious brutals will have to be earned for a long time, and their solvency, as a host, will have to be regularly proved. Experts say that it is easier for Armenian wolfhounds to establish contact with children than with the obvious leader of the pack. Accordingly, treat with understanding the fact that at first the pet will look closely at his senior mentor for a long time.

Another unique trait of Gampra's character is the ability to intuitively anticipate danger and work ahead of the curve. This is also the main problem for the owner: sometimes a four-legged guard makes a mistake and takes completely harmless actions as a threat. For this reason, it is not recommended to relax while walking with a wolfhound in public places – even a dog running around in a muzzle is able to bring passers-by to a state of shock by sight alone.

Armenian wolfhounds have a very developed sense of family community, so in a critical situation, the dog will defend both the pack leader and his children with equal zeal. However, such actions are possible only in families where the pet is sincerely loved and respected. In relations with pets, gampras are loyal and friendly. Moreover, their peacefulness extends only to those representatives of the fauna whom they consider weaker and stupider than themselves. For example, an adult dog will not attempt to kill a kitten, and sheep and goats will certainly try to take under his protection. At the same time, friction is inevitable with large tribesmen, so it is strongly not recommended to take two same-sex gampres for maintenance.

Everyone who is not part of the family circle of the wolfhound is automatically included in the list of unreliable persons. At the same time, outwardly everything will look more than decent – the dog will continue to let the owner's friends into the house and even try to portray extreme indifference to everyone he sees not for the first time. But even here it is better not to lose vigilance: if the guest allows himself an action that will seem suspicious to the gamp, the four-legged bodyguard will immediately react to it.

Education and training

Not so long ago, no one was interested in the training of gampres, since the bet was placed on the natural instincts of the breed. Usually puppies copied the behavior of adults, eventually accumulating their own everyday experience. In addition, in the old days there was an opinion that training wolfhounds only harms by drowning out wolf genes in them. As for the modern representatives of the breed, it will not be possible to dodge training with them. Especially if we are talking about pets living in families, exhibiting at exhibitions and visiting training grounds – it is vital to instill the basics of proper behavior in such gampras.

Special attention should be paid to the stage of puppy socialization: the animal's attitude to the world is laid in the first months of life, and it is very important that during this period the baby has positive impressions of the surrounding reality. Let the four-legged varmint communicate with other animals, visit crowded places and watch children play. It is important for a puppy at the age of 2-3 months to understand that the outside world does not pose a threat and no one is trying to attempt his life.

Don't try to bring up a severe recluse from gampra. It is better to play with your pet more often, invite the dog to the housing where the rest of the family members have gathered, and also communicate to the maximum. Do not forget that the stability of the psyche and behavior of the Armenian wolfhound depends, among other things, on the nature of the relationship with the owner. The most difficult period in gampra's life is adolescence. This is the very time when the puppy begins to undermine your authority and try to take the place of the leader of the pack. The task of the owner at this moment is to stay on the leader's throne without putting too much pressure on the pet (remember, hard pressure irritates and angers the breed).

With intellectual abilities, gampres are in full order, so they need to make just a little effort to pass the UGC, OKD, and even ZKS. Some special approach to training is not required: use any standard training manual. By the way, most of these manuals suggest first determining the type of GNI (higher nervous activity) of the pet and starting from the result obtained in the study. And of course, do not forget that one person should be engaged with the dog, as well as take it to the instructor's courses or to the training ground, and the one for whom the status of boss and alpha male is fixed in the eyes of the animal.

Maintenance and care

Gampr is by no means a chain and especially not an apartment dog. The breed is very freedom-loving and contactable, therefore, in conditions of limited space, combined with a lack of communication, it quickly degrades. The best accommodation for an Armenian wolfhound is a spacious rural courtyard and an aviary. Representatives of this family are hardy dogs, not spoiled by excessive comfort, so they easily tolerate cold, wet weather and other climatic surprises. Of course, the pet will have to be provided with a insulated booth for the winter, and a plank floor will be built in the aviary, but, in general, the breed feels free and natural in outdoor conditions.

Gampr does not suffer from hyperactivity and does not wear like a meteor, but physical activity is necessary for him. The optimal type of activity for a dog is walking at a calm pace in nature. Light jogging behind the owner's bike is also not prohibited, but very dosed and only if the animal has no problems with the joints.


Like any working dog, the gampr does not need frequent washing and an arsenal of care products. An exception is made only during the molting period (spring and autumn), when the breed's coat is renewed. At this time, the dog needs to be combed daily with a brush, in advanced cases, connecting a fluffer to the process. Bathing in natural reservoirs is not prohibited for Armenian wolfhounds, but it is not recommended to systematically drag the animal into the bath. The pet's coat is capable of self-cleaning, and too frequent hygienic procedures deprive it of its protective functions, leading to fragility and plumpness of the hair. However, it is also impossible to bring a dog to a critical state when its dog's skin sticks together from dirt, so it is, of course, necessary to wash the gampra, but only when it loses its neat appearance.

Regular inspection of the dog's eyes and ears is mandatory, so once or twice a week arrange an inspection of the condition of the hearing and vision organs. Dust and mucous lumps can be removed from the eyelids with any clean cloth moistened with strong tea or chamomile infusion. It is easier to remove sulfur from the ears with the help of hygienic drops and lotions that can be found in any pet store. Gampras, especially sentinels, are not very active pets, so their claws do not wear off. Accordingly, in order to relieve the animal from discomfort, get ready to arm yourself once a month with a claw cutter for large breeds and treat paws.

From an early age, the Armenian wolfhound needs to be accustomed to the need to brush his teeth. To do this, buy an anatomical toothbrush and a special gel with a pleasant taste for the dog. If the pet stubbornly resists mechanical cleaning, you can try a hygienic paste, which is simply applied to the gums. The cheapest means for dissolving plaque is a finger attachment made of a medical bandage soaked in a soda solution (half a teaspoon of soda per glass of water). Solid treats from veins, as well as tomato juice, can provide a good result, but the animal will have to develop a habit for the last product.


In the recent past, gampra workers ate more than sparsely. For example, the shepherd line of the breed solved the issue of nutrition independently, extracting rodents in the meadows or being content with the remains of fallen sheep. Yard dogs were fed by their owners, while bones and chowder were more often in the pet's bowl. The basis of the menu of today's gampra should be animal protein, that is, lean meat, fish, offal, cartilage. The meat component may be of poor quality – the cherished, stringy, tough pieces will be eaten by a dog with no less appetite than a first-class steak.

Fish is necessarily given without bones and ideally cod. Buckwheat, barley and rice cereals, as well as vegetables (except potatoes and legumes), fruits and greens will satisfy the need of gampra in fiber and vitamins. By the way, experienced breeders recommend not to cook cereal porridge, but to steam it with boiling water. A good option from the point of view of usefulness is bran brewed with meat broth, which can be flavored with egg, beef fat and other "thickeners".

Armenian wolfhound puppies under the age of six months are fed 3-4 times a day, depending on how they gain weight. During this period, the basis of the diet is milk with the addition of semolina and oatmeal porridge, boiled vegetables, chicken eggs, fish fillets. Raw meat for puppies with weak immunity is heavy food, so it is given little by little after the baby has received a "package" of age–related vaccinations. At 6 months, gamprov is allowed to be transferred to two adult meals a day, provided that the dog is not underweight. At the same time, you can add a little milk to the feed so that the puppy eats more willingly. Fasting days are mandatory for large working breeds, so once a week the pet should be allowed to starve, providing it with sufficient drinking water in advance.

Health and diseases of Armenian wolfhounds

Gampres were not affected by commercial breeding or genetic problems associated with interbreeding, so the breed is free from hereditary diseases. However, like all large, fast-growing dogs, Armenian wolfhounds are not all right with the musculoskeletal system. In particular, adolescents and elderly individuals are prone to arthrosis, joint dysplasia, as well as subluxations of the elbow joints.

How to choose a puppy

  • A kennel selling gampra puppies must be registered with IKU (International Cynological Union).
  • Do not forget to specify which breed line the seller breeds – the habits of the guard and shepherd gampra can vary greatly.
  • Evaluate the quality and length of the puppies' fur coats. The Armenian wolfhounds of the short-haired variety have a double coat, with a pronounced undercoat, and the length of the hairs is from 2 to 6 cm.
  • It is better to inspect the animals in the kennel with a pedigree specialist, since small gampras are very similar to puppies caucasian and Central Asian sheepdogs.
  • Don't be confused by the fact that not all Armenian wolfhound puppies have a contrasting mask on their muzzle – the standard does not classify this feature as an exterior defect.
  • Carefully filter the ads for the sale of puppies on the Internet. The breed is not widespread outside of Armenia, so it is very easy to run into greedy divorcees and mestizos, diligently passed off as purebred gampres.

Gampra price

Average price of a gampra puppy – $350 – $450. There are still few kennels in Russia offering Armenian wolfhounds for sale and booking, so it is worth considering the option of buying a dog from Armenian breeders. For example, you can look into the nurseries "Mkhitar" and "Vagharshapat", whose owners have managed to gain sufficient experience in breeding the breed.

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