Canine Breed Menu

Brazilian Mastiff

Brazilian Mastiff

No Additional Pictures
Breed Organization
United Kennel Club
Native Country
Other Names
Fila Brasileiro, Brazilian Molosser, Cao de Fila
Life Expectancy
Approximately 9-12 Years
Litter Size
No Information Available
Breed Group
FCI - Mastiff
Breed Appearance
He is a large working breed of dog developed in Brazil. It is known for its superb tracking ability, aggressiveness and an unforgiving impetuous temperament. When a Fila Brasileiro finds its quarry, it does not attack it, but rather holds it at bay until the hunter arrives. Owing to these qualities, the Fila Brasileiro is used as a guard dog, as a shepard dog for herding livestock and as a hunting dog for tracking and controlling large prey. When slavery was legal in Brazil, the Brazilian Mastiff was used to return fugitives unharmed to their slave masters.

Owing to its size, temperament and potential for aggression, the Fila Brasileiro has been banned in many countries.

Breed Description
Head: Large, square, capacious. Broad skull. Stop not pronounced. Strong, broad, deep muzzle. Broad nose.
Ears: Large, thick, v-shaped, drop.
Eyes: Medium size, almond. Deep chestnut to yellow color. Lids are often drooping.
Body: Strong, longer than tall. Very strong neck with dewlap. Chest broad and well let down. Thick, loose skin.
Tail: Thick at the base and tapering to a point reaching the hock joint.
Hair: Short, thick, soft, lying close to the skin.Short, thick, soft, lying close to the skin.
Coat: Any solid color (except white, mouse-gray, black and tan, or blue), brindle with moderately dark streaking. With or without a black mask. White markings on the feet, chest, and tip of the tail are permissible provided they cover no more than a quarter of the body.
Size: Dog: 65 to 75 cm Bitch: 60 to 70 cm.
Weight: Dog: at least 50 kg Bitch: at least 40 kg.

Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors brought mastiffs, scenthounds, and Bloodhounds to Brazil in the seventeenth century. These breeds were crossed with Brazilian dogs to create the Fila Brasileiro. The Fila was originally used to track escaped slaves. Later, the breed was used as a guard and to drive cattle. The Fila Brasileiro was recognized in 1950.

The Fila Brasileiro is a courageous, powerful mastiff. It is amenable with its human family, making a very loyal loving companion. Extremely dedicated to his owner. A Fila will protect you without a moment’s hesitation. He feels that is why he is there. Once you bond with your Fila, you and your family will become his whole world. You do not teach your Fila to protect you, as he does this on his own. It is the breed’s nature to be loyal and protective of his family. They love kids in their own family and take a lot of abuse from them. Filas make great family pets and are gentle, loving, loyal and very protective. They will also bond with other pets in your home. Outstanding courage, determination and bravery are part of his characteristics. He is docile and obedient to his owners and family and extremely tolerant with children in his own family. He shows a calm disposition, self-assurance and self-confidence, not being disturbed by strange noises nor when facing a new environment. An unsurpassed guardian of property, he is also inclined, by instinct, to hunt big game and to herd cattle. Bold and wary with strangers, this breed makes a wonderful guard dog.

The Fila Brasileiro are known to be naturally protective. It is also known for its extreme wariness of strangers and agility when protecting or defending its master. The dedication and obedience of the Fila Brasileiro has found its way into Brazilian saying "As faithful as a Fila".

The socialization period - about the first two to four months - of the dog's life is crucial to the temperament of the individual dog. If the pup is exposed to a lot of people in a positive manner and keeping in mind the dog's aggressive instincts (known as 'socializing'), the pup can be encouraged to behave in a calmer manner, but only to a point. Lack of all socialization with strangers at a young age will result in a dog which is very anti-social and aggressive towards strangers, a behaviour often called Ojeriza ("Ojeriza" means detestation, aversion). Many Fila owners prefer the dog due to its "Ojeriza" towards strangers.

Hip dysplasia and Bloat (gastric torsion; twisted stomach). Bloat is a health issue to most dogs, being the second largest killer of dogs other than cancer, but Fila Brasileiros can be particularly susceptible to it because of their deep chests.

This breed does not adapt well to urban living. He needs wide open spaces and plenty of exercise. The Fila is not a suitable pet for a first time dog owner. As mentioned, this breed will be gentle with the family but it would need a family who will understand the quirky nature of the Fila. The owner has to be dominant and must be able to show the dog that he is the leader of the pack.

Cattle Driver, Guard Dog, Hunting Dog (large game), Pet.

Horse Herd