Information about the Fila Brasileiro

The Fila Brasileiro is a large working breed of dog developed in Brazil.

The Fila Brasileiro is a Molosser breed with large bones and loose skin. The breed standard requires males to be between 65 and 75 cm (25.5 inches to 29.5 inches) high at the withers and weigh at least 50 kg (110 lbs). Females are slightly smaller and are expected to be 60 to 70 cm (23.5 inches to 27.5 inches) high at the withers and weigh at least 40 kg (90 lbs). They have a rectangular build and though they are massive, their natural agility is apparent. The head is big and heavy with a deep muzzle. The ears are large, thick, tapered and either droop or fold back exposing the interior, depending on mood. Neck and back are well muscled, the chest is broad and deep. Unlike the vast majority of canines, the croup is higher than the withers. Legs are heavily boned.

Though large in size, the Fila does not appear static. Rather he is harmonious, cat-like and above all powerful. The expression is noble, solemn, dignified but somewhat melancholic. The Fila appears self assured and calm but is never absent in expression. When at attention, the gaze of the Fila Brasileiro is firm, alert and unwavering.

The coat of the Fila Brasileiro is smooth and short. Black, Fawns (Red, Apricot, or Dark), and Brindled (Fawn, Black, or Brown Brindle) colors are permitted, except Mouse-Grey, Black and Tan, Blue and Solid White. White markings, not exceeding 1/4 of the coat surface area, are permitted on the feet, chest, and the tip of the tail in the FCI standard.

More than any other breed, temperament is given great emphasis in the Fila Brasileiro standard. The breed is known for its courage, faithfulness to family, determination, self confidence and ojeriza. The Fila is gentle with family children and very docile with its owner, always seeking his company. The Fila Brasileiro is an excellent estate guardian. It does not hide its dislike towards strangers. This aversion, not forward aggression, is known as ojeriza.

The breed is renowned for their faithfulness to family and friends, but this is not a breed for everyone. The Fila needs a confident, experienced, savvy owner who is aware of the breed’s innate tendencies. Filas are not well suited to busy households which entertain many guests, as they do not generally enjoy having guest in their home. The Fila is a natural guardian breed.

Filas bond strongly with their immediate families and show extreme loyalty and protectiveness towards them. They live to protect their loved ones, including children and other pets. Very few accept strangers and many Filas never tolerate any stranger in their home. Like all guardian breeds, no stranger should be left unsupervised with a Fila. These dogs will instinctively bite anyone they see as a threat to their family. Perhaps because of their aversion towards strangers, they are excellent family dogs, devoted to the children in their family. In public a well socialized Fila has a regal presence, it is quiet, confidant and commands respect as it closely observes the activities around it.

Though not typically kept as pets in big cities, a well socialized Fila can and has lived successfully in apartments provided that they adequate exercise. Unlike many mastiff breeds, Filas require a lot of exercise and without exercise a Fila can become frustrated and destructive as can any other dog.

The Fila Brasileiro is believed to have been evolved from a number of breeds,the Mastiff, the Bulldog, Bloodhound & The Rafeiro. The Fila Brasileiro breed was bred and raised primarily on large plantations and cattle farms where they were originated.

They were taught to chase down jaguars, cattle, and other animals, as well as runaway slaves. The dogs would grab the slave or animals by the neck and hold them until the farmer arrived. This instinct can be observed among puppies when they are playing.

The first written standard of the breed was edited in 1946. The Paulistas were responsible for organization a planned breeding program, opening a stud book to register dogs. About the registries, CBKC (Brazilian Confederation Kennel Club) follows the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) policy and accepts for registration only dogs with FCI pedigrees, orientating the breeders to make a hip dysplasia control and besides other health problems. The Fila Brasileiro is described as a Brazilian Mastiff or a Brazilian Molosser. In the U.S., there are two specialty Fila Clubs and both follow the CBKC/FCI Standard, which is the original and legitimate standard of the breed recognized all over the world. In the U.S., the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) does a statistical registry of all Filas that were x-rayed to diagnose hip dysplasia.

The Brazilian army compared this breed to Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds in a five year study using these dogs in the jungle under extremely hostile conditions. The following traits were observed: intelligence, aggressiveness, sensibility, temperament, energy, resistance, rusticity and strength. German Shepherds were found to have the highest intelligence and Doberman Pinschers the highest aggressiveness. The Fila Brasileiro was found to be superior in every other category.