It is believed that wolves are much stronger than dogs, but over several thousand years, people have developed breeds that can challenge this fierce predator.
Actually, these breeds’ very purpose was to protect flocks of sheep and human dwellings from wolves. Today, this need has sunk into oblivion, but these dogs still amaze with their force and size.
For many, the first breed to come to mind is probably the wolfhound. But contrary to popular belief, this is just a collective image of several different dog breeds.
The Armenian gampr or, as it is also called, the Armenian Wolfhound was bred specifically to protect pastures from mountain wolves. Gampr appeared 2,500 years ago and has reached our days almost unchanged.
Gamprs grow to impressive sizes, and their endurance is considered one of the highest among tetrapods. Highlanders often tell stories of how a single gampr has challenged an entire pack of wolves.
Dogs of this breed have lived throughout the Armenian Highlands since prehistoric times, as evidenced by cave paintings found in various areas of historical Armenia. Among the 2 thousand years old cave paintings discovered at the mountains of Ukhtasar and Jermajur and the Gegham mountain range, about 20% portray dogs similar to the modern gampr.
Historically, shepherd dogs have been used to protect herds and dwellings from predators and aggressors. The first mention of the use of large dogs by the troops of the Armenian king Tigran II dates back to the 1st century BC.
According to the testimony of 5th-century historian Movses Khorenatsi, the infant King Sanatruk was saved by a dog: “The legend says that the baby was protected by a newly-appeared marvelous white animal sent by the gods. But, as far as we found out, the following happened – the baby along with the nurse was found by a white dog that was accompanying a search group.”
The Armenian gampr is the national dog breed of Armenia. This very ancient breed of dogs guarded flocks of sheep against predators since ancient times.
The gampr was recognized by the World Canine Organization (IKU) on February 10, 2011, and by Alianz Canine Worldwide on September 21, 2016.
Gampr is a large and powerful dog – however, it is not as gigantic and heavy as some representatives of show-class shepherds. A dog that is too heavy would have weak joints and breathing issues and simply would not have survived in the conditions in which gamprs have lived for more than one millennium.
We should also say a few words about the temperament and character of the gampr. Gampr’s aggression and anger are directed exclusively at those who threaten the property or life of its owner, whether it be a man or a beast.
Based on its physical and mental data, the Armenian gampr is one of the most dangerous dogs in battle and one of the best wolfhounds in the world. In contrast with many dog breeds spoiled by unreasonable selection, gampr remains an exceptionally healthy working dog.