The Fila Brasileiro, also known as the Brazilian Mastiff has gained immense popularity as a guard and hunting dog. It is known for its massive structure and strong, aggressive temperament. Being a descendant of the Bloodhound, Bulldog, Rrafeiros and the 15th century English Mastiff, this Molosser breed is characterized by a rectangular body, long, heavy muzzle, thick neck, loosely hanging skin, large tapering ears and a short, smooth coat.
|Other Names||Brazilian Mastiff, Brazilian Molosser, Cao de Fila, Brazilian Fila, Brazilian fighting dog, Dogue Brasileiro|
|Coat||Smooth, Short, Dense, Soft|
|Color||Black, Brown, Yellow, Chestnut, Fawn, Brindle|
|Group (of Breed)||Working, Mastiff, Molosser|
|Lifespan||9 to 11 years|
|Weight||90 to 110 pound|
|Height||23.5 to 29.5 inches|
|Temperament||Loyal, Intelligent, Powerful, Courageous|
|Good with Child||Yes, when socialized|
|Barking||Barks for a purpose.|
|Competitive Registration||FCI, CAFIB, CKC, NKC, APRI, ACR, DRA, ACA|
This breed was developed to keep a watch on the plantation farms and chase animals while they were fleeing away. Their good tracking ability enabled them to hold on to their prey till their masters arrived.
Paulistas, the residents of Sao Paulo, Brazil, are given the credit for organizing a breeding program for this breed. The first official standard for the Fila Brasileiro was published in 1946. Dr. Paulo Santos Cruz started breeding the Fila, also being responsible for fixing the CAFIB standard. The Brazilian Confederation Kennel Club follows the policy of theFederation Cynologique Internationale, accepting dogs having FCI pedigrees. The United Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club has not recognized this breed.
Its large size and aggressive nature have compelled certain countries like Israel, Denmark, Malta, Australia and Cyprus to ban them. The Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991, passed by the British Parliament categorizes the Fila Brasileiro as one such threatening breed that may cause harm or fatal injuries to people. This act even states that in order to get the ownership of the Fila a lot of legal formalities is to be completed.
Being bold and courageous, the Fila exhibits complete loyalty and faithfulness towards its owners, doing anything to protect them from all dangers. They are also very friendly, loving and playful with the children of the family, becoming their best playmates, as well as mastiff-in-waiting.
However, their docile, gentle and obedient behavior is only reserved for their near and dear ones. In fact, they are known to be very intolerant and aggressive towards strangers, going to the extent of attacking them without any prior warning. This unpleasant disposition of theirs towards unknown people is called Ojeriza in Portuguese.
The Fila puppies have a strong affinity for chewing anything at hand, which heightens when they are bored. Thus, it is essential to engage them in certain activities and keep all your belongings at a safe distance from them.
This aggressive, strong willed breed needs intense socialization training which is much different from the regular dog trainings. Proper training since their puppy days may help them in being gentle and tolerant when confronting strangers and other animals.In order to prevent any unpleasant attack refrain from leaving them alone with any unfamiliar person or animal. Owing to their dominant and headstrong nature they are not suitable for the first-time owners. Rather they need a firm, assertive trainer who may handle them patiently and tactfully, preventing them from donning the leader’s hat.
The Fila Brasileiro puppies need four bowls of food per day when they are of eight to twelve weeks of age, whereas three to six months old pups are to be given three meals in a day. When they are a year old they can be given two meals a day. Since they are prone to bloating it is recommended not to overfeed them. High quality dry dog food mixed with water or soup is a good option for an adult Fila. They can also be given cottage cheese, vegetables, fruits and cooked eggs in limited amounts. Clean water should also be provided on a regular basis.
One such instance of a Fila attack can be seen in the case of 66-year-old Clive Bernard Coe, an employee at the Agricultural Development and Services Limited, who was found dead in his workplace with dog bites all over his body. Though the actual cause of his death had not been known, the two Fila dogs were seen standing next to his body and was thought to have some connection with his death.