The Fila Brasileiro is a large working breed of dog developed in Brazil.
The Fila Brasileiro is a Molosser breed with large bones and loose skin. The breed standard requires males to be between 65 and 75 cm (25.5 inches to 29.5 inches) high at the withers and weigh at least 50 kg (110 lbs). Females are slightly smaller and are expected to be 60 to 70 cm (23.5 inches to 27.5 inches) high at the withers and weigh at least 40 kg (90 lbs).
The coat of the Fila Brasileiro is smooth and short. Black, Fawns (Red, Apricot, or Dark), and Brindled (Fawn, Black, or Brown Brindle) colours 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 Fila Brasileiro is an excellent estate guardian. It does not hide its dislike towards strangers, but these dogs are not disqualified from the show ring for showing aggression to the judges. Such aversion is instinctive in Filas, so much so that the Brazilian breed standard advises judges not to touch the dog. However, the FCI standard allows for disqualification of excessively aggressive dogs, mainly when the owner doesn't have enough control to show them in public areas. The breed is renowned for their faithfulness to family and friends, but this is not a breed for everyone. The Fila needs a confident, experienced, savvy owner who is aware of the breed's innate tendencies. Filas are not well suited to busy households which entertain many guests, as they do not interact well with strangers. The Fila is a natural guardian breed.
Filas bond strongly with their immediate families and show extreme loyalty and protectiveness towards them. They live to protect their loved ones, including children and other pets. Very few will accept strangers. Many Filas will never tolerate any stranger. Perhaps because of their aversion towards strangers, they are excellent family dogs, devoted to the children in their family.
The Fila Brasileiro is believed to have been evolved from a number of breeds, predominantly the Mastiff, the Bulldog, and the Bloodhound. The Fila Brasileiro breed was bred and raised primarily on large plantations and cattle farms where they were originated.
They were taught to chase down jaguars, cattle, and other animals, as well as runaway slaves. The dogs would grab the slave or animals by the neck and hold them until the farmer arrived. This instinct can be observed among puppies when they are playing.
The first written standard of the breed was edited in 1946. The Paulistas were responsible for organization a planned breeding program, opening a stud book to register dogs. About the registries, CBKC (Brazilian Confederation Kennel Club) follows the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) policy and accepts for registration only dogs with FCI pedigrees, orientating the breeders to make a hip dysplasia control and besides other health problems. The Fila Brasileiro is described as a Brazilian Mastiff or a Brazilian Molosser. In the U.S., there are two specialty Fila Clubs and both follow the CBKC/FCI Standard, which is the original and legitimate standard of the breed recognized all over the world. In the U.S., the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) does a statistical registry of all Filas that were x-rayed to diagnose Hip Dysplasia.
In New York City, the United Kingdom, Israel, Denmark, Norway, Malta and Cyprus it is illegal to own any of these dogs without specific exemption from a court. The Fila is a restricted breed in Australia, the states of Qld, N.S.W., Victoria, S.A and W.A the Fila is a restricted or proscribed breed. Imports are also prohibited. They are automatically classified as a dangerous dog in New Zealand, meaning they cannot be imported and males must be neutered.