Among the few Brazilian dogs that exist, the Fila Brasileiro undoubtedly stands out as one of the most important. This breed, originally from Brazil, is known in its country of origin as the Fila Brasileiro, and about its appearance there are several theories, difficult to prove today.
The Fila Brasileiro or Brazilian Mastiff is a large and powerful dog, which is used in his home country as a guardian of property, hunter of large prey and protector of livestock. When slavery was legal in Brazil, it was also used to capture escaped slaves.
The Fila Brasileiro has the instinct of protection towards its highly developed properties and properties, and is also very loyal and helpful with its human owners.
Brazilians are proud of their national breed called. These dogs have a talent for hunting large predators, in particular jaguars. They also have excellent watchdog, security with fighting qualities.
The Fila Brasileiro lives to protect those whom it loves. And he loves only those with whom he lives in the same territory. He has a very complex character, (we can say that he hates strangers, both adults and children). Fila is a great dog for the whole family, but it requires respect for herself.
Due to the high level of innate aggression, strong temperament, large size, power, the Fila Brasileiro is one of the most dangerous breeds in the world.
Origin of the Fila Brasileiro
Due to the need for the first settlers in Brazil to have an energetic and strong working dog, the Fila Brasileiro appeared. The earliest historical records of this breed of dogs date back to 1671, but the specific origins of Fila Brasileiro are unknown. Nevertheless, everyone agrees that they emerged through the crossing of 3 different breeds of dogs: old dogs of prey or bulldogs, English mastiffs and bloodhounds. Although it is also believed that the third row also participated in this breed cross and from there was born the current Fila Brasileiro breed.
Among the old Bulldogs like the engelsen doggen, the Fila Brasileiro dogs have inherited their raised ears, fur colors and a higher cross rump, as well as a stubborn and aggressive temperament. In exchange for the old English Mastiffs, these dogs have inherited their size and stoutness, with a broad and solid head, a short neck and a curved rump. And the Fila Brasileiro has inherited the Bloodhounds their magnificent abilities of dogs of tracking, as well as their most remarkable physical characteristics for that, such as the lips and the jowls suspended, the drooping lips or the loose skin.
The first official breed standard was drafted in 1968 and since then some have been used as show dogs. In 1982, Fila Brasileiro became considered the most popular dog breed in Brazil. Currently, this dog can be seen as a show dog but mostly as a pet.
Characteristics of the Fila Brasileiro
The Fila Brasileiro is a large dog, very strong and powerful. With a slim figure and slightly longer than its size, it only shows part of its attacking abilities. He has a high body mass for his height, although he does not show great disproportion. The head is also large and strong, and remains proportional to the rest of the body. It ends with a wide and powerful muzzle, from which we can guess a powerful and hard bite. The eyes are medium in size and almond shaped, they can be dark, but also in different shades up to yellow.
This dog is distinguished by its large hanging V-shaped ears and a wide tail which generally leads halfway up and should never be twisted. One of the most remarkable characteristics of the Fila Brasileiro is the shape that its skin acquires in the baleen, very obvious, and that is that in a large part of its body, the skin is loose and very thick, so it moves from side to side when the dog is moving. In addition, his way of walking is unique and very special in everyone canine, and it is that this dog moves the legs on each side of the body at the same time, so its movement is more similar to the way of walking camels than that of dogs.
The size of the Fila Brasileiro is impressed by its dimensions and its resistance. It is a large breed of dog, which can easily measure between 75 and 80 centimeters at the withers in the case of males, although it is always a little less in the case of females. As for its weight, the minimum is generally 50 kilos, but the maximum can be much higher, since it is a very large dog.
Fila Brasileiro’s coat is soft to the touch, very short and dense. Many colors and shades are supported in addition to a uniform shade or speckled or tabby dresses. However, white, gray, blue and black and bronze are not supported as a base. White spots on the legs, chest and tip of the tail are accepted.
Character of Fila Brasileiro
The Fila Brasileiro character is the most important and significant part of the breed, on which all its fame is built. Unfortunately, the character is very contradictory. Since they are kept exclusively as guard dogs, specific features are expressed in it.
But, unlike other breeds, the Fila has a high level of aggression towards humans, especially in dogs living in Brazil. It is extremely important to understand that these dogs are not suitable for everyone, moreover, they will not suit most.
Only those who have experience of keeping large, aggressive dogs can get a Fila Brasileiro. With the right upbringing, this is an excellent watchdog and protector, but in inexperienced hands a source of serious problems.
Brazilian Mastiff dogs are renowned for their loyalty, which is even reflected in the saying: loyal as a fila. They form incredibly close relationships with their family, for which they will do everything.
If a puppy grows up in the company of one person, then it will be devoted only to him, if in the bosom of his family, then to everyone.
The peculiarity of the breed is ” hates ” or distrust, extreme suspicion of strangers. This is the only breed in which the standard is prescribed intolerance to the approach or touch of strangers. Socialization and training are absolutely necessary, without them dogs will be extremely aggressive towards any outsider.
With proper training, most dogs will tolerate strangers, but only in the presence of their family. However, without it, they cannot stand anyone, which creates extreme difficulties for postmen, firefighters and even those who have to feed the dog during the absence of the owners.
In addition, they take a very long time to get used to a new family member, and some never accept them.
Incredibly protective, always on the alert, suspicious – ideal guard dogs. Only a stupid thief will ignore the barking and growling that a Fila Brasileiro makes.
He’s a great deterrent in his own right. It is considered by many to be the best guard dog in the world.
Although aggression towards other dogs is usually lower than towards humans, many have it as well. They do not tolerate other dogs, even the calmest fila is dominant by default. Any aggression towards another dog can result in the death of the enemy, since there are not many breeds that could resist it.
It is recommended to keep only one dog. If the puppy grew up in the company of other animals, he considers them members of his pack and protects them. However, this does not apply to the rest, and he can simply tear someone else’s cat.
Like other aggressive breeds, Fila Brasileiro is difficult to train. They are not servile; they live as they see fit. Most are incredibly stubborn, many are wayward.
Under no circumstances they will listen to the command of someone who is considered lower on the social ladder, and this means that the owner must always be higher than his dog.
This does not mean that it is impossible to train them, just training requires experience, knowledge, time and effort. At the same time, even the most obedient periodically show self-will.
Fila Brasileiro is more active than most giant breeds. He cannot be satisfied with a couple of short walks. At least 60 minutes of active loads per day, preferably more.
They love walking, but they feel best in the spacious and safe courtyard of a private house. They patrol the perimeter and are poorly suited for keeping in an apartment.
Potential owners need to be aware of some of the breed’s characteristics. They will bark at almost anything they consider suspicious and will be noisy neighbors. Also, not suitable for very clean people.
Fila Brasileiro dogs who grew up with children love them and calmly endure any games. However, most dog handlers do not recommend keeping these dogs in families with children. They will not listen to the commands issued by the child, since they do not consider children superior to themselves in social status. In addition, they may mistake children’s games for aggression and react accordingly.
Fila Brasileiro health
The Fila Brasileiro has a high resistance to hereditary diseases. His health and his immune defense are very strong. But without the support of the owner, the pet is at risk of more frequent health problems.
You need to monitor the condition of Fila Brasileiro daily. Any change in behavior, loss of appetite, loose stools or lack thereof for several days – all this can serve as a signal of the disease.
If at least once a year to undergo preventive examinations with Fila Brasileiro in a veterinary clinic, you can timely detect health problems and begin treatment. Also, be sure to do vaccinations on time, treatment for skin parasites and deworming.
Despite the strong immunity, the Fila Brasileiro is predisposed to certain diseases:
- Joint dysplasia is a disease that causes severe pain to the animal, partially blocks its movements, at the last stage the dog may completely lose its ability to move.
- Gastrointestinal diseases – bloating, intestinal upset. Contributes to these problems, the structure of the stomach is Brazilian. Diseases are very serious; in just a few hours they can be fatal.
- Cardiac ischemia.
- Eye diseases – inversion, eversion of the eyelid.
- Otitis and other ear diseases.
Although it is not an extremely active dog, the Fila Brasileiro needs long walks and exercise sessions. Its main behavior problem is aggression towards foreigners. However, it is a characteristic of the breed.
This dog needs moderate exercise to spend all the energy it has. A good dose of mental exercise with some home intelligence games will help the Fila Brasileiro to be more attentive and happier.
This breed does not adapt to living in apartments or living in densely populated cities because of their size and character, so the Fila Brasileiro lives better in houses with large gardens in quiet neighborhoods or in rural properties.
A cramped apartment is not the best option for maintaining a Fila Brasileiro. It is also not recommended to keep such an active dog on the chain. If you own a private house with a personal plot, then Fila Brasileiro is perfect as a pet. Arrange for him in the yard a spacious range with a large booth or house, these will be ideal conditions of detention.
Of course, the fila can also live in the apartment. It is important that you walk it twice a day daily. Each walk should last at least an hour. It is recommended to walk in the morning and in the evening. Thus, the dog quickly learns to cope with its natural needs at certain times on the outside.
Some owners, fearing that their fila dog will freeze at night on the outside, take the pet into the house. As a result, all households and the dog feel discomfort. The fact is that the Fila Brasileiro loves to be active at night, like other watch dogs. Locked in the house, he will behave loudly, spoil household things and ask to go outside.
No need to worry that the dog is cold, representatives of the breed are able to tolerate temperature changes, their coat protects from heat and cold.
The health and beauty of the exterior of the Fila Brasileiro is supported by the following procedures:
- A brush 1-2 times a week to remove dead hair is the ideal for this dog. Shedding is not abundant in representatives of the breed, so no special changes in grooming are required during the shedding period, unless you add one more combing.
- Frequent bathing is not recommended, as water treatments can disrupt the protective layer that the dog’s skin releases. This layer protects the Fila Brasileiro dog, not only from temperature changes, but also from insect bites. So, arrange a planned bathing 2 times a year. The rest of the time, wipe the wool with a rather damp towel and wash the feet after walking.
- We brush our dog’s teeth twice a week to prevent dental diseases and remove bad breath from the mouth.
- Ears are the weak spot of a Fila Brasileir. Often these dogs have inflammation, infectious diseases. In most cases, the cause is anatomical features.
- We wipe our dog’s eyes as needed, removing the accumulations of morning secretions. We regularly examine whether the color of the mucous membrane has changed or if the structure of the eyelid has changed. Having noticed such problems or having discovered excessive discharge, we turn to the veterinarian.
- Cut the nails as they grow.
The basis of the diet of the Fila Brasileiro is meat. This dog needs a large amount of animal protein. The rest of the diet consists of cereal, vegetables, fruits.
It is recommended to cook porridge in water. Dilute with meat broth before serving.
With a natural method of feeding, purchase vitamin-mineral supplements for your pet. It is important to divide the daily rate into several small portions (2-3), give them out at strictly defined hours.
Prohibited foods such as cabbage, smoked meats, marinades, legumes and sweets.
It is useful to add eggs, fish oil, seafood, cottage cheese to the diet.
The Fila Brasileiro has no fear, no matter who opposes him, man, beast or machine. Under no circumstances will a Brazilian fila be allowed to harm his family members and anyone who tries to do so must first kill him.
Training and education
Training is a prerequisite for keeping such an aggressive dog as the Fila Brasileiro. If it is wrong to educate such a dog, if we neglect its socialization and not engage in training, it can turn into an uncontrollable, dangerous animal for those around it, and even for the owner himself.
In order not to disturb, but rather strengthen the bond between the Fila Brasileiro and the owner, it is recommended that you train it yourself, but under the guidance of an experienced dog handler at special sites.
Training must be carried out according to all the rules. One of the main conditions – the owner must be a born leader, strong-willed, adequate person. With proper education, this Brazilian mastiff will become a loyal friend, a reliable guard. For such a dog, there is only one owner, it is impossible to transfer to other people, he will not perceive them as the main ones.
The Fila Brasileiro has a habit of being distracted during training on everything that happens around. In order for the lessons to be successful, it is recommended to speak with the pet loudly, a lot and clearly. Dress in bright clothes and make more movements so that the dog’s attention is focused exclusively on you.
Fila Brasileiro Dog Fun Facts
- There is some controversy with the breed standards of the Fila Brasileiro – Brazilian Mastiff. The Brazilian Confederation of Cynophilia (CBKC) promotes the standards adopted by the FCI. However, there is another breed club not affiliated with the FCI which claims that the CBKC standards are very different from the characteristics of the original Fila Brasileiro.
- The Fila Brasileiro’s Enhancement Club or CAFIB has developed breed standards based on the old phenotype of the dog. Unfortunately, these are the FCI standards that are often awarded by breeders around the world.
- Fila Brasileiro is also known as the Brazilian Mastiff.
- Males measure between 75 cm and 80 cm and can weigh between 50 kg and 80 kg.
- Females are generally smaller and measure between 65 and 70 cm, with a weight between 40 and 70 kg.
- Fila Brasileiro has a lifespan of 9 to 11 years.
- It is a muscular dog breed with a rather loose skin.
- The Fila Brasileiro is massive, with large bones, but its agility is never questionable.
- It has a large and heavy head, matching the deep muzzle of the dog.
- This dog has a relatively short, but dense, smooth and soft coat.
- The coat can be solid, patched, brindle or even spotted.
- The color of the Fila Brasileiro’s coat can be black, fawn or brindle. White marks on the dog’s chest, feet and tip of the tail are allowed as long as these marks do not occupy more than a quarter of the surface.
- Solid colors white, mouse gray, blue and black and tan are not allowed in the show rings, although these colors are visible in working dogs.
- People say: “Faithful, like a fila.”
- At exhibition shows, excessive aggressiveness of Fila Brasileiro dogs is not considered a disadvantage, and judges are not recommended to touch dogs in order not to provoke.
- Fila is able to overcome long distances without much fatigue, not only due to endurance, but also thanks to a special camel step. Representatives of the breed move simultaneously with two limbs on one side. This is a distinctive feature of the breed.
- The Fila Brasileiro is the owner of one of the most pronounced aggressive behavioral archetypes on the globe.
Pros and cons of the breed
The Fila Brasileiro breed is far from for every person. Its owner should have an idea of the features of these formidable dogs. The main pros and cons of this type are outlined below.
- Exotic appearance.
- Friendliness to family members.
- Endless devotion.
- Excellent guard, security qualities.
- Excessive aggressiveness.
- It is difficult to train.
- Requires daily exercise.
- Intolerance to other people’s children, adults, animals.