The Fila Brasileiro is a large working dog and is known for their tracking skills and aggression. They make formidable guard dogs, being alert and highly intelligent. This powerful dog requires a strong pack leader (their owner) to guide their behavior and control the dog's impetuous nature. They were used in Brazil to track escaped slaves when slavery was legal, and they would hold the slave until their master arrived. The Fila Brasileiro is surprisingly fast, and very agile. They make loyal and devoted pets but can be very wary of strangers with the potential for aggression. The breed is banned in several countries due to its impetuous nature and potential for aggression, while some countries allow imports of the dogs as long as the males are neutered. This dog is very intelligent, and is very friendly and affectionate with their family. Socialising is very important for this dog, to enable them to realise that not all strangers are a menace. They can be very kind and tolerant of children, but they have a high prey drive so may not be so adaptable to smaller pets. Beautiful and graceful, this dog is one that requires an owner who knows how to handle dogs correctly. Because of the power and strength of the Fila Brasileiro, this is one dog you don't want to take the inititive - the dog needs to be taught the rules or they will make their own.
The Filo Brasileiro dog was developed during the 15th Century in Brazil , with the purpose to be a large working breed that was useful for herding, guarding and hunting. One theory of how this dog originated is that the dog was the result of selective breeding between Spanish and Portuguese dogs such as the Spanish Mastiffs or other large breeds brought to Brazil during the Iberian Union. Another theory is that the Filo Brasileiro developed through careful breeding involving the English Mastiff, the Bulldog, and the Bloodhound. You can see many of the Bloodhound characteristics in the Filo Brasileiro, especially around the face. The Filo Brasileiro was ideal for large plantation or cattle owners not only as a working dog with the stock but also as a guard dog who was very territorial and would protect their master's property with a vengeance. This dog was used to hunt down the elusive jaguar, manage the cattle and hunt down other animals. When slavery was legal in Brazil, this dog was used to hunt down runaway slaves, and hold them unharmed until their master arrived. This dog is surprisingly fast and agile for their size, and is dedicated and intensely loyal to their master. While charming and affectionate to their family, this dog has a natural suspicious nature and needs an experience owner to bring the best out in the dog. There are some countries that have banned this dog due to its size and level of aggression, but often more so because some owners were unable to handle this dog in the right way, giving rise to a stigma over this regal animal. But in the right hands, this dog is intelligent, loyal, sensible, reliable and very strong.
The Filo Brasileiro is an impressive looking dog, they stand up to 30 inches high at the shoulders and have a solid muscular body. The hind legs of this dog are longer than their forelegs, which gives the dog's body a sloping appearance when standing. Their body is slightly longer than it is high, and they have a long pointed tail that is often held low. The Filo Brasileiro has a deep chest and has a massive head that features triangular ears held flat against the face. You can see the Bloodhound influence in the breed by the heavy dewlap and pronounced floppy lips. Dark round eyes that miss nothing gaze unflinchingly upon you. With a weight often over the 100 pounds mark, this is one imposing, impressive dog. They have a short haired, loose fitting coat that is very dense and quite harsh to the touch and they come in a wide range of colors except for solid white. Sometimes they feature a black face mask but not always. The Filo Brasileiro is always alert, which is why they make such excellent guard dog. Strong in build, strong in personality - this dog requires a strong experienced leader to enable them to become the well rounded dog they should be.
The Filo Brasileiro was bred for hunting on the great cattle estates of Brazil. Known as a tough, fierce dog, they can hold their own in the hunt for wild boar or even the jaguar, and they can drive cattle over a vast array of terrain types. They are used as guard dogs on large estates or for family and business. The Filo Brasileiro has a reputation for fierceness, and in some countries such as England, they are banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act. This dog has an intense loyalty to their master and are very territorial. While they are known to be gentle and kind with children of their master's family, they have less tolerance towards strangers. This intolerance requires the dog to be socialised fully to ensure they overcome their natural inclination to be reserved. Any bold, aggressive and dominant dog requires an experienced handler. A Filo Brasileiro dog needs to be integrated into family life; they need to learn how to behave and must obey their master. A well raised Filo Brasileiro will reward you with devoted loyalty, affection and respect. This last part is very important, as a dog of this caliber needs to respect their owner. A Filo Brasileiro that is allowed to be dominant or is not socialised and fully trained can be a dangerous dog. They are not suited to apartment living as there is not enough room for them to exercise, even if you take them out each day for a run. This dog needs a good sized yard or a farm lifestyle to bring out the best in them.
The Filo Brasileiro dog is moderately active, requiring the need to burn off that pent up energy each day to enable the dog to be the best it can be. If your dog is a working farm dog, they will keep themselves active enough, but otherwise, a good walk each day will be a minimum requirement. They are a large dog, and while they are happy exploring around the back yard (ensure it is well fenced for everyone's safety, including the dog's), they need to be taken out and socialised to keep their temperament well balanced. As puppies, they are as playful as any other dog, although they may knock you off your feet by their growing weight and boisterous nature. As a mature dog, they tend to be less active but are always alert and can be very protective of their property and people. Don't leave a Filo Brasileiro chained up outside; apart from this being cruel, they need to communicate with people to overcome their natural reserved personality. They will love family outings but do keep this dog on a leash as they have a strong hunting instinct and may take off after smaller animals.