Fila Brasileiro

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
iStock.com/olgagorovenko

The breed has a unique, cat-like gait, while females have a finer gait than males.


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Fila Brasileiro Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Fila Brasileiro Conservation Status

Fila Brasileiro Locations

Fila Brasileiro Locations

Fila Brasileiro Facts

Name Of Young
Puppy
Fun Fact
The breed has a unique, cat-like gait, while females have a finer gait than males.
Other Name(s)
Brazilian Mastiff and Brazilian Molosser
Temperament
Intense and loyal
Litter Size
2-5 puppies
Diet
Omnivore
Type
Mammal
Common Name
Fila Brasileiro
Origin
Brazil

Fila Brasileiro Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Yellow
  • Fawn
  • Red
  • Black
  • Brindle
  • Light Grey
Skin Type
Hair
Top Speed
36 mph
Lifespan
9-12 years

Fila Brasileiro as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Moderate
Separation Anxiety
Moderate
Preferred Temperature
Warm climate
Exercise Needs
Moderate
Friendly With Other Dogs
Moderate
Pure bred cost to own
$1,500-$2,500
Dog group
Working
Male weight
- lbs
Female weight
- lbs

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This breed is often on banned, aggressive, or dangerous dog breed lists due to attacks toward strange people and dogs.

The Fila Brasileiro is a rare, large dog breed also known as the Brazilian Mastiff or Brazilian Molosser. Its original purpose was to catch runaway slaves when slavery was legal in Brazil. It has also been used on ranches and plantations as a cattle dog, guard dog, tracking dog, and dangerous game-catching dog, as well as in military service. With an excellent tracking ability, intelligence, and courage, and a loyal, affectionate, docile, protective temperament, it is a unique companion animal as well as a working or hunting dog.

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The Different Types and Mixes

There is only one type of Fila Brasileiro. It has a short, smooth coat and can be fawn, black, brindle, or light grey in color with or without a black mask (white is rare). A variety of coat colors and patterns are acceptable. The original Brazilian Mastiff comes from Brazil, but Fila Brasileiro mixes are from the United States. Fila Brasileiro mixes occur when one parent is a Bloodhound-Mastiff crossbreed, Neopolitan Mastiff, English Mastiff, or a Great Dane. A Fila Brasileiro mix can be larger or healthier, or have a longer life span than the original Brazilian Mastiff.

3 Pros and Cons of Ownership

ProsCons
A temperament, unlike any other breed: How it treats strange people and animals depends on genetics and socialization. However, although it should be generally trusting and friendly, it is often more discriminating with age.Attacks to protect: This dog defends its owner. It’s distrusting of strange people and dogs, and without proper socialization, it can attack, although not fatally. Thus, it is banned in some countries. Even if you’re allowed to have it, your homeowner’s insurance policy might be canceled because of it, and people are more likely to sue if your dog does anything at all questionable. It gets along with other dogs in hunting packs, but because it has a strong prey drive, and the modern lines have more aggression toward other dogs and animals, it’s not recommended to keep this breed in your house with another dog, especially a smaller dog, or a cat.
Protectiveness: If you’re looking for a guard dog, you couldn’t ask for a better breed. Its large size and calm and quiet demeanor can change to athletic agility and speed in an instant.Health issues: Irresponsible breeders have increased the likelihood of hip and elbow dysplasia in this breed, crippling the dog and costing owners thousands of dollars in pain medications and surgeries.
Very loyal: “Faithful as a Fila” is an old saying in Brazil. It perfectly describes the extreme loyalty of this breed.Messiness: Not only does this breed shed despite its short fur, but it also drools and slobbers. It can also be prone to gassiness, especially without a natural raw diet.
Fila Brasileiros are very loyal, protective dogs. Their protective side makes them more aggressive.

Size and Weight

The Fila Brasileiro is a large, short-hair dog with a height of 25 to 30 inches for males and 23 to 28 inches for females. Its weight is 90-180lbs, with an average of 141 to 181 for the male, fully grown, and 125 to 161 for the female, fully grown. Puppies weigh an average of 20 pounds at 12 weeks and reach full maturity around 19 to 24 months.

Health and Entertainment for your Fila Brasileiro

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Height (male):25-30 inches
Height (female):23-28 inches
Weight (male):141-181 pounds, fully grown
Weight (female):125-161 pounds, fully grown

Common Health Issues

The Fila Brasileiro has a lifespan of 9 to 12 years. It is generally a very healthy breed that is not prone to any particular health issues; however, irresponsible breeders have made it susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia. It also has a risk of cancer. Like many large breeds with a deep chest, it runs a risk of having gastric torsion (bloat), which is a life-threatening condition. In short, the most common issues a Fila Brasileiro can face are:

  • Joint dysplasia (hip or elbow)
  • Gastric torsion (bloat)
  • Cancer

Temperament

The temperament of the Fila Brasileiro, with its owner, is affectionate, serene, loyal, intense, and protective, with a determined, courageous, confident, and hardy personality. Its behavior is impulsive, independent, and stubborn with a natural tendency to being a guard dog. It is detached and suspicious of strangers. For this reason, it can engage in sudden attacks, especially if not socialized properly. Although it was developed as a hunting dog, it catches or seizes without serious harm, like a retriever. In Brazil, it is said to have ojeriza, or distrust towards strangers.

Care

The Fila Brasileiro has unique health needs. Whether it’s to control shedding, its physical features, or dietary needs, the breed has its own regimen of care that prospective owners should consider.

Best Dog Food

The Fila Brasileiro is a large breed of dog with a deep chest and massive bulk. It can be quite athletically agile and move quickly. Its diet can make a huge difference in its health and lifespan, so prospective owners should choose a dog food that fits the breed, its size, age, and nutritional needs.

Fila Brasileiro puppy food: Your Fila Brasileiro puppy needs a large breed puppy formula. It must be rich in protein and specifically for puppies until it reaches 18 to 24 months of age. Do not overfeed your puppy, which can result in excessively rapid development or weight gain and health issues down the line.

Fila Brasileiro adult dog food: This breed is prone to gassiness (flatulence), but you can cut down on this issue if you choose a natural raw diet, but any premium large breed adult dog food is enough. Once your dog has reached full maturity, you can feed it one large bowl a day or two smaller bowls of food. Do not overfeed to avoid gastric torsion (bloat).

For this breed’s full-body wellness, A-Z Animals says the best dog food for Fila Brasileiro dogs is Purina Pro Plan Large Breed & Giant Breed Chicken & Rice Adult Dry Dog Food.

As such a large dog, your Fila Brasileiro may tend towards joint problems like hip and elbow dysplasia. That’s why it’s great that this food offers a multitude of nutrients that protect the joints- glucosamine, EPA, and Omega-3 fatty acid. Plus, the prebiotic fiber and live probiotics encourage specific gut bacteria to flourish for optimum, stress-free digestion.

Try out Purina Pro Plan Large and Giant Breed Dog Food on Chewy and Amazon.

Best for Large Breed
Purina Pro Plan Adult Large Breed Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
  • Crunchy kibble combined with tender, shredded pieces for taste and texture dogs love
  • High protein formula, with real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Fortified with guaranteed live probiotics for digestive and immune health
  • Used to be known as SAVOR Shredded Blend Large Breed Formula
  • Glucosamine and EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid, for joint health and mobility


Check Chewy Check Amazon

Maintenance And Grooming

The Fila Brasileiro is a shedder in spite of its short fur. However, you can control it with brushing at least once a week and monthly bathing, plus a soft grooming glove in the meantime. No particular grooming for the breed is necessary other than what is common for dogs, including the trimming of claws, and cleaning of ears, eyes, and teeth.

Training

The Fila Brasileiro puppy needs to have training and socialization as early as possible. That’s because it has an independent and stubborn temperament. The best trainer has a gentle but firm and consistent attitude, which will help to restrain the breed’s impulsive tendency. It will also help to avoid separation anxiety, which is a tendency that results from the breed’s need to be part of a pack, and destructive tendencies resulting from boredom or isolation. Early crate training during puppyhood has many benefits.

Exercise

The Fila Brasileiro can be quite playful and outgoing. However, it needs only a moderate level of exercise. It especially enjoys having jobs to do. It needs to have a large backyard to run around in.

Puppies

Fila Brasileiro puppies don’t need exercise other than their own spontaneous playfulness. Five minutes per month of age is enough.

With its independent and stubborn temperament, this breed needs to have proper training and socialization early on.

Children

It’s not recommended to have an adult Fila Brasileiro with children, especially in isolation. However, it is different when it’s a puppy. Early socialization with children can make it used to them and not engage in attacks from horseplay and perceiving them as threatening “their” children, the owner.

Similar Dogs

Some examples of dog breeds that are similar to Fila Brasileiro are English M\mastiffs, bloodhounds, and Great Danes.

  • English Mastiff: One of the Fila Brasileiro’s ancestors, it is the English version of the breed.
  • Bloodhound: Another of the Fila Brasileiro’s ancestors, it is famous for being a scenthound with excellent tracking ability.
  • Great Dane: The Fila Brasileiro in the past was sometimes crossed with Great Danes to achieve a larger size. It is also called the German Mastiff.

Famous

Ama, short for Amazon, was a female born in Itanhandu kennel. She developed a reputation for breeding healthy, original Fila Brasileiro puppies.

  • Beção
  • Caça
  • Guarda
  • Manso
  • Nariz
  • Rajão
  • Bonita
  • Linda
  • Cara
  • Alma

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Fila Brasileiro FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a Fila Brasileiro?

It is a large, rare breed of working dog from Brazil.

Why are Fila Brasileiro banned?

It is banned in some countries due to engaging in attacks towards strange people and dogs.

How fast is a Fila Brasileiro?

It can run up to 35 miles per hour.

How much does a Fila Brasileiro cost?

The average price of a Fila Brasileiro puppy is anywhere from $1,500 to 2,000 with a top-quality dog have a price of $2,500 and above. The final price depends on age, color, and other factors such as whether the owner needs to import it into the country.

How long does a Fila Brasileiro live?

The average life span is 9 to 12 years.

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Sources

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  18. Black River Bullmastiffs (1970) http://www.blackriverbullmastiffs.com/newsDetail.php?Dog-Separation-Anxiety-and-What-You-Can-Do-To-Help-36 Jump to top / Accessed September 21, 2021