AKC Group: Working
The ancestors of Fila Brasilieros date back to the 1400s and seem to have descended from the old English Mastiff, Bloodhound, Rafeiros and Bulldog. The Fila was used to manipulate Brazilian livestock thanks to their threatening demeanor. They aren’t actually an aggressive breed and false claims of unmerited aggression led to the breed’s banning in several countries worldwide. Another original job of the Fila was to return slaves to their Brazilian captors without harm. The Fila is an adored breed in Europe.
Size: 24 to 30 inches; 85 to 100 pounds
Color: Fawn, black, brown, brindle
Life span: Approximately 10 years
Health problems: Hip dysplasia, bloat, congenital heart disease, gastric torsion, elbow dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy.
Looking at a Fila, you would liken him to a Bloodhound, of which they descended. The Fila is a loyal, proud dog and is covered by a short, soft coat. The Fila has a large muzzle and a heavy upper lip. His skin should hang loosely from his body. Filas have a distinctive walk: Both legs on one side move forward before the legs on the other side follow.
As a large dog, the Fila is not for everyone. They are a powerful, courageous, fearless, attentive dog. They do have a bad reputation for aggression, but it is not in their nature to do so, except when provoked (or are trained to be). They are naturally suspicious of strangers but completely and hopelessly devoted to their family. When you take your Fila for a walk, always ensure he’s on a leash. Be mindful of his whereabouts even in your yard. Dognappers routinely (and frequently) would nab a Fila to sell him into dogfighting circles where a Fila can bring in quite a profit.
The Fila coat requires an occasional brushing with a firm bristle brush. Wipe down with a damp cloth to remove dead hairs and bathe only when necessary. To train, enroll your Fila in obedience classes as he’ll probably have times where he’s a little difficult to control. Otherwise, a Fila requires firm, positive training and socialization for him to become well-mannered and obedient. To help stave off bloat, instead of feeding him one huge daily meal, feed him two to three smaller meals a day.