Information: How To Differentiate An Unmixed Fila With a Crossbred One

By Dr. Paulo Santos Cruz
(published in “O Fila” nº 1, december 1978)
translated by CAFIB
The unscrupolous creators who have introduced the crossing of races with the Fila Brasileiro have made use on a large scale of the Neapolitan mastiff and the Old English Mastiff. The use of Danish Dog instead of Neapolitan Mastiff to easier achieve black specimens comes to fit the situation. Fila crossbreds to some of these races was matched to Filacrossbreds with another ones. Hence, now, one can find specimens showing features of three different races, over and above Fila. Yet, knowing the Fila can make easy to differentiate the crossbred ones.

FILA (Fig. I) First, one should look at the figure or the broad proportions of the dog. Fila is right-angled: his length (from chest end to rump end) should surpass his height (from withers to the ground). And this height is half chest (whithers of the sternum), and half legs (from elbow to feet). Although right – angled, his figure is solid, expressing a mighty concentration of power, as well as agility, speed and resistance. FILA/NEAPOLITAN MASTIFF (Fig. II)

The Fila/Neapolitan Mastiff crossbreds show lengthened shape, short legs, very large chest, appearing weighty, nimblelessness. A typically shortlined figure. His motion shows a large lateral oscillation off the center of gravity, due to the difficulty of, trotting, to bring near the feet, because of the short legs and large chest. The lower line describes two curves. The first is concave, from the chest end to xiphoid, just like a net; the second one is convex, from the posterior end
of the sternum (xiphoid) to the groins.

DANISH FILA (Fig. III) The Fila/Danish crossbreds show a square figure – length and height of equal size; but the height is given mainly by the legs, which are higher than the depth of the chest. Appears usually as a short dog, tall, long-legged, long-necked, the head going long beyond the body; not much or even lack of front part of chest; a long lined figure.

FILA/MASTIFF (Fig. IV) The Mastiff crossbreds are large, gigantic; an almost square figure. The neck is bulky, although not much short. Horizontal upper line slightly going down to the hindleg. High insertion tail. Not much dewlap. Appears nonchalant or weary.

Colours – FILA. Usually Fila have three colours:
1) yellow, ranging from light-bay to chestnut brown, including a light greyish and reddish yellow. With or without black mask and ears. The masks are restrained to the muzzle;
2) striped: Bottom in all the hues of the first colour, prevailing the golden or reddish yellow, small black stripes that go from lightly striped to darkly striped, that is with few stripes or many stripes. The stripes are small, thin, with the very same width all along its length, and all the way irregularerly distributed. Linking along the vertebral column, it draws a “V”. Mask just like mentioned on the item above.White marks appear usually on the fingers, or going up till the wrists; on the front part of the chest, maybe going up the neck, forming a necklace; on the tail end.
3) Third colour, unusually, white, with striped spots. White colour free of any black signals, even on the skin. Usually the spots are shown on both sides of the head; forming a coat over the back; on the hind leg. The colour of the eyes, for the Fila, tend towards the yellow, ever, in all its hues.

1) Slate-black colour with black or reddish-yellow eyes.
2) Light-grey, with grey or blue eyes.
3) Striped with greyish bottom, with black lengthy stripes. These stripes are very numerous , short but large at the beginning, rapidly becoming thin. The black has a slate hue. It usually comes together at the withers, making small black spots, from where the stripes ariss.

1) Jet black, with black eyes. Usually showing small white spots on the front part of the chest, going up to the throat. On the legs these white spots arise tike tall socks, asymetrical, that is, in one leg it goes up till the middle of the metacarpus, on the other leg it goes up till the elbow.
2) White with large black spots, like dutch cattle.
3) White with black and yellow spots, the yellow ones restrained to the head.
4) Greyish, with irregular black spots and blue eyes
5) Yellow, without black mask, with clear eyes.

The “mastiffied” usually have the following colours:
1) Apricot-yellow, with black mask, filling up all the muzzle and going up to the forehead, enclosing the eyes
2) Strongly greyish yellow, with mask restrained to the edge of the lips and ears
3) Striped, with black stripes, large and irregular, over a very reddish bottom. The stripes are so much and so large that the evident bottom between them has almost the very same width of the stripes. Black mask.

In face of the wide number of details to appreciate, these will be numerate along with the description of the Fila´s head. In describing the crossbred ones, it will be used the same number to assign the respective part.

1) The head is devided in two almost equal parts; muzzle and skull, being the muzzle a little bit smaller than the skull (XZ=ZM)
2) Usually the upper line of the muzzle slightly changes direction, starting from where the nasal septum meets the frontal bone, that is, where the bone is over and cartilage begins. Roman nose.
3) The “stop”or frontal cavity (a step between the skull and the muzzle) – Z – it´s virtually inexistant. The “stop” viewed in profile, results from the elevation of the superciliary arches, forming, between them, the “mean grove”, which extends itself till the epicranium (the middle part of the skull), in such a slight ascent, almost imperceptible, which is the real “stop”.
4) The upper line of the skull, in profile, describes a slight curve, from the “stop” to the occipital, perfectly regular, reaching the highest end in the epicranium. Although curved, this line is low.
5) The occipital sticks up, going long beyond the neck line -M-
6) The fore-line of the muzzle starts going down vertically, then turns into a large curve, completing itself on the lower line of
the muzzle. This curve (Y) is perfect, as if it had been drawed with compasses. Thus, the lower line of the muzzle is also described by the upper lips. The lower lips have indented edges. Evident labial commissure.
7) The ears arise under the eyes line (P-Q) and surpass it only when the dog is on the alert. The insertion is in the rearest part of the skull.The root is leaning; the inner edge of the auricle is much taller then the rear edge. The hide is large, gross, and it ends in round curve. Usually the Fila has large ears.

8) The nose does not fill up the front. The muzzle should appear on both sides of the nose. Black.
9) Muzzle with highly convex curve, allowing place for the dental roots. Full face, the curve of the upper lip is sharp and symmetrical (2/4 fig. V) The mean curve (T) is less convex than those of the root (S) and of the end (R) fig. I. Thus, plant view, the muzzle is large at the root, not much large at the mean, and a little bit large again at the end.
10) Small teeth with regard to the size of the muzzle, even though large. Sharp upper incisors, almost three-angled Scissors-shaped bite.
11) Eyes inserted on the gross skin. Superciliary arches form two elevations, as if the forehead was cleaved in two, by the resulting mean groove,which, in a slight ascent, goes up till the middle of the skull.Wide apart eyes, tending towards round shape, mainly dogs showing fallen lower eyelids
12) The sides of the head are plane, practically going over to the sides of the muzzle (3/5 fig. V), making no stops.

1) Very short muzzle, with regard to the skull, in a aproximate proportion from 1/3 to 2/3 (XZ smaller than ZM)
2) Straight muzzle upperline, parallel to the skull side
3) Dense “stop”, and abrupt, shaped by the frontal bone, where the arches are inserted, almost imperceptible
4) Plane skull upper line, straight, parallel to that of the muzzle. Too wrinkly skin.
5) Outstanding occipital (just like that of the Fila)
6) Vertical muzzle foreline, going down and shaping also the lower line. That is, the muzzle is entirely shaped by the upper lip (XY). The lower lip is visible only when the mouth is wide open. Its edges are smooth and irregulary apart of the maxillary. The muzzle is deeper than lengthy – in other words, the distance between the upper line and the lower line is bigger than that between the root and the nose end (XY bigger than XZ)
7) High insertion ears, at the level of the skull upper line; small, with regard to the size of the head. Almost horizontal auricle.

8) The nose takes up the whole front part of the muzzle
9) Muzzle´s curve very sharp; both sides of the muzzle go down virtually straight, diagonally, shaping the mouth gap sharply triangular. The mouth is usually open (gasping for breath) -2/4, fig. VI
10) Pincers-shaped bite, or with lower prognatism
11) Small eyes, almost oval, wide apart, inserted near the lateral edge of the forehead. Squared.
12) Too long skull. Convex sides (swollen faced), enhancing the appearance of width and shaping a too evident stop in the crossing to the root of the muzzle (3/5 fig. VI)

1) Length of the muzzle equal or bigger than that of the skull.
2) Muzzle upper line parallel to that of the skull, and to the lower (XZ // ZM)
3) Well marked “stop”, mean, vertical, shaped by the frontal bone
4) Plane skull upper line, straight, virtually parallel to the upper and lower lines of the muzzle (XZ // ZM // OL)
5) Occipital hardly visible or even not visible
6) Fore line going down vertically, describing a curve only when crossing to the lower line
7) High insertion ears, narrow and thin.

8) Large nose, taking up the whole widht of the muzzle (7/8 fig. VII)
9) Muzzle sides plane and vertical, square shaped (2/4 fig. VII)
10) Large teeth, pincers or scissors-shaped bite
11) Apart eyes, round, small, squaring, practically even with the skin
12) Head and muzzle sides plane, flat, parallel one to each other (3/5 // 7/8, fig.VII)

1) Short muzzle, with regard to the skull (XZ smaller than ZM)
2) Muzzle upperline straight.
3) Vertical “stop”, abrupt shaping an almost right angle together with the muzzle upper line.”Stop” shaped by the frontal bone.
4) Skull upperline keeping apart the two globulous forehead of the skull.
5) Occipital hardly perceptible.
6) Muzzle fore line (XY) tumbled down by lower prognatism, Upper lips not much deep, and in some instances don´t even wrapping the lower ones.
7) Too small ears, slim, triangular, high inserted. Sometimes inserted on the upper part of the skull.

8) Small nose, taking up only the centre of the muzzle. Usually negroid.
9) Not much deep muzzle, dominated by the prominance of the lower jaw end (prognatism or pincers)
10) Irregular teething, amiss positioned
11) Small eyes, egg-shaped, wide apart, deep, dark, usually hazelnut coloured
12) Because of the very high insertion of the ears, and the arched size of the head, the distance between the roots of the ears is usually smaller than that between the zygomas of the parotids. Result: the head, full face, reminds a lozenge shape (9/6 smaller than 3/5 fig. VIII).

Clearly, all of these details will not be present in all the crossbreds. Each one of them will appear only when their genetical pattern prevails, by reason of its higher domination, or strengthening by the connextion of the parental factors, or yet the higher
concentration of one of the races involved. Usually the crossbreds show the following phenotypes:

1) Sharply square figure
2) Sharply shortlined
3) Short legs
4) Lower line in two opposite curves; concavous the cherst and convex the belly
5) Upperline tending towards concaveness (saddle-backed)
6) Plane hind-leg
7) High insertion and short tail, tending to twist up or to fall on above the back
8) Small head, short and too deep
9) Muzzle much deeper than lengthy
10) Pending lips
11) Lower jaw end hidden under the pending lips
12) Mouth often open as if the dog was breathless – full face, the gap is sharply triangular-shaped
13) Too outstanding and abrupt “stop”
14) High insertion ears, small, slim
15) Convex sided skull (arched). Full face the skull bends, patching the convex sides of the skull, ballshaped, which makes the
muzzle appears even narrower and forms a step on the crossing of the skull sides to the muzzle sides
16) Dewlapped throat
17) Colours: slate, dark striped with sharply greyish bottom, greyish or slate stripes
18) Noisy behaviour, being aggressive against human beings and other dogs, yet taking on the approach of the people
19) Hesitent temper, being reluctant to start reaction and breaking off groundlessly, and starting over when encouraged. Usually
low threshold or weak nervous system.The attack is creeping, crouching.

1) Sharply square figure
2) Long-legged
3) Short sternum, causing a sharp ascent of ther lower line (herring chest)
4) Side skirt, even in males
5) Straight barrel upper line
6) Not much leaning hind-leg
7) Lengthy and slim tail
8) The neck is lengthy, enhancing as it goes on to meet the shoulders
9) Narrow chest
10) Shoulders going onward, placed just under the neck
11) Lengthy and narrow and not much deep head
12) Upper planes of the head are parallel
13) Small, but abrupt”stop”
14) High insertion and narrow ears
15) Head and muzzle sides are parallel
16) Colours: lustrous jet-black; narrow white spots, lengthy, on the front part of the chest, white spots on the fore members,
non symmetrical, that is, higher in one of the legs; sharply greyish yellow, with blue eyes; white with large jet-black spots;
striped with long stripes on golden bottom
17) Nervous behaviour, restless or cool and weary
18) Weak temper
19) Sensitive nerves (low threshold)

1) Gigantic figure, almost square
2) Too large and deep head, but not lengthy
3) High and abrupt “stop”
4) Gobulous forehead
5) Small ears, high insertion, just above the skull
6) Too wrinkly forehead
7) Hardly perceptible occipital
8) Low deep muzzle
9) Lower prognatism resulting in outstanding lower jaw
10) Uniform width of the neck, with mean length
11) Not much pending dewlap
12) Deep and large barrel
13) Strong and tall legs
14) High insertion tail tending to twist up
15) Colours: light yellow, black mask, striped with large black stripes, reddish-yellow bottom. Because of the very high number of stripes, the evident bottom sometimes appears with the very same width, and could be described as spotted rather than striped
16) Cool behaviour, indifferent
17) Non-reactive or fearful temper (going slowly back and hiding) -the attack when it happens is clearly instructed, that is, creeping attack, or tap-dancing beside the master.