By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 18th October 2022

Fila Brasileiro


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 18th October 2022

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.

Fila Brasileiro Pictures

Quick Information

Other NamesBrazilian Mastiff, Brazilian Molosser, Cao de Fila, Brazilian Fila, Brazilian fighting dog, Dogue Brasileiro
CoatSmooth, Short, Dense, Soft
ColorBlack,  Brown, Yellow, Chestnut, Fawn, Brindle
Breed TypePurebred
Group (of Breed)Working, Mastiff, Molosser
Lifespan9 to 11 years
Weight90 to 110 pound
Height23.5 to 29.5 inches
TemperamentLoyal, Intelligent, Powerful, Courageous
Good with ChildYes, when socialized
BarkingBarks for a purpose.
Originated inBrazil
Competitive RegistrationFCI, CAFIB, CKC, NKC, APRI, ACR, DRA, ACA

Fila Brasileiro Video


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.



Taking the adult Fila for a long walk or a brisk jog once a day helps in maintaining a proper physical and mental health. A large fenced area will be a good option for them. Owing to their stranger-aversion trait as well as their tracking and hunting instinct it is essential to use a leash while taking them out in public. Do not over exercise your Filas especially the puppies as it may hamper their growth.


The dense, smooth coat of this breed is needed to be brushed weekly with a firm bristle brush. Bathing and shampooing is to be done when needed. Clean its loosely hanging ears with cotton balls dipped in canine ear solution and massage it well. Brushing its teeth weekly with a soft toothbrush helps in preventing bad breath whereas trimming its nail on a monthly basis prevents injury or infection of any kind. Since they have a tendency to drool after a drink, it is essential to wipe their mouth with a clean cloth.

Health Problems

Some of the common ailments and diseases that the Brazilian Mastiff suffers from are Canine Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, gastric torsion, bloating, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), osteochondritis, luxating patella, panosteitis and cancer (which is hereditary)


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.


Interesting Facts

  • The famous Brazilian proverb “As Faithful as a Fila dog” has originated in reference to the immense loyalty shown by this breed.
  • This breed is the national dog of Brazil.
  • When slavery was a legal affair in Brazil, the Fila with its strong tracking power was used to hand over runaway slaves to their masters without causing any harm to them.

24 responses to “Fila Brasileiro”

  1. Teri whitfill says:

    My cousin moved in my home with me and brought George one of her Brazilian mastiffs George was a beautiful 3 yr old dog at 140 lbs. I was scared of him when she first brought him into my home. She had a choker chain on him with spikes poking in his neck. George was raised with children and was very gentle with children and my two medium sized dogs. I took his collar off and didn’t have any problems with George. My cousin left and gave George to me. I had a wedding at my home and chairs were dropped off. After the wedding The among the men picking up the chairs was and African American. George who had never had a problem with anyone tried to go through the French door to get him. I had George about 2 years and adored him. One day he was chasing my female dog and had a crazy look on his face. I didn’t get in the way because I thought he might attack me. I had a lot of grandchildren around and became scared after the woman in San Francisco was killed by those two dogs. I put an add in the paper for 1500 so I could find George a good home. I did not want him becoming some guard dog somewhere. I got a phone call and a woman and her 6yr old son came. They were African American. I spent about three hours with them with George and he really seemed to enjoy them and they loved him. I greatly discounted the price and told them I would not cash the check for two weeks as I’d never gotten rid of any dog before and didn’t know if I could let George go. They took George home and she called me telling me I didn’t know my dog. When she got home her husband started coming down their stairs and she thought George would kill her husband. Now I don’t know why George went after her husband but I did believe his breeding did have something to do with it. George came back home and I could stop crying.

  2. aimee Garner says:

    I am struggling a bit with my 12 month old female fila. Her sister recently had to move home with us, she is my sons dog. 2 intact females is not a good mix. She has become increasingly aggressive towards her sister & any stranger that steps for near our property. Aggressive to other dogs and strangers, cant even take her on a walk. She roams freely on 10 fenced in acres. Any suggestions?

    • Carl Boone says:

      You have a lot of work to do. It sounds as if she is doing what she is supposed to do, but somebody(the master) did not train her properly, if at all. My boy is 7, & I have been able to walk him off leash for years now. I speculate that your son is young,(20’s), & probably like many others, saw a Fila or a video, & had to have one. He probably thought, “I’ll have no problem. I’ve had pits, rotties, or something like that, & they behaved very well. Fila are not like any other K-9 breed. They come into this world believing that they are superior to humans. In fact, I will say they are, because Jim next door who has pit bulls, does not realize how intelligent & stubborn this breed is. This breed will test the waters. If you give them any leadway, your household just became theirs. If you are not VERY experienced at training a dog, & I don’t mean just basic commands, then I highly advise you higher an highly rated trainer. Make sure you inquire about the trainers experience, & personally, I would look for one familiar with the breed. If you’re not careful, & diligent at doing this, you could very well one day be facing manslaughter charges. This breed is not for everybody. Placing this breed in your average persons possession, is about as safe as giving a toddler a loaded pistol with one in the chamber. I’m 5′ 10”, & 160 lbs. My boy could fit my head in his mouth, & they do have enough bite pressure to crush a skull. I’m not trying to scare you, but you really need to know what it is that you possess. Good luck.

  3. Lori says:

    Oh my, we rescued a Fila and she is so awesome. She had bonded with our family fast. And with our GSD. And she is 12. I would advise any one with a brain to get a Fila and train him or her. Great family dog.

    • Bruce Chapman says:

      We rescued a beautiful brindle neutered male Fila from a small breeder of horses and dogs, divorced and going out of business, had been living in a barn stall, about 3 years old, a very frightened, underweight 115 lbs dog. Now a confident 8-year=old and 135 lbs, I have never seen any aggressive behavior with people, or other animals, although he is rather aloof and standoff-ish. Almost never barks, but he whines and vocalizes when excited. Very tolerant of children, no more difficult to train than a Lab, and only happy when I am in sight. He is completely trustworthy as a family dog. But there is One Large Disadvantage as an indoor dog: he slobbers. Slobbers like a St Bernard, and when he shakes his head, it flies all over. You will be wiping it off the walls.

    • Vikki Szatkowski says:

      We also rescued a female and she is amazing. She is the best dog we’ve had. Her and our English Mastiff are beat friends and love to cuddle up to us all. We are lucky to have her in our life.

  4. Gaven Smith says:

    Hi there.I am in South Africa ans neen n propper male and female to breed with pls..cant finf any Fila here desperate please

  5. Cesar Palhano says:

    I had one… Fargo was his name… miss him so much! Wonderful dogs.

  6. laura says:

    do these dogs like to swim?

    • Sergey Uhanov (Certified Veterinarian) admin says:

      Hi Laura,
      Yes, aside from being a good hunter and guard dog, the Fila Brasileiro is adept at swimming.

      • Margie Diamante says:

        thanks you for this info as i have year old B. Mastiff – she is great
        now i know why she likes the water -h helped me in the water from Hurrican Harvey yesterday was fun

  7. Felipe says:

    The saying exists but is only popular in some states. The country is very big!
    The queue in no case attacks their owner or someone who is well received by him, he stay observing when a visitor arrives with the owner, similar to Doberman behavior, but in the absence of its owner he is extremely aggressive and territorial in the presence of strangers and other animals. It is an intelligent breed, because it has a brain structure of a hunting dog and guard, has a flaccid skin so that it is not broken during the attack by jaguars, at a time when Brazil had many jaguars.

    *Fila It is one of the most territorial dogs in the world and different from the PitBull the queue is a watchdog the Pitbull is a dog developed to fight on dogfights.

    *Queue has great emotional connection with children.

    *This is somewhat controversial but I’m going to talk, I realized that some may have aversion to black-colored people.(It was initially developed to capture slaves.)

    • Carl Boone says:

      That is an absolute ignorant statement. They tracked their target/prey by means of smell, not color. Why on earth did you feel compelled to bring up race as an issue? I’m going to assume you live in the US, as I do. We seem to be the only country that still lives in the past. The statement you made, is why we as a country can’t unite. People feel as if “the white man” had done them wrong, & they are owed something. You really need to educate yourself on the subject, before you make statements like that. Slavery happened everywhere in the past, & nobody can change the past. If people would stop living for the past, & live for the future instead, this whole world could be a more peaceful place. We are all human. If your son was on his death bed & needed a blood transfusion, would you turn away another race’s blood? I doubt that you would, because it is the same thing that courses through you.
      Let me finish this off with a brief history lesson. I believe you’ve watched too much tv, & listened to too much propaganda. You do realize that the slaves in America were acquired from Africans, that were stronger tribes? Africans sold their own, weaker kind. If anger towards any one race needs to be directed, it needs to be done to their own race. At the time, slavery was accepted, & slaves were purchased, much like animals. The “white man” did not make Africans slaves, they bought slaves, that were already enslaved. On May13, 1888, the imperial family passed Lei Aurea, “the Golden Law”, making Brazil the last nation in the Western Hemisphere to formally abolish slavery.

  8. Lisa Oswald says:

    i too owned a Fila and he was the best dog I*ve ever had. The intense bond we shared was unbelievable.Unfortunately he started having seizures a little after he turned a year and his last seizure did him in and I had to put him to sleep. That was the worst day of my life, when I’m ready I plan on getting another Fila. So don’t downgrade this breed if you’ve never owned one, my Zeus was awesome and the breed is awesome

  9. George R Dienos says:

    What an ignorant person to say never to own one of these wonderful family dogs. My 3 year old loves his big burly friend whom I may say is the best dog I’ve ever owned. I have owned primarily German Shepard’s which are awesome but my Fila is very special!

    • Wesley says:

      If you’re not willing to go hard on trainning, you should not have a Fila. If from a proper kennel, the Fila is a dangerous dog, and accidents with strangers can happen.

  10. Wander says:

    A few corrections here:
    Interesting Facts:
    There isn’t such a thing as a brazilian prover: “Faithful as a Fila dog” here in Brazil, Fila is not considered a very reliable and not even a bit intelligent.

    It’s a breed which almost nobody would want to own, people often would rather Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Dobermans, GS, Malinois, Akitas or even Dogos Argentinos – I wouldn’t advice nobody to own one.

    • Wander says:

      Avoid Fila!

      • Leo says:

        U dont know what u are talkng about.

        If u never heard the proverb “fiel como um fila” u r either not brazilian or a very stupid person

        • Carl Boone says:

          I will have to agree with Leo. I live in the U.S., & know the proverb well. You are obviously trolling, & know absolutely nothing about the breed. That is one of the most popular dogs in Brazil, & anyone that has spent a mere 5 minutes researching the breed would have known that. I have a Fila, & that dog is my best friend. He would just assume death, rather than any kind of harm come in my direction. With that being said, I also have him so well socialized, that I be had him with small children, a 300 lb pet pig, & her litter of piglets. He was so gentle with the piglets, you would have thought that it was his own offspring. Now that’s a dog that aims to please it’s owner. Let me also add that not only was he hanging with pigs, but he was already 1.5 years when we got our pig. He was also on a raw diet, so essentially, he was hanging out with his dinner, & she was his friend.

      • Silver says:

        I have filas. They are amazing dogs. The only reason they would ever hurt someone is if that person was hurting me. You have to socialize them when they are young or else they will hurt someone. People who own them must be able to control them.They are very intelligent and respond to commands well. As for reliable I’ve seen my dogs chase off a bear with out a second thought to their safety.

        • Stacy Baltimore says:

          This is the best dog bar none I have owned them since 1995,& have owned a lot of other breeds to try pitbull, Shepard etc number one fila’s

      • Virginia Franchini says:

        avoid? Best dog I’ve ever had!

    • Shirley says:


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