The Aidi is a dog breed from Morocco that is recognized by the FCI with standard number 247 and is classified in Group 2 of Schnauzer, Pinscher, Molossoid, and Swiss Mountain and Australian Cattle Dogs, in Section 2.2 of Molossoid and Mountain Dogs. Along with the Sloughi, the Aidi is only one of two Moroccan dog breeds recognized by the FCI. The breed is also referred to as the Atlas Mountain Dog, Aïdi, Atlas Sheepdog, or Chien de l'Atlas.
Profile of the Aidi dog breed
- Size: 20-24 inches (52-62 cm)
- Weight: 55-77 pounds (25-35 kg)
- FCI group: 2 - Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid breeds - Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs and other breeds
- Section: 2 - Molossoid breeds and mountain dogs
- Country of origin: Morocco
- Colors: Black, red, white, black and white, yellow-brown
- Life expectancy: 10-11 years
- Suitable as: Guard dog
- Character: Agile, alert, energetic, sensitive, caring, powerful
- Exercise needs: High
- Grooming: Low maintenance
- Coat: Thick, medium length, lush
Origin and breed history
For centuries, the Aidi's task has been to protect the herds of shepherds in the Atlas Mountains. Often, he lives in close association with humans, as the livestock herders are nomads. Additionally, this dog is also used as a hunting dog for flushing game alongside Sloughis. The Atlas Mountain Dog is thus a kind of mix between a livestock guardian and a shepherd dog.
Less emphasis was placed on the appearance of the Aidi during its breeding than on its abilities. The dogs had to be able to do their work and be insensitive to the weather in the mountains. In the Moroccan mountains, it can be very hot during the day and quite cold at night. Therefore, the Aidi is now available in almost all possible color variations from white and beige to brown and black.
White mountain dogs had already been spread throughout Europe for centuries, originally from the eastern regions. A relationship between them and the Aidi is assumed. To this day, the Atlas Mountain Dog is widespread in Morocco. The FCI recognized the breed in 1963. However, in recent years, the population of this dog has been declining due to changes in the living conditions of people in Morocco, and the dogs are no longer needed as much as before.
Aidi temperament and personality
The Aidi has a typical livestock guarding dog character. He is equally vigilant and intelligent. With great courage, he is able to defend his loved ones and his territory. This dog is never fearful. As protective and brave as he appears on the outside, the Aidi is gentle and adaptable in many cases towards his family. The friendly dog enjoys spending time with his people and shows a very loyal, affectionate, and dependable nature.
The Aidi is a sturdy dog that appears very strong in its body build. It is muscular without being cumbersome. These dogs can reach a size of up to 24 inches (62 centimeters) and a weight of up to 57 pounds (26 kilograms). For a livestock guardian dog, the Atlas Mountain Dog is relatively small and light and belongs to the medium-sized dog breeds.
The dog's head has a conical shape and blends harmoniously into its overall appearance. Its eyes are of medium size and have a dark color that can range from dark amber to golden brown. The ears are semi-erect and of medium size.
The Aidi's tail is relatively long and bushy. When the dog is relaxed, it hangs down. When it is in action, the tail is usually carried upright. The dog's limbs are elegant and slim but still very muscular.
The coat of the Atlas Mountain Dog is of medium length and very dense. It protects the dog from strong heat and cold. The fur on the face is slightly shorter than on the body. Male dogs often have a characteristic mane around the neck area. The color of the coat is not fixed for this breed, there are both white and beige as well as brown and black representatives of this breed.
Aidi training & care
The Aidi is easy to train if the owner understands the importance of clear consistency, empathy, patience, and establishing a clear leadership position. Anyone who adopts an Aidi must be aware that this is a very natural and primitive dog. Additionally, it must be ensured that the Aidi gets enough exercise and stimulation.
The Atlas Mountain Dog is naturally an excellent watchdog who will confront any intruders. It is difficult to predict how this breed will react to other dogs, children, and other pets. In most cases, the dogs seem to be very tolerant, but in some cases, they are not. Therefore, the Aidi is not unconditionally suitable as a family dog. The best chance of compatibility between the Aidi and other animals is if the dog is socialized with them from a very early age.
This very primitive breed definitely requires outdoor activity and exposure to nature, as this is where they feel most comfortable. Therefore, it is very important to live in the countryside with the Aidi and provide them with a suitable environment. The Aidi should not be kept in an apartment in the city and is not suitable as a traditional house pet. Although the Atlas Mountain Dog was also used as a hunting dog, their protective instinct is stronger, so they are unlikely to leave their territory independently. Beginners should steer clear of the Aidi. If they cannot train this breed properly, it can become dangerous due to their strong protective instinct.
Is the Aidi a family dog?
The Aidi can definitely be a good family dog. However, this is not true for all individuals of the breed. If this dog is to live as a family dog, it must be very well socialized and trained.
The best diet for such a natural and primitive dog is a raw food diet. However, the Aidi can also eat homemade food, dry food, and wet food. When feeding a raw food diet, it is important to ensure that the food is properly balanced in terms of nutrients.
The same applies to feeding homemade food. In this case, the food should not be seasoned, as this can cause stomach problems in the dog. Wet food should generally not be fed exclusively, but should only be used as a supplement to the diet, as the very soft food can damage the dog's teeth in the long run. To keep the dog's teeth healthy, it is also important to give him regular chew toys.
Since the Aidi is a large dog, it is important not to give him a protein-rich diet during his growth period. Too much protein leads to rapid growth, which can cause joint problems for the dog later on. In addition, the amount of food should always be individually adjusted to each dog, his age, his activity level, and his size.
Health - Life Expectancy & Common Diseases
The Aidi has an average lifespan of about 11 years. The breed is considered very healthy and robust and usually enjoys good health. There are no known breed-specific diseases. The dog is not at all sensitive to cold because it is used to spending icy nights outdoors in the Atlas Mountains. The Aidi can also handle heat relatively well because it can get very hot during the day in its homeland. With sufficient exercise, this dog does not tend to become overweight.
Maintenance of the Aidi
The grooming of the Aidi is relatively easy. Dirt and moisture do not get stuck in the dog's fur. Nevertheless, the dog should be brushed briefly once a day, also to remove excess hair. In addition, the claws and ears should be checked, as dirty ears, in particular, can lead to inflammation. If the claws are too long, there is a risk of injury to the dog.
Activities and training for the Aidi
In most cases, the Aidi is not a dog that can be particularly successful or enjoy dog sports. It is enough for him to have a house and a garden to guard and where he can move freely. Of course, the herding dog also needs to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors, so daily long walks through forests and meadows with him are a must.
Disadvantages of the Aidi
The disadvantage of the Aidi is certainly its strong protective instinct, which we usually do not need if we acquire this dog as a family pet. If the dog is not well trained and controlled, this protective instinct can become a problem, especially if the dog perceives its owner as weak and feels responsible for protecting them.
Another thing that is difficult with this breed is the fact that it cannot be said with certainty whether the Aidi is 100% compatible with children, other dogs, and other animals. Some representatives of the breed may have difficulty getting used to other living beings even after appropriate socialization.
Is the Aidi right for me?
People who want to get an Aidi must have a clear understanding of what it means to handle a livestock guardian dog properly. As these dogs can become dangerous if not properly trained, it is very important to provide them with a suitable environment and a species-appropriate task. A livestock guardian dog definitely needs a house with a well-fenced garden in the countryside close to nature. These dogs should never be kept in cramped city apartments.
Since they are very intelligent and accustomed to working, Aidis can quickly show behavioral problems if they get bored. Those who want to travel with the herding dog or take it regularly on trips to an urban environment should accustom it to these situations early as a puppy, otherwise its strong protective instinct could become a problem.
Although the Atlas Mountain Dog is generally obedient, the owner should still have a certain amount of dog experience and know how to train this dog. It is impossible to say in general how the Aidi will behave with children within a family. Some breed representatives are very gentle, calm, and playful family members, while others prefer to be left alone by children. If an Aidi likes children, it is to be expected that it will develop a particularly strong protective instinct towards them.
Of course, this livestock guardian dog is a good watchdog. Although it will not attack anyone, it will still confront any intruder threateningly, as it sees it as its duty to protect the house. The breed has no problem living outdoors all year round, but the dogs also need to be close to their humans. Dog beginners should not get an Aidi because the training can be very difficult for a beginner. Also, this dog is not recommended for older people, as in most cases they will likely be overwhelmed by its strength and instincts.