The Fila is well boned with a rectangular structure. Its Bloodhound ancestry is apparent in its long muzzle, pendulous skin, and superb tracking ably. Its muzzle is heavy with pendulous upper lips giving it a the Mastiff appearance. Its neck is very thick, with dewlap. The skin is of the most important breed characteristics. It is thick and loose all over the body, chiefly at the neck, forming pronounced dew laps, and in many individuals the folds proceed to the chest and abdomen. Some dogs show a fold at the side of the head and also at the withers descending to the shoulders. The coat is short, smooth, dense and soft. This breed may be any color, solid or brindle, except white, mouse gray, patched dogs, dappled, or black and tan. The typical colors are fawn, black and brindle. Brindles of a basic color, may have the stripes of either less or with very strong intensity. A black mask may or may not be present. In all permitted colors white markings should be limited to the feet, chest, and tip of tail. The white markings are not desirable on any other part of the body. The back is strong and straight rising gently toward the hindquarters. Its gait is measured and elastic, like that of a cat. His main characteristic is the pace (camels gait), moving two legs of one side first, followed by the two legs of the other side, which causes a rolling lateral movement on the thorax and hindquarters accentuated by the tail when its raised. During the walk he maintains the head lower than the back line. This fascinating carriage has earned it great success in dog shows. General Appearance A typical molossoid breed with powerful bone structure, rectangular and compact figure, but harmonious and proportional. Added to his massiveness a great agility can be easily seen. Bitches must show a well-defined femininity, which differentiates them immediately from males.
The Fila Brasileiro is a courageous, powerful Mastiff. It is amenable with its human family, making a very loyal loving companion. Extremely dedicated to his owner. A Fila will protect you without a moments hesitation. He feels that is why he is there. Once you bond with your Fila you and your family will become his whole world. You do not teach your Fila to protect you, as he does this on his own. It is the breeds nature to be loyal and protective of his family. This trait of the Fila is called “Ojeriza”. They love kids in their own family and take a lot of abuse from them. Ask anyone who has kids and Fila’s and they will tell you how unbelievable it is how gentle they are with the children in the family. Fila’s make great family pets and are gentle, loving, loyal and very protective. They will also bond with other pets in your home. Bold and very wary with strangers. This breed makes a wonderful guard dog. It needs a dominant owner who understands the alpha pack instinct. Proper socialization and understanding of the breeds instincts are the key to successful ownership of a Fila. Usually around 4 months of age you will see that your pup does not want the attention of strangers as much as he did when he was younger. That is your cue that socializing is over. No more puppy classes, no more letting people just walk in your home and no more going to Petsmart. Of course all pups mature differently so you cannot set a date as to when this will happen. And no you do not force your Fila pup to accept people once he is coming into his temperament. That will only get you a confused and unstable Fila. You own a Fila because they are a protective breed and that is what you are going to get no matter how much socializing you do.
Socializing a Fila Brasileiro as a puppy will not make your Fila like people. What it will do is show your Fila that not everything is a threat. It will make him more confident and more stable in the world around him. Robin Barrett owner of Harley Acre Filas states, “When I first got into Filas most owners chose to have their Fila Brasileiro unsocialized and basically lunging maniacs at the end of the leash. Some people seem to need an intimidating dog at the end of a leash or behind a fence to make them feel superior. A Fila does not have to be like that to be protective of you. With good common sense and obedience training you can have a Fila by your side that will behave himself while in public and not want to kill everything that moves. By socializing your Fila and introducing him to the world around him you are doing the same thing that is needed to take a Fila into the show ring.”
Outstanding courage, determination, and bravery are part of his characteristics. He is docile and obedient to his owners and family and extremely tolerant with children in his own family. His faithfulness became a Brazilian proverb. He is always looking for the company of his master. One of his characteristics is his “ojeriza” towards strangers. He shows a calm disposition, self-assurance, and self-confidence, not being disturbed by strange noises nor when facing a new environment. An unsurpassed guardian of property, he is also inclined, by instinct, to hunt big game and to herd cattle. The Fila is NOT a breed for the average pet owner. You need to know what the Fila Brasileiro is about and what it takes to own one. That means deciding if your lifestyle will allow a protective breed. If you have a lot of friends and relatives coming in and out of your home you may want to consider another breed. You also need a good solid fence of correct height with secure locks to keep strangers out and the Fila in. Some Filas may drool, especially after getting a drink.
Height: 25.5-29.5 inches (65-75 cm.)
Weight: 90-110 lb (41-50 kg.)
Prone to most large breed ailments. Beware of hip dysplasia. As these dogs are prone to bloat, feed two or three small meals a day, instead of one large one. Also prone to CHD, gastric torsion, elbow dysplasia and PRA.
This breed is not suited to city live, as its vigorous body must work off energy in the freedom of the country. They need a fenced in yard with room to run. The Fila can sleep outdoors with proper shelter.
The Fila needs plenty of chanced to exercise. While some can appear very lazy, big couch potatoes, like all dogs, they should be taken on daily walks.
About 9 – 11 years
The smooth, short-haired coat is easy to groom. Brush with a firm bristle brush and wipe over with a piece of toweling or chamois for a gleaming finish. Bathe or dry shampoo when necessary. This breed is an average shedder..
The Fila Brasileiro are descendants of the 15th-century English Mastiff, Bloodhound, Bulldog and Rafeiros. From the Bloodhound, he inherited loose skin and keen sense of smell. The Bloodhound in its bloodlines gives it superb tracking ability. The Mastiff contributed compact body, courage and an ever-alert disposition. When the Fila finds its quarry it does not attack, but rather holds it at bay until the hunter arrives. The Bulldog added the unforgiving impetuous temperament. The Fila has the abilty to track and control livestock and large game. When slavery was legal in Brazil, the Fila was used return fugitives unharmed to their slave masters. The Filas great tracking ability led to its presents in North America and Europe. Due to its size and potential for aggression, it is unfairly banned in some countries.