The Aidi, also known as Chien de l’Atlas is a Moroccan dog breed typically used to guard herds of sheep and goats. This dog is also known for its hunting skills and has good scenting ability. They are used together in hunting with the Sloughi breed of dogs. The Sloughi will typically chase down prey that the Aidi has located by scent. These dogs are historically found in the mountains of North Africa where their primary use was to guard property and livestock from predators like jackals, wolves, foxes and snakes. Their keen sense of smell made them useful additions to nomadic caravans in the Sahara desert, where these dogs would be help to track prey.
Aidis can be about 21-25 inches (53-63 cm) tall and weigh about 55 pounds (25 kg). Their muscular, lean bodies are covered by a think, coarse, weather-proof coat and their tails are heavily plumed. The head looks somewhat bear-like and in good proportion to the rest of the body. The muzzle is tapered and the nose is black or brown. They have strong jaws. Their lips are tightly drawn and are black or brown in color. They have medium sized ears which drop slightly and are tipped forward. Their eyes are medium as well and are of dark color with dark rims. Coat colors range from white, black, pale red, tawny, and black and white.
Temperamentally, these dogs are very energetic. They can also be very protective and this trait makes them excellent guard dogs and watch dogs. These dogs are powerful, agile and always ready to spring to action. They are most receptive to training that is consistent and firm but not harsh.
The history of the Aidi can be traced back to Morocco and they probably originated in the Sahara desert. Despite their prevalent use to guard sheep, these dogs have never really worked as sheepdogs. They have been, however, popularly known as the Atlas Sheepdog until this categorization was corrected in 1969. These dogs are also known as Berbers, named after the Berber tribes who used them widely. They bear some resemblance to the Pariah dogs, who have probably contributed to the creation of this breed. As part of nomadic desert tribes, these dogs would frequently be aggressive and guard the perimeters of tribal camps at night.
Aidis can also make good pets around the house, provided that they have enough exercise to keep them occupied and happy. These dogs are affectionate pets and can be somewhat aloof towards strangers. They are usually not aggressive. One of the most remarkable qualities of these dogs is their ability to jump from one loose rock to another in a desert environment and their speed in racing over loose ground. They are usually protective of children in their family.
Being developed naturally among harsh conditions in the Sahara desert and surrounding mountains, these dogs have very strong immunities and do not suffer from any known specific health issues.