Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)

Other names: Berger de l’Atlas, Atlas Mountain Dog, Atlas Shepherd Dog, Berber Dog

Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)

The Aidi is a breed of dog from North Africa. Up until recently it was rarely seen out of its native lands, but its popularity elsewhere in the world is on the rise. It is used as a herder and a guardian of livestock and as such has an incredibly protective streak. An outstanding watchdog it may be, but this dog is also known to be a loving and sensitive companion. 

Key facts about the Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)

Life expectancy :





Temperament :


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Origins and history

Among North African farmers (sedentary and nomadic) Aidis have been a popular choice of herding dog for centuries. It is still used today in its original role, and in Morocco the Aidi is favoured for use as a guard dog. Due to their being increasingly sought after as companion dogs, Aidis are slowly spreading into other parts of the world.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 2 - Pinscher and Schnauzer - Molossoid and Swiss Mountain and Cattledogs


Section 2 : Molossian type

Physical characteristics of the Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)

  • Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)
    Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)
  • Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)
    Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)
  • Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)
    Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)

    Adult size

    Female : Between 20 and 24 in

    Male : Between 20 and 24 in


    Female : Between 55 and 77 lb

    Male : Between 55 and 77 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    The Aidi has a muscular appearance. Its muzzle is shortish and conical. The ears are medium length and carried half-dropped and away from the cheeks. The top line slopes gently towards the croup. The tail is carried low when the dog is inactive and more jauntily when it is in motion. 

    Good to know

    The Aidi is best known for its ability to guard livestock. It is a supreme watchdog and although it is edgy at the best of times it is fearless and will not back down from confrontations. It is also a sensitive breed of dog. The prospective owner of an Aidi must be mindful of this dog’s complicated character. 


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      An affectionate dog is the Aidi but it is also sensitive and easily unnerved. This breed of dog requires its owner to be patient and loving. 

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      A dog that likes to play and to interact but also one that startles easily. The Aidi does not enjoy rough play and will not appreciate being teased. 

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      This is a nervous dog. Among its family it will be calm and relaxed, but in a changing environment or unfamiliar territory it will be very much on edge. 

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      An intelligent dog, the Aidi will easily get bored. It requires almost constant attention and interaction. 

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      The Aidi is a herding dog rather than a hunter. It is not likely to exhibit predatory behaviour. 

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      Aidis tend to be very wary of new people and take some time to warm to a visitor in their home. They may even adopt some sort of defensive behaviour. 

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      The Aidi is very dependent on its owner. It needs to feel safe in order to stay relaxed and well-behaved. This dog prefers to shadow its owner. 

      Behaviour of the Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)

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        Tolerates solitude

        The Aidi tends to follow its owner from room to room when indoors. It is a dog that hates (and fears) solitude. 

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        Easy to train / obedience

        A firmness and confidence are needed of a trainer for this dog. The Aidi is easily distracted and easily bored. If subjected to harsh training the dog is likely to become painfully shy and withdrawn. 

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        Because this dog is always alert and has a strong instinct to protect it tends to bark at anything it thinks is threatening the household. 

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        Tendency to run away

        Well-trained dogs of this breed will respond to a recall

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        If it is not properly looked after the Aidi can cause extensive damage inside the house.

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        The Aidi is not known to be a glutton. Its stomach is sensitive to changes of diet and of frequency of feeding.

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        Guard dog

        The Aidi is an excellent watchdog. Its bark is backed up by fearless defensive behaviour. 

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        First dog

        The Aidi could be considered as a first dog, but its training and integration with the family and other people are essential duties to avoid behavioural problems in the future. 

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          Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi) in a flat

          A well-fenced garden is an insufficient provision for this dog, and a flat is too small and confined a space in which to keep such a highly-strung animal.  

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          The Aidi needs a great deal of exercise in order to stay healthy and calm (10 to 12 miles of walking or running a week are recommended).

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          An Aidi will not enjoy travel. Anything that disrupts its routine and carefully planned day will cause the dog to be nervous and silly. 


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            Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi) and cats

            This dog is not suited to a household where a non-canine pet already resides. 

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            Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi) and dogs

            Generally speaking, other dogs are not the friend of the Aidi. This dog is very territorial and will not appreciate sharing space with another canine. 

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            Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi) and children

            On the whole this breed is good with older children, but its dislike of boisterous play and teasing makes it an unsuitable playmate of young children.  

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            Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi) and the elderly

            Because it is a dog that requires a lot of exercise the Aidi is not a good choice for people of senior years. 



            A dog of this breed could cost around £400 to purchase. Cost of care is between £80 to £110 per month.


            The Aidi needs at least twice-weekly brushing with a firm bristle brush. Bath this dog only when necessary and use a mild dog shampoo. 


            This dog sheds a moderate amount of fur.   

            Nutrition of the Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)

            You should feed this dog a dog food formulated to support the health of an active dog. 

            Health of the Atlas Mountain Dog (Aidi)

            Life expectancy

            Overall the Aidi is a healthy breed of dog. Its average life expectancy is 12 to 13 years.

            Strong / robust

            This dog is robust, fearless and headstrong. It heals very quickly from injury. 

            Withstand heat

            The Aidi is incredibly tolerant of the heat. However, you must still make sure there is plenty of fresh water on hand for this dog. 

            Withstand cold

            The Aidi does not tolerate cold and wet weather particularly well.  

            Tendency to put on weight

            If an Aidi is not exercised as regularly as it should be and is fed too much human or substandard food it will become obese.  

            Common illnesses

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