fila brasileiro brindle
This very loyal and fearless guard dog looks like a cross between a Mastiff and a Bloodhound, and was originally bred to protect the Brazilian plantations of the 19th century.
Centuries ago the ancestors of the Fila Brasileiro were crossed with Bloodhounds, Mastiffs and bulldogs brought to the new world by the Conquistadors. The resulting breed combined the great scenting ability of the Bloodhound, with power and fearless tenacity.

This made the Fila particularly suited to defend the ranches and cattle of the Minas Gerais region against thieves and jaguars.

Origin and Etymology
Brindle Fila
Photo: Callalloo Canis
Filas were also useful on hunting journeys to track, attack and then hold the prey until the hunter arrived to take over. The word 'Fila' is, in fact, derived from a Portugese word meaning 'to hold' or 'to secure'. At one time this dog was also employed to track down and capture runaway slaves.

fila temperament test
courtesy Serra de Itanhandu
A typical molosser breed, squarely built, well boned and with a massive head. A uniquene physical feature of this breed is his gait. The Fila has an ambling gait, created by moving both legs on the same side of the body at the same time, instead of diagonally like other dog breeds.
Fila brasileiro male brindle
Another characteristic of the breed are  its loose joints in the legs and spine. As a results, the Fila is able to change route suddenly and quickly, even at a gallop.

Filas typically have a sad look when at rest, which becomes energetic and determined when on the alert.
Accepted coat colors are: any color between yellow, reddish brown or red (or a greyish version of these colors), silver, brindle (yellow and black), or "araca" (yellow hair with splitted black stripes). Yellow and brindle may have a black mask and/or black ears. White spots on the legs, chest and tail are tolerated. White with brindled spots is accepted, provided the white parts are pure.
Solid white or black are not accepted by the original standard. Although controversy exists among breeders about the latter one, it is a fact that lighter-colored dogs are better able to regulate body temperature when working outside in intense sun.
Fila Brasileiro during a temperament test
Clearly this is not a dog for everyone or every setting. Once you have a Fila at home, allowing occasional visitors or a weekly cleaning help into your home may become a problem. Therefore, Filas need responsible, cautious owners who understand the need of early socialization of their Fila puppy.
The Fila is a courageous, determined and serene dog who shows self-confidence and fearlessness, even in unknown situations. Filas do not hide their aversion to strangers, however, with their human family, they can be very tender and affectionate and are extremely loyal.

Fila young female
It is probably the only breed that was selected for centuries to deeply dislike the humans they were not raised with, and, to this day, temperament tests run during championships require the dogs to attack without being coached, to remain self-confident during a shooting test, and to openly show their suspicion of strangers. The standard prescribes that, even at dog shows, Filas should not "allow the judge (a stranger) to touch it. And if it attacks the judge, such a reaction must not be considered a fault, but only a confirmation of its temperament."
Fila Brasileiro
(Brazilian Fila, Brazilian Mastiff)
Catherine Marien-de Luca for Dog Breeds of the World 2004-2010 © All rights reserved by and

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Dog Breeds of the World 2004-2010 © All rights reserved and
Original idea, design and development by C. Marien-de Luca. Photo reproduced by kind permission of Gerson R. Junqueria de Barros, Serra de Itanhandu kennel.
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Serra de Itanhandu kennel
Three Brazilian Mastiffs fawn, brindle and dark brindle
Photo: Callalloo Canis
black fila brasileiro
Black Fila Brasileiro
(not accepted in the original standard)
Photo: Callalloo Candcy
Character and Temperament
7 month old female fila
Serra de Itanhandu kennel
External Links:
Old Farm Fila Brasileiro

See also:
Molosser dogs
Buldog Campeiro or Brazilian bulldog
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