Fila Brasileiro originated in Brazil and counts among her ancestors English Mastiffs, Bloodhounds, Bulldogs, and even some herding dogs. Throughout the breed’s history, it has been used as a guard for homes and businesses, a police dog, a hunting dog, and even a guide dog for the blind.
The Fila Brasileiro is a large, heavy, sturdy dog, standing 23.5 to 29.5 inches tall. Most weigh between 125 and 175 pounds. The Fila Brasileiro has a big, broad head and a deep muzzle with heavy lips and flews. The ears are dropped. The skin is thick and loose, creating folds and heavy dewlaps on the neck. The coat is short and smooth, with all solid colors accepted except white and gray. The coat is easy to care for with twice weekly brushing with a soft bristle brush or curry comb.
The Fila Brasileiro breed does not require a great deal of exercise. A half-hour of exercise per day is sufficient for adult dogs. Although the Fila Brasileiro is a dignified breed, these dogs are also playful and enjoy their owners’ company. Protective and watchful dogs, Fila Brasileiro dogs need early and continued socialization. Without it, they can become overly protective and aggressive or fearful.
A well-socialized dog is much more able to make good decisions as to how to protect her home and family. Early training is needed, too, to channel the breed’s desire to work. The Fila Brasileiro is very willing to please her owner and is a smart, trainable dog. Training should be firm and structured, yet fun and without too much repetition. The Fila Brasileiro needs a dog-wise, experienced owner who understands the breed.
Before buying a Fila Brasileiro puppy, you need to know if you are ready to take on the responsibility for training. You must have a 6-foot, secure fence. You must also understand the Fila Brasileiro dogs temperament and be prepared to avoid accidents with strangers. Health concerns include bloat, torsion, and hip dysplasia.
One reply on “Fila Brasileiro”
“Faithful as a Fila dog” is an old Brazilian proverb.
The Fila Brasileiro has a temperament unlike that of any other breed.
Docile with his own family and immensely loyal, the Fila has an extreme distrust of and aversion to strangers and detests being touched by outsiders.
One might take his massive bulk for laziness or clumsiness — and one would be terribly mistaken. Like all Old World mastiffs, the Fila Brasileiro is calm and quiet, until aroused. Then he shifts into his fierce protector’s role in an instant, moving with tremendous speed and athletic agility. With his hindquarters raised slightly above his forequarters, the Fila Brasileiro moves like a great feline, with a long, low, stalking stride. He tends to amble or pace and there is a rolling motion to his gait.
Fila puppies should be friendly and trusting, and with proper socialization become more discriminating as they mature. Their eventual degree of aggressiveness depends on genetics (parents and grandparents) and environment (socialization and training).
Though this breed was not used for dogfighting (indeed, they often hunted in packs and got along fine), dog-to-dog aggression can be a problem in modern lines. The Fila Brasileiro may live peacefully with other pets in his own family, but won’t back down from a challenge by a strange dog.
This strong-willed breed is inclined to trust his own judgment, but will defer to confident leadership that includes consistent rules and cheerful praise.
Still, because most people are not experienced enough at “reading” and responding properly to canine body language, the Fila Brasileiro is “too much dog” for the vast majority of households. This is a serious working dog with tremendous strength. Very few people really have the knowledge or skills necessary to manage this breed.