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BaxterBoo Blog
September 14, 2011

Fila Brasilerio: A Dog With a Shocking Past

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The Fila Brasilerio (also known as the Brazilian Mastiff) is a dog that isn’t exactly a household name. Even though this uncommon pup has been around for several years, its purpose in history is no surprise why this dog has been kept under wraps.

With a bloodhound ancestry, the Fila Brasilerio is a dog used for hunting. It possesses an inherit ability to track and because of its aggression, the breed has been banned in New York City, The United Kingdom, Israel, Denmark, Norway, Malta, and Cyprus. They’re restricted in Australia and New Zealand.

Fila’s have an intense sense of smell and an inherent nature to chase big game. While its hunting abilities are no surprise, it will shock you to learn just what exactly the Fila were trained to hunt back in the day.


With a very protective instinct, the Fila is a natural born guardian. They do not have to be taught to protect, they’re automatically programmed to do so. They make great family pets since they’re loving and gentle with their families. Filas possess a bravery and courageousness that can’t be taught, but rather it is a characteristic they’re born with.They will be the first in harm's way to protect its family.

Since they’re determined and pack an eagerness to please their families, Filas are easily trained. A true leader of the pack, a Fila has an inert instinct to hunt big game and herd cattle. Beware of dominance issues, however, if a Fila isn’t trained with defined rules and roles. An owner of a Fila must be the dominant leader. Due to its massive size and strength, a Fila who believes to be a leader over humans can be dangerous to society. Proper socialization throughout their lifespan is important.


Descending from the English Mastiff, Bloodhound, Bulldog, and Raferiros, the Fila is a strong and powerful creature. From these breeds, the Fila inherited its superb tracking ability, courage, sudden temperament, and ever-alert disposition.

Mainly used on large plantations and cattle farms, the breed was used in Brazil to track jaguars, cattle, and other animals. This breed was so good at tracking that they were also used to hunt people, particularly slaves. Filas would then find its prey (the slave) and then hold it at bay until its master came. This was helpful in bringing back unharmed runaway slaves.

This shocking detail of the past is no wonder why the history of the Fila is kept on a low-profile. Even though the breed can be raised in a socialized manner and has a gentle disposition with their own families, it doesn't seem to be able to shake its violent past and remains as one of the most feared breeds.

Do you think the Fila is a breed that is unfairly judged? Tell us in a commnet below or on our Facebook page.

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Photo courtesy of f_mafra

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