Fila Brasileiro

fast facts

About Fila Brasileiro

Weight
90-180 lb
Lifespan
10-12 years
Group
not applicable
Best Suited For
Families with children, active singles, house with a yard, guard duty, watchdog, working dog
Temperament
Affectionate, docile, protective, territorial
Comparable Breeds
Mastiff, Bloodhound
Height
23.5-29.5 inches
Fila Brasileiro Basics


The Fila Brasileiro is also known as the Brazilian Mastiff and, like all Mastiffs, it is a large breed dog. This breed is known for its tracking skills and aggressiveness, qualities that can be valuable in a working breed, but it also has a bit of an impetuous side. In addition to being useful as a tracking breed, the Fila Brasileiro also makes a great guard dog, watch dog, and shepherd dog. Although the Fila Brasileiro is an excellent working breed, its temperament and size mean that it is not the right breed for everyone.


The Fila Brasileiro is also known as the Brazilian Mastiff.


Origin


The Fila Brasileiro was developed as a large working breed in Brazil, used to track and chase down large predators. During the time when slavery was legal in Brazil, the Fila Brasileiro was also used to track down escaped slaves and to hold them until the master arrived. This breed was developed during the 15th century from breeds like the English mastiff, bulldog, and bloodhound. It retains many physical characteristics similar to the Bloodhound, though it is surprisingly agile and fast. The first breed standard was written in 1946 but the breed still hasn’t been recognized by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club. The breed is banned in several countries due to its impetuous temperament and potential for aggression. In some countries import is allowed but males must be neutered.


Pedigree

The Fila Brasileiro was developed from the English mastiff, bulldog, and bloodhound.


Food/Diet


Because the Fila Brasileiro is a large-breed dog you should feed him a dog food diet that is specially formulated for larger breeds. It is especially important that you feed him a large-breed puppy formula until he is 18 to 24 months old to prevent him from growing too quickly.


This breed is known for its tracking skills and aggressiveness, qualities that can be valuable in a working dog.


Training


The Fila Brasileiro is an intelligent breed which is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the Fila Brasileiro responds well to training and learns quickly but, on the other hand, he requires a firm hand in training to prevent it from becoming too independent. This breed does best when it is given a job to do and can be trained for tracking, guarding, and shepherding. The Fila Brasileiro requires a strong authority figure and obedience training should be maintained throughout the dog’s life.


Weight


The Fila Brasileiro is a large breed of dog with males standing 25.5 to 29.5 inches tall and females standing 23.5 to 27.5 inches tall. Males of the breed weigh between 110 and 180 pounds at maturity and females should weigh at least 90 pounds.


Temperament/Behavior

The Fila Brasileiro has an intense and often impetuous temperament that can be difficult to control at times. This breed was developed to track and hunt large predators, trained to hold them by the neck until their owner arrived. Puppies can be observed exhibiting this type of behavior and adults often retain a high prey drive, often chasing and killing cats and other small animals. The Fila can be friendly and affectionate in the home, even getting along with children, but he cannot be expected to take kindly to strangers. This breed is a strong guard dog and he will not hesitate to fiercely protect his family and territory. Early training and socialization is incredibly important to prevent this dog from becoming overly independent and aggressive.


Common Health Problems


Little is known about the health problems to which the Fila Brasileiro is prone, but some guesses can be made simply due to its size. Large-breed dogs are often more susceptible to musculoskeletal problems like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia – they are also at a higher risk for gastric dilation volvulus (or bloat).


Life Expectancy


The Fila Brasileiro can be expected to live for 10 to 12 years with proper care.


Exercise Requirements


For such a large breed, the Fila Brasileiro is surprisingly active – this is probably due to his development as a working/tracking breed. The Fila requires a great deal of daily exercise to work off his energy and to maintain a healthy bodyweight and composition. This breed does best when given a job to do – he will not be happy to just lie around the house.


This breed is a strong guard dog and he will not hesitate to fiercely protect his family and territory.


AKC


The Fila Brasileiro is not currently recognized by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club.


Coat


The Fila Brasileiro has a short, smooth coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns. The most common colors are fawn, black, and brindle, with or without a black mask. White is a very uncommon color for the Fila Brasileiro, though light greys are not uncommon. Because the coat is so short and smooth, grooming is fairly easy – this dog can be brushed with a bristle brush several times a week.


Puppies


The average litter size for the Fila Brasileiro is between 2 and 5 puppies. Fila Brasileiro puppies should be fed a large-breed puppy formula for at least 18 months to make sure that they get the nutrition they need without growing too quickly. Because the Fila Brasileiro is so large, puppies take a long time to develop. Early socialization and training is required to keep this breed from becoming aggressive or overly independent.


Photo credit: Artush/Shutterstock; Artush/Bigstock; eriklam/Bigstock

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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