The Fila Brasileiro

The Fila Brasileiro

Postby sunnyAK on 6. December 2012, 04:59

The Fila Brasileiro

before i start with the breed profile, just a few of my thoughts and video material to emphasize my thoughts:
just one thing about the "ojeriza" in the fila brasileiros of nowadays. ojeriza often seems to me like term to avoid the words unstable, scared dog and the try to give it a "positive" connotation.
fila brasileiros in many cases lack confidence and are not what i consider to be a brave and trustable dog. for many years i am thinking now that a fila is not much more juding by its mind-set than a larger black mouth cur, with bloodhound influence. in many cases they behave like bay dogs, barking and running in circles around the attacker, just like bay dogs do being confronted with a predator. filas often avoid the confrontation, when they should attack.
the dog in the following videos at 1:54 will run whenever he gets pressure. he did not even feel physical pain, but ran and alway and backed down when the guy came closer. (it is one of many filas i have seen like that)
even from a younger dog you could expect more confidence.
often these "overprotective" dogs show fear related aggression.
watch 1:54

however, there also were nice dogs in this video.

the breed profile:
Fila Brasileiro

here a picture of a nice looking Fila Brasileiro


First dog breed from Brazil to be recognized internationally by the FCI in 1940, the Fila is an anonymous character in the history of Brazil from the time of discovery, when he helped the settlers in the conquest of the wild territory, to nowadays urban Brazil when he is used as an excellent guard dog in many homes. Historically the Fila was present in all regions of Brazil, but the route of the cattle drovers bringing goods from the inland to the coast influenced the bigger incidence of Filas in the Midwest and Southeast, especially in Minas Gerais.

[sub]Early nineteenth century drawing from northeastern Brazil, Filas were called at the time of "cabeçudos onceiros" (bigheaded jaguar hunters) or "boiadeiros"[/sub]

[sub]Four Filas with cropped ears treeing a jaguar in the south of Bahia [/sub]

They performed a variety of functions with the settlers such as guard dogs, big game hunters, cattle drivers, trackers to locate and capture runaway slaves and even war dogs in attacks on native tribes and later the "quilombos" (slave communities). The natural selection provided by those tasks along with the harsh conditions of Brazil at the time molded the Fila Brasileiro.


Fila Origins


The roots of the Fila Brasileiro are unknown and presumably the breed evolved from a number of breeds, predominantly the ancient English Mastiff, ancient Bulldogs and the Bloodhound. Some pronounced traits of all three breeds can be observed in the Fila Brasileiro official standard, not only in structure but also in working abilities of the breed, however there are many theories about the origins of the Fila:

English Mastiff - Bloodhound - Old English Bulldog




The oldest and most widespread theory about its origin is the one that recognizes the Fila Brasileiro as a descended from dogs brought to Brazil during the period of Portuguese colonization. During this time many dogs that were common throughout Western Europe in the period of colonial Brazil were brought by settlers. Mastiffs were already common in Brazil, but when the King of Portugal Dom João VI came to the colony looking for refuge escorted by the English navy, english dogs became popular in Brazil and many English Mastiffs were brought along with the portuguese nobility. These dogs that had big size and natural guarding instincts crossed with Bloodhounds for it's scenting abilities and the Old English Bulldog for it's aggressiveness, fighting skills with a high pain tolerance to combat to large animals, and the talent for working with cattle and met the requirements of the time and were the most sought by " capitães-do-mato", pioneers, cowboys, hunters and farmers wich made this mix become popular and quickly spread nationwide.

Engelsen Doggen or Dogue de Fort Race


Another accepted theory says that during the Dutch invasion to Brazil in 1631, they would have brought about three hundred dogs to help protect the new lands and to be used as war dogs in raids against the resistance led by Filipe Camarão. These dogs would be from an english extinct breed, the Engelsen Doggen, also called Dogue de Fort Race, then they quickly spread across the northeast along with the dutch troops. Later, after the withdrawal of the Dutch and the mixes over the years, the descendants of the Dogue de Fort Race brought to Brazil, have undergone a natural selection due to the new climate, diet and new assignments received such as hunting , cattle herding and chasing slaves, molding the Fila Brasileiro.

[sub]Dutch Brazil 1630-1654[/sub]

These dogs would later come to Minas Gerais through the colonization of Sao Francisco river banks and become very popular due to its ability to work with cattle. This region had many livestock farms and the dogs were used to herd and protect the flock from jaguars and cattle thieves.The "tropeiros" would also took these dogs on their entourages for protect and to help drive the cattle, wich made the breed spread across the country. This theory would also explain the black in Filas since some Dogues de Fort Race were solid black.

Fila de Terceira



This theory says that the Filas are actually descendants of his portuguese cousin, the Fila de Terceira or Terceirence, a bulldog and bloodhound mixed breed brought from the Azores by the Portuguese settlers. These dogs would have been brought in mass numbers because the settlers needed a dog to help in the rural tasks and this breed was already successfully used as cattle herders in Terceira Island, this mass migration caused the extinction of this breed in Portugal, and due to a selection made in these dogs because of the different climate and assignments then those it had in Portugal, such as hunting Jaguar, indians and runaway slaves, they developed to form a new breed of dogs in Brazil, the Fila Brasileiro, which also would have inherited the first name of his ancestor.

The Fila Brasileiro is a Molosser breed with large bones and loose skin. The breed standard requires males to be between 65 and 75 cm (25.5 inches to 29.5 inches) high at the withers and weigh at least 50 kg (110 lbs). Females are slightly smaller and are expected to be 60 to 70 cm (23.5 inches to 27.5 inches) high at the withers and weigh at least 40 kg (90 lbs).


The coat of the Fila Brasileiro is smooth and short. Black, Fawns (Red, Apricot, or Dark), and Brindled (Fawn, Black, or Brown Brindle) colours are permitted, except Mouse-Grey, Black and Tan, Blue and Solid White. White markings, not exceeding 1/4 of the coat surface area, are permitted on the feet, chest, and the tip of the tail in the FCI standard.



The Fila Brasileiro is an excellent estate guardian and it doesn't hide its dislike towards strangers, the breeds trademark so to speak. It is what is called "Ojeriza" which means the distrust of or aversion. The breed is renowned for their faithfulness to family and friends, but this is not a breed for everyone. The Fila needs a confident, experienced, savvy owner who is aware of the breed's innate tendencies. Filas are not well suited to busy household which entertain many guests, as they do not interact well with strangers. The Fila is a natural guardian breed which doesn't need any protection training and bond strongly with their immediate families, showing extreme loyalty and protectiveness towards them. They live to protect their loved ones, including children and other pets. Very few will accept strangers. Many Filas will never tolerate any stranger because of their "ojeriza" or aversion towards strangers. They are excellent family and guard dogs.

some other sources:

The Fila Brasileiro is the National Dog of Brazil. A product of its environment and a necessity for dual purposes, the Fila is first and foremost known for its loyalty to home and family, and its high aversion to strangers. Thus coining the term ;Ojeriza;, to describe its unique temperament. A natural instinct to protect its environment, coupled with tracking skills, hunting, and herding made this beloved treasure an asset to the Fazendos of long ago.
The Fila´s aversion to strangers and its fierce protective nature are now obstacles in the world of today. With Breed Specific Legislation laws running through our breeds like a freight train, it causes hesitation in labeling a protection level to this breed.

The potential for this breed to defend against threat is legendary. However, so few breeders it seems focus ;Ojeriza; that characteristic which sets the Fila apart from all other protection breeds. Ojeriza translates into dislike, spite, ill-will. A natural instinct to preserve that which is threatened. No training is required of this noble breed, socialization prior to temperament kicking in is encouraged. However, if your Fila possess Ojeriza, no amount of socialization will ever allow strangers to come too close, let alone to touch one.

Fila do not excel at protection or ring sport venues. The Fila consistently works off of defense drive, and most PP sports focus on training the dogs by utilizing their prey drive. The Fila will not bite onto a sleeve and hang on. They will drop that sleeve swiftly and continue upward. Sending a Fila off to take down an attacker is uncommon. Fila stay by their owners always, to protect them from that which they perceive to be a threat. Could be your grandma, or your best friend, but if they do not reside routinely in your home, they are strangers to your Fila.

Anti-Social by nature.
Sensitivity to owners moods.
Courage and Loyalty.
Poor eyesight-its nose is its best ally.
Poor Nervous system- which leads to fear biting, only attacking from behind, skittish and fearful of all noises or movement around it.
Not dog aggressive by nature. (excluding intact male to male aggression)
Your children are their Children.
Reacts to surroundings by instinct, will disobey commands when it perceives something to be a threat.

Large crowds and dog parks are not good environments for a Fila. Regardless of how well you control your dog, you cannot inevitably control that which surrounds you. People expect that if your dog is out in a social environment, it therefore must be social.

Do not allow your Fila loose without restraint in any environment that contains strangers. Be it at your home, or at the local park. If the guests arriving are invited, your Fila should be safely put away to protect all parties from misunderstanding and potential provocation.
Your children´s friends are not friends to the Fila. Though your kids might be screaming for sheer joy, the Fila will not perceive it this way and will mistake the innocent game of tag, or rough housing as a threat to its children, be it their friends, the babysitter, or grandma trying to give a tickle to her grandkids.

Owning a Fila requires a lifestyle change. It will be difficult to find someone that can enter your yard while you are away to care for your pets. Those who own multiple Fila rarely vacation as a family. Locks on all gates that lead to your Fila, and having utility company meters relocated outside of your yard. Being aware of your surroundings, especially when in a social environment, as well as your younger children who innocently do not understand.

Being owned by Fila requires responsible ownership, and putting the safety of all parties first and foremost. If your lifestyle is of an anti social nature, and you prefer a dog that easily molds to that environment, then a Fila just might be the right dog for you. A family dog, they love all in their family equally, and will sacrifice their life to protect you. Fila do well in a pack dog environment with like minded breeds

more about the temperament_
The Fila Brasileiro is an excellent estate guardian. It does not hide its dislike towards strangers, but these dogs are not disqualified from the show ring for showing aggression to the judges. Such aversion is instinctive in Filas, so much so that the Brazilian breed standard advises judges not to touch the dog. However, the FCI standard allows for disqualification of excessively aggressive dogs, mainly when the owner doesn't have enough control to show them in public areas. The breed is renowned for their faithfulness to family and friends, but this is not a breed for everyone. The Fila needs a confident, experienced, savvy owner who is aware of the breed's innate tendencies. Filas are not well suited to busy household which entertain many guests, as they do not interact well with strangers. The Fila is a natural guardian breed.

Filas bond strongly with their immediate families and show extreme loyalty and protectiveness towards them. They live to protect their loved ones, including children and other pets. Very few will accept strangers. Many Filas will never tolerate any stranger. Despite their aversion towards strangers they are excellent family dogs, devoted to the children in their family.

The history of the breed:
The Fila Brasileiro is believed to have been evolved from a number of breeds, predominantly the Mastiff, the Bulldog, and the Bloodhound. The Fila Brasileiro breed was bred and raised primarily on large plantations and cattle farms where they were originated. The first written standard of the breed was edited in 1946. The Paulistas (people from the State of São Paulo) were responsible for organization a planned breeding program, opening a stud book to register dogs. About the registries, CBKC (Brazilian Confederation Kennel Club) follows the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) policy and accepts for registration only dogs with FCI pedigrees, orientating the breeders to make a hip dysplasia control and besides other health problems. The Fila Brasileiro is described as a Brazilian Mastiff or a Brazilian Molosser. In the U.S., there are two specialty Fila Clubs and both follow the CBKC/FCI Standard, which is the original and legitimate standard of the breed recognized all over the world. In the U.S., the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) does a statistical registry of all Filas that were x-rayed to diagnose Hip Dysplasia.

Some more information:
Developed from European mastiffs, most notably the English, Spanish and Portuguese dogs, as well as the Continental Bloodhound, the Scottish Sleuth-Hound and the original Bandogue Brasileiro, this superb Brazilian breed has traditionally been used as a large game hunter and a superb property guardian. Its ability to hold quarry at bay without killing it, coupled with good trainability and tracking instincts, made the old Cabecudo a popular slave-retriever in the early days. Also used as capable cattle herders, some Filas reportedly found their way into the sport of bull-baiting, as well as dog-fighting on occasion. Due to the limited gene pool, the breed's health was compromised, forcing many breeders to introduce foreign blood into their Filas in the 20th century, employing the English Mastiff, the Great Dane, the Neapolitan Mastiff and other breeds as outcrosses, but in recent years, a number of bull-type fighting breeds, such as the Presa Canario, Tosa Inu and the Pit Bull have been introduced into many of its non-Brazilian bloodlines, diminishing some of the guarding qualities that made the Fila Brasileiro famous, while increasing its dog-aggression, temperament issues and health problems. Not all native fanciers of the breed agreed with the rampant crossing trends and some old Brazilian bloodlines have been preserved, with minimal influx of appropriate blood of breeds which were initially used in the make-up of the original incarnation of the Fila Brasileiro.

It could be argued that there are two Brazilian Mastiff breeds in existence today, one of which is more numerous and popular, this being the "new" type Fila Brasileiro, heavily "enriched" with the blood of European breeds, while the other breed variety is the rare pure working Fila, indigenous to Brazil and being a continuation of the original Cabecudo breed, whose temperament is seen by its opponents as being too harsh for the modern world and whose appearance is not attractive enough for the Show circles. Even though the latter type is the correct one and is truly representative of the real Brazilian Mastiff, it simply isn't as widespread and well-liked as its softer and less reliable counterpart, which unfortunately counts in its population the overwhelming majority of Filas found in the United States and Europe. Not only do the types differ in terms of appearance, but there is a variety of personality traits encountered in the "new" Fila which have traditionally been seen as unnacceptable for the breed, like shyness, nervousness and viciousness. This outstanding Molosser is strictly a working breed, but the Fila Brasileiro can also make an amenable family companion and watchdog, when provided with proper training, excercise and responsible handling by experienced owners.

The Brazilian Fila posesses one of the most unique personality traits in the canine world, traditionally known as Ojeriza, most often described as "hatred of strangers". This is a serious guard dog, liking only its human family and nobody else. While many Filas are quite sweet and friendly as puppies, most of the pure ones grow up to be extremely intolerant of strangers. Famously loyal to its master and very protective of its family and territory, this breed requires experienced and responsible handling. Massive, well-boned and muscular, the Fila Brasileiro is a surprisingly agile and fast Moloss. The skin is fairly loose, but isn't hanging as much as that of its ancestor, the Bloodhound. A number of specimens are born with curled tails, showing strong influence of the legendary Terceira Mastiff heritage.

Short coat is smooth to the touch and comes in all solid colours, with small white markings being common. Average height is around 28 inches.

some info can also be found here: ... 9780#p9780
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