The loyal Armenian Gampr is a contrast of gentleness and caution, combined with great courage and physical power. The Gampr is noted for its independent mind and calm, keen intellect. This breed bonds with its family and those it is charged with guarding; the Gampr will protect them with its life, but only after it first calmly assesses the need for aggression.
Armenian Gamprs have a strong desire to belong to a family, but, unlike more domesticated breeds, they do not devote themselves to their owners unquestioningly. They are reserved in showing affection and need emotional input and attachment from their families in order to bond with them. The relationship with the Gampr is more akin to a friendship of equals, which, if not maintained, will fade away. The owner sets the tone for the relationship—how he or she treats the Gampr will determine how the dog responds. Gamprs need to feel they are important to their family. They tend to bond first with women and children and to recognize the leader in the family.
They are cautious creatures, in relationships and in work. When herding and guarding, these dogs avoid risks, choosing the safer route. In nature, particularly in mountainous regions, the Gampr moves with stealth, grace, and in silence. The dog follows his or her master at a distance, in wide circles to guard the perimeter, always keeping track of those it is charged with or believes it needs to protect. Their natural instincts will trump learned behavior in an emergency. They make excellent guard dogs as that is one of the primary tasks they have been charged with for thousands of years.
Armenian Gamprs are friendly toward animals they are charged with guarding, and gentle with children. Their natural herding instinct renders them companionable toward other domestic animals, as well. These dogs bond with livestock in a similar fashion as they do their humans, establishing affection for lambs and kids first. If they are to be used to guard a flock, they need to get to know its members and in particular, be involved with the babies. They will protect and take care of those who are weak.
Once they bond with their family or flock they will protect them, but only when they determine an individual needs them to intervene. One of the Armenian Gamprs’ most notable characteristics is their independent thinking. These dogs seem to have the wisdom bred into them. When their masters were absent, Armenian Gamprs were left to make their own decisions; this independence of thought makes it difficult for them to obey a command they deem unreasonable.
Armenian Gamprs are markedly different from many dog breeds in that they are calm and not inclined toward unnecessary aggression. They are not startled, surprised, or reactive out of anger. They will not automatically attack an intruder until they first determine whether there is actual imminent danger. Their calm nature, however, never compromises their sophisticated guarding instincts. These practical and intelligent dogs evidence a great deal of self-control, especially in stressful situations. They are accommodating and flexible, able to adapt quickly to changing situations.
Gamprs like to keep a low profile; when nothing is going on, they tend to stay inconspicuous. Their “M.O.” reminds one of the expression, “walk softly but carry a big stick. They do not bark unless they have a reason to, in which case their distinctive sound is impressive and intimidating. The noise they make when growling has been described as akin to a “terrifying roar”.
Armenian Gamprs have a strong instinct toward dominance, so puppies need to be well socialized with humans, dogs, and any household pets, in order to establish their place in the pack and learn your rules. They will accept only strong leadership, but should be treated with respect. Otherwise they will become aloof, and winning back their trust is extremely difficult.
Armenian Gamprs need large, open space for exercise; they thrive best in the countryside. Gamprs need vigorous, daily exercise to stay fit and happy. These strong, hard working dogs need and want to be kept busy with challenging tasks to perform.
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