The Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff) Is a Great Guard Dog
Some breeders of Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff) believe it is an ancestor of the first dogs found by the Portuguese when they met the natives of Brazil over 500 years ago.
Many other breeders believe the old Portuguese texts that state that the native had no domestic animals. Do they really believe that a group of people exist in this world without dogs?
Even if you do not believe they have native blood, the breed is Brazilian, descended from the dogs the European colonists brought to work cattle in their new colony. It may have Bloodhound ancestors, it may have English Bulldog ancestors, and it may even be a relative of the Presa Canario, since some of its ancestors may be from the Azore Islands.
According to João Bapista Gomes, the author of Fila Brasileiro and a well known judge of the breed here in Brazil, the breed origin is most likely the Azore islands. It was crossed with Mastiffs from England and the Brazilian Mastiff was thus developed to work in isolated and dangerous cattle ranches.
What do they look like?
With a strong, rectangular body, the dogs look like workers. Their heads are big and square, their ears are large and floppy, and when they walk around their back end is higher than their shoulders.
They can be black, fawn, brindled, and a lot of dogs have patches of white. According to the First National Symposium of the Brazilian Mastiff (held in Brasilia in 1976) the males are between 65 to 75 cm at the withers, and, though they have to weigh at least 50 kg, often weigh a lot more. Females are a little smaller but still weigh at least 40 kilograms.
What do they act like?
The Brazilian Mastiff is a great family guard dog since they are great company for their owners and people they know well, but they are known for their dislike of strangers.
They have usually been plantation dogs so are used to having a lot of space to run around; the Fila Brasileiro is not a good dog for apartments and busy households where the kids have many visitors. They are not like the Neapolitan Mastiff, satisfied laying around and guarding the estate, and the dogs that I know of who do not get out for much exercise are frustrated and excessively aggressive.
Who should buy a Fila Brasileiro?
Since the Fila does not do well when confined to an apartment or small house, he should only be obtained by someone who has the space to keep one and the desire to own a dog that needs exercise and stimulation. The new owner should be looking for a guardian, but a Fila that is confined to that role is an unhappy dog.
The Brazilian Mastiff also has the honor of being selected as a dangerous breed by the idiots in the United Kingdom. That is ridiculous, as the Fila is no more dangerous than any large breed. They are large, and powerful enough to fight a jaguar, but not a breed that should be banned.