Algerian Mastiff

He is not recognized by the F.C.I.

Origin
Algeria
Translation
Francis Vandersteen
This breed is also known as
Algerian Mountain Dog
Algerian Herder
Greater Atlas Dog
This ancient breed of dog is on the brink of extinction, with only 2 pairs in Algeria today.

A close relative of the Moroccan Aidi, the Algerian Mastiff is the largest of the Atlas mountain dogs, and is considered the descendant of a breed that disappeared centuries ago on Mount Tahat in the northwest of the country.

The Algerian Mastiff has much blood and lineage from European breeds when the Phoenicians, and further back the Romans and various Vandals, brought large numbers of their dogs to Africa.

In the early days of the Turkish Empire, in the 1500s, the Algerian Mastiff is believed to have received blood from the Anatolian Shepherd, resulting in increased speed and agility, but also a change in appearance. Over the next 200 years, this "new and improved" Algerian Mastiff received certain bloodlines from Turkish and Asian dogs.

Declared determined, mean and intractable, the Algerian Mastiff became unpopular during French and Arab rule.

From time immemorial, shepherds and cattle herders have needed strong, energetic dogs to protect their livestock and villages, but also to provide a source of entertainment by taking part in baiting and fighting contests.

Over the past 60 years, the number of Algerian Mastiffs has declined steadily, and the authorities doubt there are any pure specimens in existence today. It doesn't help that every dog found in Algeria today seems to bear this name.

Elongated, muscular and rugged, most of the dogs found today have waterproof, well furnished coats, with rich hair of variable length, in a varied range of colors. The average height is around 68 centimetres.

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