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Brazilian Mastiff (Fila Brasileiro)

Brazilian Mastiff (Fila Brasileiro)


The first Filas can be seen in historical documents as early as 1671. Most people agree that they are a combination of three basic breeds – Ancient Bulldogs, Mastiffs and Bloodhounds. This breed met the needs of the people of Brazil as the early colonists needed a hard-working dog that could perform many tasks including property and livestock guard dog, herding dog, hunter and loyal companion. They were also used to guard slaves, and hunt them down when they escaped. The Fila Brasileiro Club of America was founded in 1984 and remains active today.


The Fila’s loyalty towards its family is unsurpassed, so is its dislike towards strangers. And this must be carefully considered when choosing the Fila to be a part of your family. Outstanding courage, determination and bravery are part of their characteristics. They are very tolerant of family children and are not reserved like most other guardian breeds, but instead are very loving and affectionate with their families. The Fila does not require special training to protect their family and property. This is a natural instinct that is very strong in the breed. They usually get along well with other dogs and animals, and are surprisingly agile for their size.

Breed Standards:

  • Working Group
  • Males are 25 – 30 inches at withers, minimum 110 pounds
  • Females are 23 – 28 inches at withers, minimum 90 pounds
  • Average litter = 4 - 10 puppies
  • Average life span is 10 - 12 years
  • Short, smooth, dense coat that is tight to the body
  • Colors = Fawn, Black, Brown or Brindled

Everyday Care:

  • Exercise: Young Filas should not be over-exercised, as this could harm their growth. The Adult Fila is a very active breed and should enjoy a long walk or jog once a day and playtime in the yard on a regular basis. It is an absolute requirement that you have a secured outdoor area for a Fila including a fence that is at least 6 foot high.
  • Feeding: It is best to feed two or three meals a day instead of only feeding once. A Fila should never be exercised one hour before feeding or for two hours afterwards. And they should never be allowed to gulp water.
  • Grooming: A Fila should be brushed weekly and bathed only a few times per year. Ears should be checked weekly and cleaned if needed. And nails should be trimmed when you can hear them clicking as the dog walks across the floor.
  • Attention: Owners must dedicate at least two hours per day to entertaining and exercising the Fila. Unlike other breeds, the Fila is very durable and independent and can live as an outdoor dog as long as they receive plenty of love and attention from their family.

Health Considerations:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Gastric Torsion (Bloat)

Am I Right for You?

  • I cannot be allowed to run free, and must always be under control
  • An inexperienced owner will not have the knowledge or skill to deal with my intelligence, strong will or stubbornness. You must have experience with giant breeds and alpha temperaments.
  • I’m not a suitable dog for someone who has a fragile body or is timid by nature.
  • Because of my size, substance and strength, you will need to be the kind of person who can command my respect and always be in control.
  • You must be willing to be consistent with obedience training and socialization
  • If you have many different people coming in and out of your life, you want to consider a different breed.
  • If you live in an apartment or small condo/townhome, I am not the breed for you.
  • If you are a quiet homebody who doesn’t seek outdoor activities, I am definitely not the breed for you.
  • The female Filas are often more aggressive towards strangers.