Armenian Gampr Breed Standard

ORIGIN OF BREED: Historic Armenia/Lesser Caucasus

TRANSLATION OF ORIGINAL STANDARD: From Armenian to English by Christine Karapetyan



UTILIZATION : Originally a livestock and family guardian, also occasionally guards during war and may be used in hunting.
The primary regions of Armenian Gampr populations include Transcaucasia, the lesser Caucasus and throughout the Armenian Highland, including the areas of Ani, Van, Nemrut, in the provinces of Dyarbakir, Trabzon and Erzerum. The Hovashoon gampr is the primary shepherd’s guard dog in the northern half of this region for the last several thousand years. The Wolfhound has been the primary guardian of families and sheep in the southern half of this region for several thousand years.

General Appearance: The gampr is a rugged dog with visible strength and quiet power. The coat is variable in length; it may be short, medium or long, but there is always some evidence of a mane. The gampr is lean with flat, elastic muscles; built for power, agility and endurance at a trot. There is generally a slightly longer body than height.

Substance: Should show substantial bone, but not appear heavy & no rounded bulging muscles. Strong, firm muscles & tendons, laid flat over strong bones. Lean physique.

Skull: The head is relatively large and impressive with extremely powerful jaws. Skull is 50% or more of the head’s length. The flews are tight and dry.
Stop: The top of the skull slopes gently to the nearly-parallel muzzle with no marked stop.

Nose: The nose has black/dark skin pigment. Fading slightly pinkish with age is normal on cream colored dogs, and dogs who carry genetics for light color.
Muzzle: The muzzle is 50% or less of the length of the head. Muzzle should be set on skull so that entire shape is smooth and relatively continuous. A mildly triangular top view is preferred. From the side, the muzzle tapers slightly.
Lips: Lips have black/dark skin pigment at edges, but are covered in fur at all external portions. Fitting nicely.
Teeth: White, strong, well developed, closely set, meeting in a scissor bite. None absent.
Eyes: Almond shaped, neither bulging nor recessed very deeply. The gaze is intelligent, confident and serious. Even young puppies demonstrate a serious and stern gaze typical of the breed. Pigment of skin around eyes is black. Iris is gold to brown color
Ears: Top of ears set slightly above the eye level. If uncropped, ears should be hanging, not overly long, triangular
Neck: Strong, well-muscled, slightly arched or straight, no shorter than the length of the head.

Withers: Moderately pronounced.
Back: Broad, straight, muscled and powerful. Level preferred in adults. Young dogs may be higher in hips than withers, but preferably not past 20 months.
Loin: Wide and muscular.

Croup: Long, broad and just slightly sloped.
Chest: Proportionate and deep, slightly rounded, should descend to or below the elbow.
Elbow: The correct placement of the elbow is at the level of the soft cartilage where the rib bones curve downward, but not below the rib cage.
Belly/Underline: Continues smoothly from the chest line, nicely tucked-up.


Set high, carried low in repose. When agitated or showing interest, the tail is carried high, in a curve or scythe-like. Curled is acceptable. Natural short tails are acceptable, with minimum length 3cm.

Forequarters: The shoulder blades are long and oblique, angulated at 108-110 degrees. The forearms are straight and parallel.
Forearms: straight, powerful but not overly muscled, parallel.
Pasterns: The pasterns are long and only slightly angulated.
Hindquarters: The thighs are long, thick and muscled, vertical when seen from rear.
Stifle: the stifle angle is open, nicely turned.
Hock: strong, when viewed from the rear, well let down.
Feet: Round to slightly elongated, strong, compact, with elastic and soft pads. East-west allowed in front only and if very slight, and not affecting pasterns. Dewclaws are common.


Agile, smooth and balanced. The forearms and hind legs move in parallel. No vertical motion of back or withers at a trot.


Shorter on the muzzle, face, flat areas on sides of shoulder blades and hindquarters. Some feathering on legs and thighs. Double coat. Outer coat is longer on the neck, chest, and over the withers and down the line of the back, by a visibly noticeable amount. The undercoat in winter should be well developed to protect the dog from the elements. Coats should shed cleanly twice each year, and able to be pulled smoothly from the remaining coat without excessive matting or struggle in grooming. Undercoat is softer and finer than outer coat.

Any color is permissible except blue, champagne/Isabella, merle, harlequin; however skin of the nose and eye lids is black. The nose may fade to slightly pinkish with age on light colored dogs. No pink spotting on eyelids or nose.
A black mask/muzzle is desirable.

Northern: Minimum 26 inches at the withers for males and 24 inches for females after 2 years of age. The weight should be according to the size, at least 80lbs for females and at least 100 lbs for males by three years of age. Average weight is 110 lbs females, 120 lbs males.
Eastern: Minimum 25 inches at the withers for males and 23 inches for females after 2 years of age. The weight should be according to the size, at least 70lbs for females and at least 90 lbs for males by three years of age. Average weight is 100 lbs females, 115 lbs males.
Western: Minimum 26 inches at the withers for males and 24 inches for females after 2 years of age. The weight should be according to the size, at least 80lbs for females and at least 100 lbs for males by three years of age. Average weight is 110 lbs females, 120 lbs males.

FAULTS: Any significant deviation from minimum size parameters quoted in this standard. Forehead too bulging, transition from forehead to muzzle (stop) abrupt.
Muzzle very wide
Thick lips on the lower jaw that pad the gums: bulldog type mouth; very ‘wet’ lips, dished profile. Bite: Anything other than a scissor bite.

Eyelids: white or pink pigment of eyelids. Entropian eyelid. Minor fault: excessive whites of eyes showing, excessive looseness in lower eyelid
Ears upright if uncropped, prick ears
Short neck, ewe or weak neck

Weakly developed withers, that do not extend above the topline of the back. sloped back, not level
Arched or narrow loin
Croup very short, or too much slope in croup.

Chest extending well below point of elbow, too wide for smooth gait and endurance. Forequarters: knuckled over, strong east-west, toed in.
Hindquarters: straight stifle, sickle hocks, straight knee/’peg-leg’ when walking.
Feet: splayed toes

Movement : Deviations in relation to the normal movement (the dog brings the legs in or puts them out). The articulations do not function with sufficient ease. Lack of suppleness of back and loins movement. Rump raised during the trotting movement. Slight side-to-side swinging of the rump (rolling of the hindquarters).


Markedly timid or aggressive behavior.
Lack of difference in coat length over withers, neck and chest
very wide, short muzzle
Blue or white colored iris (eyes).
Back very sagging or very arched.
Rump very narrow, short or distinctly falling away.
Blindness or deafness NOT from injury
toeing out more than 30 degrees, toeing in. ANY toeing out of parallel caused by weakness in pasterns Elbows too open, or positioned above or below the soft portion of lower rib cage; weak pastern; Hindquarters : Strongly marked deviations in relation to the parallelism. Lack of angulation; hindquarters excessively straight. Legs bowed. Hindquarters very overbuilt.
Short stride/restricted movement; vertical movement of body while trotting. Paddling.


Very fearful, expressed as fearful uncontrolled aggression
Incapable of guarding livestock.
Absence of one of the canines or one of the incisors; absence of one of the third or fourth premolars or of one molar.
‘bulldog’ type: wide muzzle/thick chin; rounded bulging muscles; Tight hair coat
blue, Isabella, merle or harlequin color of the coat
Lack of mane and/or hindquarter feathering: coat an even length throughout
Lack of undercoat December-April
Bilateral or unilateral cryptorchidism.