Also known as the Berber Dog or Atlas Mountain Dog, the Aidi (pronounced "AY-dee") traces its origin back to Northern Africa and is believed to have been developed in Morocco. They were widely used by the Berber tribes, native groups from Northern Africa, to guard their properties from predators and unwanted strangers in the Atlas Mountains of Libya, Morocco, and Algeria. When the first standard for the Aidi was published in 1963, the breed was wrongfully named the "Atlas Sheepdog" even though they never served as a herder; this was later corrected in 1969. The Aidi has been used as a hard-working guardian dog over the decades, but recently, they are seen as household pets in their native country.
Sturdy and docile, the Aidi closely resembles the Pariah Dog and has a heavy, yet soft coat which is unusual for an African breed. Their thick, medium-length, weather-resistant coat serves to protect them from the elements and also acts as "armor" during confrontations they may engage in with predators while guarding. Aidis have dark medium-sized eyes, medium-sized ears that drop slightly, and a strong muzzle with a black or brown nose depending on the color of the coat. The tail of the breed is carried low during rest or higher when they are on the move.
The Aidi is an active, responsive, and highly protective breed that will alert their families of unfamiliar sounds or strangers on the property, making them an outstanding watchdog. Even though the breed is a dedicated guardian, these loyal dogs can be very affectionate towards the ones they love. Aidis are fairly smart and respond best to positive reinforcement training because of their sensitive personality, but their independence requires a firm and consistent owner. Due to their background, they may be a bit wary and suspicious of new faces. Early socialization around different people, animals, and sounds are very important to avoid aggression and distrust towards others. Although not as active as other breeds, they still require regular physical and mental stimulation but can fit into a variety of urban settings if properly exercised. Recognized mostly as a hard-working guardian breed, the Aidi is starting to become a cherished family pet that loves human companionship.