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Fila Brasileiro History

[Note: The following articles appeared in MM 5 starting on page 37, moderated by Cristofer Habig]

Living Proof of the Fila History

In the following article, Dr. Paulo Santos Cruz, one of the important men who began to sytematically breed the Fila Brasileiro, who contributed largely in setting the standard, and who now therefore, has the right to be called the "Father" of the Fila Brasileiro, reports about a meeting between himself, Jose Gomes de Oliveira and Cel Pedro Ribeiro Junqueiro de Souza.

All three men are long-standing important breeders and living evidence of the earlier history of the Fila Brasileiro, and all belong to that group of people who contributed to the establishment of the breed. Just as Dr. Paulo wrote in his most friendly greetings to the MM, see MM 1/1982, p. 6, the underhand measures of crossbreeding with the Fila, has called the men to action. From the words of Dr. Paulo, one can sense that they are fighting with heart and soul for the Fila, for the preservation of the purity and type of their only surviving Brazilian breed. Carlos Feijo de Carvalho has very kindly translated it into English for us.

It will not be difficult for the true Fila-lovers to work up enthusiasm for this breed and its true type. Indeed, we can only preserve and promote this wonderful breed in Europe and anywhere else outside Brazil, if we go about our work with the same enthusiasm as the breeders and dog-lovers around Dr. Paulo. Brazil is far away. But each typically true Fila is a part of Brazil! And each Fila-crossbred dog is a false piece of Brazil!

Just as the Mastino Napoletano is linked with Italy and above all Naples, the Mastiff with Britain, and the Dogue de Bordeaux with France and above all its South part, so is the Fila linked with Brazil - with its people, their temperament, their culture and their landscape. In today's modern terms, that's known as "eco-sociology".

The MM is very pleased to print Dr. Paulos second article. The first article can be found in MM 2/198 1, p. 99-110, under the title "How does one differentiate between a true Fila and a crossbred'?" Every Fila-Friend is warmly recommended to read this relevant contribution.

{Note: This long and wonderfully illustrated article is in German, so it is difficult to put up. However, if anyone is voluteering to translate, I will endeavor to put it up soon, rather than after all the English articles. I apologize for the seeming favortism, but it triples the workload.}

In the following article, Dr. Paulo discusses with his two friends on the many publications (this time in CAES & CO), in which the history of the Fila is distorted, with the effect of trying to make the Fila-mongrels somewhat 'presentable'. So it is maintained in CAES & CO once again that there may well once have been black Filas. This is meant as a justification of the cropping up of black Filas nowadays.

The specifications of Dr. Paulo and his experts stand contrary to this, for up till now, no black Fila has emerged which has not, according to Dr. Paulo , at the same time also shown characteristics of the Deutsche Dogge/Great Dane, the Mastino etc. Where the black dog, which has come from Brazil to Germany as a Fila is concerned, its disappointed owner told the MM the dog was not a typical Fila and therefore would not be shown!

Another argument is the given variations of type which would always be associated with the Fila, as some people say. Another variant of this unhonest argument was shown last year in the AGM of the German Molosser club: even a Brazilian, interested in exporting Filas, thought that both the newly imported Fila puppies which were shown in Kirchheim last year, looked exactly the same. Concerning the male dog, the club chairman, Walt Weisse, said several times publicly, that the dog looked like a Mastino! On the other hand, the bitch was very typical. In fact, both Filas looked completely different, of which those knowledgeable in this field were left in no doubt.

What can be learned from this? Two things: it will either be stated that there have always been aggravating type distinctions and that a couple of new Fila-types will make no difference; or the visible distinctions between a typical and an atypical Fila will simply not be seen. That's how the problem can be played down! But read Dr. Paulo Santos Cruz.

Three old breeders having a historical meeting. Von Dr. Paulo Santos Cruz

Let's start with a passage from an article published by "Caes & Co" No. 28:

"The south of Minas Gerais State was mainly the region which preserved the breed of the big-headed dogs, introduced by the colonizers. Most of this work went on in the town of Varghinha, where the Arrendados farm, belonging to Cel Sao Antonio dos reis, had already been breeding Filas since 1913. Their dogs resembled the Bull Dog. The Morro Grande farm belonging to Antonio Mariano dos Reis, owned Fila strains of yellow, brindle and black specimins. The Reis family and also farmer Jose Gomes de Oliveira were the greatest producers of Filas in the '40's and '50's. The latter was the breeder whose dogs were mostly brought to Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte and sonic of' his strains had great influence of the Deutsche Dogge. Another great breeder of that region in the '50's was

Pedro Ribeiro Junqueira de Souza, also a colonial and nicknamed 'Pedrinho do Engenho', owner of Engenho farm. The farm was in Silveira Ferraz, today called Carmo de Minas."

Not too long ago we took the opportunity of meeting old friends again at the Fila analysis organized by the CAFIB. We talked about the past and discussed the above quoted text.

Jose Gomes de Oliveira informed us that Cel Soao Antonio dos Reis owned Morro Grande farm and not Arrendados. All Morro Grande's Filas were bought by Jose Gomes personally, and constituted the main stock; it is difficult to understand how Jose Gomes' dogs were influenced by the Deutsche Dogge when the dogs on the Morro Grande farm were supposed to all have resembled the Bull Dog.

Regarding the black dogs apparently bred by Cel Mariano dos Reis, Jose Gomes de Oliveiro remarked quite plainly:

"I'm 77 years old, was born in and have lived in Varginha 77 years. I knew all the members of the Reis family and also all the other breeders. I continued the breeding of my father's stock so I can honestly say: 'I NEVER saw a black Fila. A black dog is not a Fila'."

We also had the great pleasure of meeting Cel Pedro Ribeiro Junqueiro de Souza who had travelled from Carmo de Minas to Varginha to meet us. We met with tears in our eyes. I asked him about crossbreeding:

"In this area I don't know of any cases. There is cross-breeding in Sao Paulo though and in Rio. Dr. Enio Monte who I know well, made me aware of the importation of Mastiffs and their intensive and indiscriminate mating with Fila females. So it does exist, but as far as I know, not in this region."

The Fila breed owes a great deal to the Minas state breeders. They maintained its purity, before the breed became popular in the Brasilian cities. To this day, the result, of Jose Gomes' breeding show an enviable equality, proving his care in selecting. Some people imply that his dogs are mixed; a slander only attempting to justify the diversity of type resulting from cross-breeding.

Interestingly enough, according to Caes & Co magazine, the Fila is not Brasilian. It is only "a breed of big-headed dogs, introduced by the colonizers in Brasil." It apparently came from abroad. So, the Clube Paulista do Fila Brazileiro responsible for the article is actually saying that the Brasilian Fila is a FOREIGN FILA! Why in heaven's name doesn't the club change its name to "Clube Paulista of the Imported Fila"!


Another passage in the same article: [Caes & Co]

"Mr. Carlos Alberto Euler Bueno of the Vila Pualista Kennels ... used to hear from his father about the good qualities of the Fila as a working and watch dog in the farms around Amparo,... one day going through Largo da Carioca Square in Rio, in 1945, he bought from a pet shop a couple of brindle Filas, which came from the south of' Minas state, more exactly from Hajuba's region ... Those dogs were exhibited at the age of 15 months, On July l7th, 1946 ... It is therefore only 35 years since the breed began to be officially recognized, being then still very young and needing development."

This information is incorrect as far as the breed being still very young, Up until 1946 the Brasilian Kennel Club did not have a lot to say for the Fila. The reason for their comtempt is a mystery. It is only true that in 1940 the breed was officially recognized.

The breed was already old and established (unofficially). This is why "Mr. Euler Bueno ... used to hear from his father about the good qualities of the Fila."

The two dogs bought by Mr. Euler Bueno were Bumbo and Rolo da Vila Paulista. Later on, I bought Bumbo, the first champion of the breed, he was old and in very bad condition so that I could not use him as a stud; but he was a good guard and an excellent friend. Bumbo rests today near the other dead Parnapuans.

Pedro Ribeiro Junqueira de Souza (Cel Redrinho), talking to me in Varginha, remembered his father's Filas which came from the stock of Pedrinho's grandfather. Cel Pedrinho is over 70 years old now this alone taking the breed back to 1870.

Fila Clubs often remark that the breed is still,"very young" and needing development but we stress once again that it is only a reaction to and a justification for the many forms and colours that have been brought to our rings in the last 10-15 years especially in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

The expression "officially recognized" is an empty one for us. The advantages of this "honour" for the Fila breed are non-existent.

I have been breeding Filas since March 1949 and never received guidance in any form from any dog association about how to go about the job. None of us needed their assistance. Rather than assisting us, the association achieve the opposite. To be officially recognized means that one must pay for the dogs to be born, registered etc.

It also brings confusion. In the last decade there has been an abundant delivery each year of' Fila pedigrees to any large and big-eared dog.

To cut a long story short, the Fila breed ignored by the dog associations until 1946 has been officially neglected ever since.

Finally, the article written in Caes & co had only one goal: to justify "the existence nowadays of about six accepted type varieties of this breed!"

Accepted by whom? How can anybody accept six type varieties in one breed? What should the varieties be?

It is an incredible contradiction : a club that is supposed to specialize in one breed, accepts six varieties of that breed.

We only know four: the PURE FILA, the "Filamarques" (Deutsche Dogge and Fila), the "Napolifila" and the "Mastiffila" ... (= one pure and three mongrels.)

We wait in anticipation to know about the other two types...

Give them strength, Lord, that they can "accept" so many varieties. We accept only one: