If you haven’t heard of the Aïdi, you are not alone. It is also known as the Berber and Chien de l’Atlas and it is an African breed that was developed in Morocco, to protect its owners (Northern Berber and other nomadic tribes) and their flocks (sheep and goats) from predators in the Atlas mountains of Libya, Morocco and Algeria, where they lived and worked.
Origins of the Aïdi
An ancient breed described by the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) as having “existed since time immemorial”. The rugged and tough Atlas Mountains, necessitated the selection of dogs that were fearless and had a very independent nature, developing a dog as tough and rugged as his environment. The Aïdi is not only a hardy, practical breed, but also extremely beautiful, as is typical for the Berbers, albeit their dogs or horses. When naming them, the Berbers kept it simple, “Aïdi” translated simply means “dog”.
Breed characteristics of the Aïdi
The Aïdi is a large, strong and yet elegant dog. According to the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale), the breed has been listed since 1963 in Section 2: Mollosoide. This group contains many of the European mountain breeds, such as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog or the Maremma Abruzzo Sheepdog. Whilst there are similarities, the Aïdis are slimmer, more elegant and more atheltic in build.
The Aïdi and Sloughi breeds are the only officially dog breeds recognized from Morocco.
- fearless and strong herding and guard dog
- belongs to the Molossoids
- good, scent based tracking dogs
Health of the Aïdi
As with the Africanis, the Aïdi has remained a primitive dog where survival of the fittest is the greatest decider of which animals live to breed, as such they are not known to deal with breed specific issues and illnesses.
Appearance and coat of the Aïdi
The breeding selection of the Berber never favoured a particular colour, as such they are found with coats that are white with markings and an attractive mask, black, brown and brindle.
They have a double coat which is fine, dense and medium to long. In winter, it forms a dense underlayer that provides the perfect weather protection.
The Aïdi manages to combine gracefulness with a solid build, a muscular torso, strong legs and broad paws. The medium long tail has a slight curve, is well coated and hangs down half high when standing.
- in white, black, brown, brindle and multicoloured.
- Coat is medium long to long
- graceful and nevertheless strong physique
Breed specific information for the Aïdi
- Shoulder height males and females 52 to 62 cm
- Weight males and females 22 to 26 kg
- Life expectancy 12 years and more
Aïdi Fun Facts:
- They were finally recognized as a breed in 2003, in spite of their origins going back 100s of years.
- An Aïdi and Sloughi will often be sent to hunt together, the Aïdi is not very fast but is an exceptional tracker and the Sloughi is exceptionally fast, taking down the animal that the Aïdi had tracked.
- Historically, the Aïdi wasn’t held in high regard by the tribesman, certainly not considered as highly as the noble Sloughi which was valued, and treated accordingly. Sadly, Aïdi dogs were usually left to fend for themselves, scavenging what they could providing a less than easy life.