The Aidi Dog Breed – The dog from the Atlas Mountains

Aidi Dog

The Aidi dog breed is energetic and protective.

The Aidi is a livestock guardian dog that has also been used for hunting, as it has a good nose for scent tracking. It has also been called the Berber Dog after the nomadic Berber tribes of North Africa (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia).

The Aidi dog was originally used for protection, to guard its owner and livestock from predators and strangers. This has resulted in a breed that is innately vigilant, alert, wary of strangers and fiercely protective, like most Livestock Guardian Dog breeds.

Aidi Dog – Temperament

An alert Aidi dog standing for a photo in a photo studio
The Aidi dog breed

The Aidi bonds very strongly with its ‘family’, and gets on well with children, enjoying playing in the yard. They are affectionate and enjoy human company, but are not ‘clingy’ and do not need constant attention. They are used to being left alone to guard for hours at a time.

However, they are energetic dogs and DO need a decent amount of exercise each day. This is a working breed, and they need something to do in order to remain happy. If left alone for too long without exercise or human contact, they will become bored and destructive.

The Aidi is aloof and wary around strangers and animals it does not know. This is not an aggressive breed, but they will respond to aggression from another animal very quickly. They are very territorial, and will defend their ‘home’ against perceived threats.

A brown and white Aidi dog standing sideways on a grass lawn

Aidi – Breed History

We can trace the origins of the Aidi dog breed back to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, where the nomadic Berber tribesmen used them for guarding and protecting their sheep and goats as well as themselves, especially at night.

At this time, when the tribe set up a camp, they would take the most alert and aggressive dogs from their pack and set them at intervals around the camp to keep watch. These dogs were big and strong enough to deter almost all intruders, whether animal or human. They can tolerate extremes of heat and cold very well.

In the 8th century, when Mohammed’s armies invaded what is now modern-day Spain, the Berbers went too, taking their Aidi dogs with them. It is thought that the Aidi is one of the ancestors of the Great Pyrenees (Pyrenean Mountain Dog) from that time.

In the years since then, the Aidi dog has gradually become more popular as a family dog and a companion dog in the home. They were still used for livestock protection and also for hunting, using the Aidi’s excellent sense of smell.

They are most common in their original homelands – Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia – and are quite rare in other countries. You may have to hunt around quite a bit to find a reputable breeder if you are interested in welcoming an Aidi dog into your home.

The Aidi needs a large yard at a minimum. They are probably better suited to living in the countryside or on a farm. They are not suited to apartment or city living – they do not do well in confined spaces. Remember, this breed was developed in wide-open desert and mountain settings.

It’s not so much the space available to run around and burn off energy; it’s more to do with the dog’s need of space around it. It was bred to detect potential threats and intruders from a distance, and the breed needs to feel that it has space to patrol.

Also, this breed may have problems if there are other animals in the house, especially small pets. It may get on with another dog if they are socialized from a very young age, but you probably could not introduce a new dog into the Aidi’s home once it is more than 12 months old, for example. It will feel a need to defend its territory.

Vital Statistics

Height: 20 to 25 inches at the withers.
Weight: 50lbs to 60lbs
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years

Ease of Training

This not a breed for first-time dog owners. The Aidi needs an owner who has previous experience of dog ownership, preferably a Livestock Guardian Dog breed. Due to their breeding as watchdogs and protectors, they think and react quite differently to, say, a Labrador Retriever, or even other hunting dogs like the Irish Wolfhound.

First, in order to reduce the Aidi’s suspicion and mistrust of strange people and animals, it is extremely important to socialize the dog as a puppy. This will get it used to being in unfamiliar surroundings and meeting unfamiliar people and animals in a secure situation.

Second, you need to start obedience classes early. I recommend attending classes with other dogs, to help with socialization, but I also think it’s worthwhile getting 1-on-1 sessions with a professional dog trainer, at least for the basics; The professional will teach the dog some essential basics, but more importantly, he will show you how to train the dog.

The Aidi is an intelligent dog breed, and they are capable of learning quickly, given the right approach. They need a positive and consistent attitude. Heavy-handed training will just not work.

Aidi dog breed puppies posing for the camera against a white background
Aidi puppies


The Aidi dog breed will give you all the protection you are likely to need. First, it is an extremely good watchdog. With its heritage of keeping watch over flocks of sheep, goats, and human owners, it is constantly alert and vigilant. The slightest unfamiliar sound or movement in the vicinity will make the Aidi investigate and bark.

Second, this is a breed that knows how to take on intruders if needed. They will try to deter the intruder first with barking and posturing. And at 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing up to 60lbs, this dog has the physical presence to deter all but the most keen. While not as big nor as aggressive as a Caucasian Shepherd, the Aidi has the attitude required to have a go at an unwanted guest.

SO, a great watchdog AND a good guard dog = enough protection for most people.


The Aidi dog has a long, coarse thick coat, which originally helped to keep the dog warm during cold desert nights, and also provided some protection against attacking animals. This coat is also weather proof against wind and rain.

They usually shed their coat twice a year. They need thorough weekly brushing with a firm bristle to keep on top of dead hairs. During the shedding season they should be brushed every day.

FURminator deShedding Tool

We have found that the absolute best way of grooming any long haired dog breed is to use the FURminator grooming tool! We highly recommend this unique brush from Amazon to keep your dog in tip top shape. Click on the image below to find out more…

FURminator Undercoat Deshedding Tool for Dogs

The Aidi should only be washed or bathed infrequently, when it is really needed, to protect the skin oils that permeate the coat.

Other grooming tasks include trimming the dog’s claws – usually best done by a vet or professional dog groomer; brushing the teeth regularly, and checking the ears for cleanliness and signs of infection.

Health Considerations

The Aidi is a tough and robust breed, and usually does not suffer from genetic problems. The few conditions that may occur at some point include;

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation

Story of the African Dog

We have found this amazing book, The Story of the African Dog, telling the history of the African Dog from its earliest presence at the fire of Stone Age humans, through the evolution from wolf to protodog to domestic dog and subsequent migration into the African continent with nomadic Neolithic herders.  You can read more about this really interesting book and buy online at Amazon here.

African Dog Breeds

Famous Aidi dogs

I couldn’t find any – please let me know if you are aware of one, via the Contact Me link. Thank you!

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