The Fila Brasileiro also known as the Brazilian Mastiff is large working breed of dog developed in Brazil. It is known for its superb tracking ability, aggressiveness and an unforgiving impetuous temperament. When a Brazilian Mastiff finds its quarry, it does not attack it, but rather holds it at bay until the hunter arrives. Owing to these qualities, the Brazilian Mastiff is used as a guard dog, as a shepherd dog for herding livestock and as a hunting dog for tracking and controlling large prey.
They have a rectangular build and though they are massive, their natural agility is apparent. The head is big and heavy with a deep muzzle. The ears are large, thick, tapered and either droop or fold back exposing the interior, depending on mood. Neck and back are well muscled, the chest is broad and deep. the Fila is harmonious, cat-like and above all powerful. The expression is noble, solemn, dignified but somewhat melancholic. The Fila appears self-assured and calm but is never absent in expression. When at attention, the gaze of the Fila Brasileiro is firm, alert and unwavering.
The coat of the Fila Brasileiro is smooth and short. Black, Fawns (Red, Apricot, or Dark), and Brindled (Fawn, Black, or Brown Brindle) colors are permitted, except Mouse-Grey, Black and Tan, Blue and Solid White. White markings, not exceeding 1/4 of the coat surface area, are permitted on the feet, chest, and the tip of the tail in the FCI standard.
The Brazilian Mastiffs 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 Fila Brasileiro temperament is what characterizes the dog. The Portuguese word for their temperament is Ojeriza; which directly translated into English means dislike and distrust. The socialization period (about the first year with the first 6- 8 months being the most important) 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 (known as ‘socializing’), the pup (keeping in mind the dog’s natural protective instincts) can be encouraged to behave in a calm manner in public, but emphasis should be placed on the fact that socialization is done differently from other breeds. Despite extensive socialization, the fila is instinctively protective and will naturally guard and protect its owner, their family members and the family pets; this is not something that needs to be trained, it is an innate trait. Strangers should not be left unattended with a fila and, like all other guardian breeds, it may not be the best choice for those who have frequent visitors to their homes. Lack of all socialization with strangers at a young age will result in a dog which is very anti-social.
Brazilian Mastiffs are prone to large breed ailments, including Hip Dysplasia, Gastric Torsion and Elbow Dysplasia. The dogs are often prone to bloat or gastric volvulus distension, so feed it two or three times a day, instead of one meal. These dogs require plenty of exercise and hence are not very well suited to city life. Open country with fenced yards are very good for the dogs as it gives them plenty of room to run and exercise.