The Fila Brasileiro, pronounced "fee-lah braz-a-lyre-o," is a large working breed from Brazil that was developed during the 15th century to guard against thieves, wrangle cattle, and protect livestock from predators. It is believed that this massive dog, also known as the Fila or Brazilian Mastiff, shares ancestors with the Bloodhound, Mastiff, and the now-extinct Bullenbeiser, retaining many of their physical characteristics. Today, the Fila Brasileiro is gaining popularity as a versatile guardian dog.
A molossoid-type breed, the large, yet agile Fila Brasileiro has a massive and heavy head with a rectangular-shaped body. Their short coat is smooth, dense, and only comes in brindle or solid colors. The breed's broad head is accompanied by a strong muzzle with powerful jaws and a black nose. Brazilian Mastiffs have large, thick ears that are broad at the base then taper at the end with rounded tips. The medium-length tail is raised high when the dog is alert.
The Fila Brasileiro was bred for the purpose of tracking and hunting large predators, giving these dogs an intense temperament that can be difficult to control at times. Although they should be fairly docile and obedient, the Brazilian Mastiff does not come this way. Early and frequent socialization and training are essential to prevent an overly independent and aggressive Fila. Even with a bold personality, these guardians are very intelligent and can respond well to training with a strong authority figure but they are not an appropriate choice for inexperienced or first-time dog owners. Do not let their appearance fool you, this massive dog is quite agile and requires plenty of exercise to avoid bad behavior. Fila Brasileiros make excellent working dogs and are even useful as trackers, all while still being quite tolerant of children. This headstrong breed exudes confidence and bravery, making a great choice for firm individuals looking for a dedicated guardian.