Fila Brasileiro

Also known as the Brazilian Guard Dog or the Brazilian Fila, this breed was originally created to hunt big game such as wild hoar and jaguar.


The original ancestors of this powerful dog were crossed with bulldogs and Bloodhounds, to create a fearless, all-round hunting dog of enormous strength and stamina. The mastiff element gave it size and strength, the bulldog element gave it a fearless, and the Bloodhound element gave it a scenting potential. This awesome combination created it into a formidable hunters aid.

Because of its success at this type of hunting, it was used on ranches to take runaway cattle, pursuing them and then leaping up to grab them by the ear. Later it became a popular guard dog for both livestock and property. Formal breeding to a fixed standard did not begin until the 1950s

The breed is now recognized by the FCI. The Fila Brasileiro is listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 in Great Britain.


The Fila Brasileiro were bred to be deeply suspicious of strangers, and this quality has never left them, making them something of a liability in a modern setting. When they are entered in dog shows, for example, the judges are instructed never to touch them. If they forget this warning, they are liable to lose some of their fingers. With its own human family, however, it is calm and faithful, and gentle with the children. It has been described by one enthusiast as ‘the security system that loves you’. It is certainly true that, with one of these huge, fearless, stranger-hating dogs in your house, you would have no need of any sophisticated electronic device to protect you from intruders.


Visually, this dog is exactly as one would expect a cross between a mastiff, a bulldog and a Bloodhound to look. Its short coat is either brindle or a solid colour, but never white or grey.

The Fila Brasileiro is about 24-28 inches/60-70 cm at the withers. It has a heavy, rectangular body — the backline should slope behind the withers and then rise over the loins and end in a sloping croup. The ears and tail should be kept undocked. Pacing is typical of the breed. The coat should be smooth and hard. Although all colors are permitted, it is usually brindle or fawn, with or without white markings.

Gallery of Fila Brasileiro