Fila Brasileiros have a unique temperament. They are 100% devoted to their family – affectionate, playful, incredibly loving with kids; but they are also fiercely protective of those who they consider to be their family. Fila owners agree that their dogs love everything that is “theirs” and hate everything that is not. More than any other breed, Fila Brasileiros are intolerant of strangers. They make excellent guard dogs, but they should only be adopted into families who are experienced dog owners, who have the time to devote to proper training and socialization, and who have properly researched the breed and understand the potential liabilities. For those who have the time and means to work with a Fila, they are also the most loyal breed of dog, in fact there is an old Brazilian saying about loyal friends - “faithful as a Fila.”
Filas Need plenty of exercise to maintain health and happiness, but it can be tricky to get the proper balance of exercise. As puppies, over-exercise can lead to joint problems, but exercise helps them burn off their extra energy, which keeps them from becoming destructive chewers. As adults, Filas mellow out considerably and are much happier lounging around the house than going outside for a long walk or run. It can be easy to fall into a pattern of low exercise, but Filas should be walked several times a day, and also be allowed to run and stretch their legs.
Fila Brasileiros are not apartment dogs. They are far too large and far too wary of strangers and strange noises to be comfortable or safe in a busy building. They are much more suited for people who live on farms or large, stately homes where they have fenced areas to roam.
Training and socialization needs to begin early on in the life of a Fila. They can exhibit extreme dominance, so it is critical to establish leadership as early as possible. Do not ever treat a Fila harshly. While they are completely devoted to the ones they love, they won't hesitate to bite if they feel they are being threatened. Calm-assertiveness and lots of patience are important. Filas respond well to lavish praise and treats.
Severe aggression toward strangers is an inborn trait in Filas and can not be trained out of them. This makes them excellent guard dogs, but can make them difficult family dogs. They generally do not manifest aggression unless touched, or if they feel threatened, but they do not give any outward signs that they are going to attack – they just go for it. Guests should never, ever approach your Fila – in fact, show judges won't even touch this breed. Their temperament is not for everyone, so proper research should be conducted before adopting this breed, even as a guard dog.
There can be legal liabilities that go with owning a Fila. If your dog attacks, you are almost guaranteed to be sued. Many homeowners insurance policies will not cover Fila Brasileiros.