Aïdi or Chien de l'Atlas
(Atlas Dog, Atlas Sheepdog, Kabyle Sheepdog, North African Kabyle, Shawia Dog)
This North-African dog, originally used as a flock guard and protection dog to defense nomads and their belongings, also exhibits strong scenting ability, making him a reliable hunting companion. His thick, dense coat is adapted to the most rigorous weather conditions, and also protects him against jackals and other predators.
The Aïdi has been used traditionally to protect nomads and their belongings, as well as their domestic flocks of sheep and goats against intruders, thieves or predators. Its remote origin, however, remains unclear, but it has been suggested that the Aïdi may be the original ancestor of the Pyrenean Mountain Dog.
His strong scenting ability is also appreciated by hunters, who rely on the Atlas dog for his trailing abilities, pairing him with a swift-moving breed, such as the Sloughi, that will then chase down the prey.

The breed is known by different local names according to the part of Morocco or Algeria where it is found. The name Aïdi is more common in Morocco, whereas Shawia and Kabyle are used in Algeria. The generic term for these Berber dogs of the Atlas is Atlas Dogs. Note, that this breed never worked as a herding dog. The function of a herding dog consists in controlling and guiding the flock, whereas flock guardians are usually larger dogs, like the Komondor or Caucasian Ovcharka, whose function is to protect the flock against predators.

The Aïdi has a powerful, muscular body, protected by a coarse, thick, weather-resistant coat which protects him against the heat in the arid plains as well as the mountain cold. The color is white, but black, black and white, tawny and 'faded' red are also found.

The head is bear-like with slightly forward dropping ears and dark eyes. The tail is long and bushy.

The Aïdi's height is between 21 to 25 inches (53-64 cm) with a weight 55 pounds (25 kg).
The Atlas dog is naturally protective and vigilant.  Agile, but cautious, the breed is very attached to its human family and will do well as a companion and watchdog. Although Aïdis are said to be very obedient and loyal this is not a breed to be kept inactive. This is a high-energy breed that needs plenty of exercise and space and, ideally, a real job to do.

Recently, the French Independent Centre for the Training of Guide Dogs (Centre Indépendant d' Education de Chiens-Guides d'Aveugles) has admitted a male Aïdi in a guide dog training project run by the center. 
The Moroccan Club du Chien d'Atlas was recently founded to promote and protect this flock guard and protection dog.
Photo: Kadiri Ahlam
(Moroccan Chien de l'Atlas Club)
In Brief


Flock Guard
white preferred
Character and Temperament
Photo: Kadiri Ahlam
(Moroccan Chien de l'Atlas Club)
Article content © The Canine Information Library 2006. Photo courtesy: Ms. Kadiri Ahlam (Moroccan Chien de l'Atlas Club).
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