FILA BRASILEIRO – the terror of slaves
Etymology of the first part of the name of the dog is derived from Portuguese "pillar" what it means to restrain. This explains what tasks it was originally used for. The colorful story of the origin of our hero is related to the expansion into South America of the European conquistadors, especially the Portuguese and the Spanish, who brought dogs along with their cattle. Most likely, in the veins of these quadrupeds also flows "Indian blood".
An anecdote from the time of colonization of South America mentions that one of the molossers belonging to Diego de Salazar, named Bacarillo (small calf), with a troop of ten men inspired more fear than a hundred-man company of soldiers. His son, Leoncillo (little lion), was also part of the conquistadors’ equipment. These dogs received a higher salary than the foot soldier, and an adequate portion of food. Both were killed by soldiers, by poisoned Indian arrows.
There are many stories of this type, but the main function of the protoplasts of fila is guarding, defending the property of their master, and especially controlling semi-wild herds of cattle, which for example. The dogs had to be brought to the marking or immobilized in order to eliminate the sick animal. Such a dog herder should have caught a cow by the nostrils or by the ears without injuring it too severely. The brave and vigilant fila brasileiro is an excellent tracker. When it finds its prey, it does not attack but rather stalks it until the hunter arrives. These characteristics, further developed through special training, contributed to the infamous popularity of the breed, especially during the period of slavery in Brazil. The dog was easily able to find an escaped slave that he was not allowed to hurt. because the slave cost a lot. (in Brazil slavery was abolished in 1888).
Massive, dangerous, distrustful of strangers, confident fila brasileiro is a brave and courageous dog. Worth emphasizing is his incredible attachment to the owner and family, far-reaching tolerance for children proverbial faithfulness. Always looking for his master’s company. According to the breed standard, the dog in question should be calm, composed but decisive in action, sharp and trusting in his own strength, not knowing fear in the moment of danger. However in any case fila should not attack without reason. This dog’s balance and calmness does not mean that family friends can play with it, pat it, greet it, etc. because he doesn’t like to be socialized. Decisiveness in action of representatives of discussed breed, wrongly interpreted as irrational aggression, probably had influence on decisions of authorities of some countries – prohibition of fila brasileiro possession.
Fila brasileiro is a typical representative of the molossian dogs: strong bones, compact, harmonious, rectangular body, considerable weight which, in this case, is accompanied by great agility. Thanks to her probably with good effect they were used in Brazil to hunt jaguars and pumas. On the run it can rapidly change direction. It is not a showy dog in the common meaning of the word. The lack of forehead fissure, the loose skin on the jowls, the line of the back rising towards the rump, the drooping, large fleshy ears, the ino-chair movement – all these create the peculiar grace of this proud, lofty but unusually "warm" for the nearest dog.
The first breed standard was developed by d-dr Santos – Cruz on behalf of the Brazilian Kennel Club in 1950. In 1984, after a slight correction – the white and grey coats were eliminated – a draft of the standard was submitted to the FCI and approved under number 225
Appearance. Height: dogs from 65 cm to 75 cm; bitches from 60 cm to 70 cm. Weight: dogs minimum 50 kg; bitches minimum 40 kg. Head: big, heavy, massive, proportional to the whole body of the dog.Seen from above it resembles a trapezoid with a pear-shaped shape. Length of muzzle to length of skull is nearly 1 : 1 (muzzle is slightly shorter). Arrangement of teeth: A scissor bite is ideal, but tongs are permissible. Eyes: medium size, widely spaced, dark brown to yellow, should be toned down with the shade of the coat. A drooping lower eyelid is no mistake, deepening the melancholic expression typical of the breed.
Coat color: all solid colors are acceptable except for white and mouse grey, also spotted and mottled coats are not tolerated. A white mark exceeding 1/4 of the whole body lowers the mark. You should know, however, that a white mark is allowed, but not exceeding the above mentioned limitation – on feet, chest and tail end. A characteristic feature of the breed is thick, loose skin all over the body and mainly on the neck. The coat is straight, compact, clinging, not too long. The tail reaching the hocks should not be curled over the back.
Among the defects disqualifying the representative of this breed, the following should be emphasized: aggression towards the owner, cowardice, blue eyes, lack of corrugated skin, lack of inoculum, height smaller than the minimum, copy ears or shortened tail, malocclusion, lack of one canine or one molar, except for M3. The rump is lower than the withers.Serious conformation faults include a small head.
The episodes mentioned at the beginning, connected with the history of the creation of this breed, do not reflect the complexity of the whole matter. In short the fila brasileiro is an old breed with a very young history. In addition to the Portuguese and Spaniards, the Dutch, British and French also came to Brazil and brought their dogs. Mastiffs, bulldogs, bloodhounds, dogs de bordeaux, Pyrenees mountain dogs, a huge mass of mutts, but also german dogs and mastino napoletano. Some cynological theorists see in the modern Phil the influence of earlier crossbreeds with the Greyhound (mobility and speed). The complexity of the tasks to be fulfilled by this dog, the wildly varying environmental conditions, climate, this meant that above all the personality traits of the dog, its physical fitness, endurance in the broadest sense, rather than external appearance decided the breeding aspirations
The question that arises is whether so many other breeds have to be crossed to create a new breed in the hope that each will only bring the desired traits? This is a very naive assumption. In the appearance of the modern fila brasileiro you can see especially the English bloodhound and the former Spanish alano. Brazil is a huge country (8.500.000 km ) stretching across 39 degrees latitude. It has many climate zones from the tropics with average temperatures of 25 – 27 C to – 12 C in winter, in the south, on the border with Paraguay. This also determines the scale of adaptation conditions for dogs living there
With the approval of the breed standard by the FCI, we can talk about the end of breeding experiments and closing the circle of cross-breeding. Dogs of this breed have thus become clearly defined both in terms of exterior and character. Anyone with any kind of property wants the comfort of safety and protection. The need to go out, especially at night, on the street, accompanied by an effective protector, which is undoubtedly the fila brasileiro, is also associated with the increase in popularity of this breed.
In Brazil, the population of fila is growing rapidly. Annually there are about 5000 puppies. In Europe, admittedly in a much smaller dimension, but also increases the number of these dogs. It can be considered that the guard dogs, defending, in Poland have a huge field to show off and therefore I predict a rapid increase in interest in the discussed breed in our country.
Ready-made, balanced food and completely uncomplicated hygienic procedures, which I have repeatedly discussed at the presentation of dog breeds, close the balance of great positives of owning a fila brasileiro and the minimum expenditure that must be incurred. 2000 PLN for a puppy on average.