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Mastiffs => Rare Breed Mastiff Discussions => : mrsewe February 06, 2006, 03:46:23 PM

: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 06, 2006, 03:46:23 PM
 ??? My husband and I have been searching for the right dog for our growing family.  We're looking for a big dog that can serve as a deterrant when I am out and about and a calm, gentle dog when we're home.  We have a 5 year old son and a baby due in May, so the dog would need to be child-friendly as well.  After visiting several shelters for the last month, we came across a fila and seeing the way he was with the vet, both my husband and I thought that he would be the one.  We are taking our son to meet him tomorrow night.  This fila is a male, a year and half and 145 lbs. that can use to put on at least another 20 lbs.  His previous owner gave him up because his landlord found out about the fila and told him it's unacceptable to have this dog there. 

Anyhow, I've been doing my homework and have concerns about the aggressiveness of filas toward strangers or anyone outside of its family.  Ideally, I would like to take this fila w/me on walks with my children in our neighborhood, to the park, and to my parents house when we visit on Sunday's.  He is so adorable looking, I want to take him everywhere! But reading these websites, I don't know if that would be a smart move.  How aggressive and obedient are filas? Are you able to walk yours in your neighborhood? How do I get my fila to be familiar with my extended family that I visit once a week? How does your fila react when friends come to visit? Any insight that you would like to share would be most helpful for us in making the right decision.  I was encouraged by another fila owner to take our son to the shelter tomorrow and see how things go w/our son and the fila and if we do adopt him, to keep a watchful eye on the two until they are completely comfortable with each other.  My son is not hyper boy (which is why we're looking for a calm dog) and I don't believe he will do anything to annoy the dog.  How do my husband and I get comfortable with the fila ourselves?

Any input you can give would be a great help in making the right decision for both my family and the fila waiting to be adopted by the right person and/or family.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Kermit February 06, 2006, 03:55:25 PM
I think if you have kids and you will be having thier frinds/strangers/multiple visitors in the house often, a Fila is not the right dog. And I don't think you can take them to a park and on neighborhood walks and expect them to not be very protective of you and very very suspicious of all strangers.
I have only met two in person and they would not let me touch them. And they weren't even full grown. Everything I have been told says- this is a SERIOUS dog, and you have to take very special care that they don't end up hurting someone. You cannot change their nature.
That's just my two cents.
If you really want a protective yet sweet big dog who is awesome with kids, I'd recommend a Rottweiler, honestly.
 ;D
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 06, 2006, 04:00:02 PM
A rottweiler and st. bernard have been on our lists...thanks .  :)
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Nicole February 06, 2006, 04:07:28 PM
While I don't pretend to be the owner of a Fila or an expert by ANY means, I would also recommend against a Fila for your situation, unless you've got prior experience with a dominant, potentially agressive and VERY strong dog! You don't mention if you've had dogs in the past, or which kind if you have. These dogs definitely require a serious handler. I don't know how much you weigh, but can you imagine a dog that potentially outweighs you by 20 pounds or more going after someone while you've got a small boy and newborn in tow?

I have a Newfie mix, and although he is the sweetest, most gentle and LEAST aggressive dog on this planet, he serves as a strong deterrant when we go for walks. Most people are cautious about approaching ANY dog, especially a large one. Rebekah is right, Filas are serious dogs and have a very serious nature.

Honestly, I would have a Pitbull around my children and family before I'd have a Fila. Pitbulls are extremely family oriented and ADORE their people, particularly children. But once again, they require an experienced owner. I think that the first question you need to ask yourself is how much energy and time you want to put into training this dog. Its IMPERITIVE that dogs with protective nature's be under control, without fail. That requires a serious amount of handling and working with your dog.

Not trying to deter you, per se, just sharing what I've heard about this breed. I know a guy that has one, he's a single guy, and spends lots of time working with the dog so that he is absolutely positive the dog has perfect recall and is under control around strangers. I can't imagine being able to put that kind of traning into a dog AND having a new baby!

Just two cents! Good luck with whatever you choose!
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: galaxybears February 06, 2006, 04:08:22 PM
If you can deal with the grooming I would say add a Newfie to your list. You can't get a nicer dog with children. My daughter was just 2 when we had our first Newf, having always had GSD's before that. But I wouldn't want anything other than a Newfie now :)

Can I ask what a Fila is? I am British and and I haven't ever heard of it before!! :-\
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Kermit February 06, 2006, 04:11:36 PM

Can I ask what a Fila is? I am British and and I haven't ever heard of it before!! :-\

Fila Brasileiro- a Brazilian Mastiff!
(http://www.huerth.de/politik/service/amt32/dog-sites/fila%20brasileiro.jpg)
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Nicole February 06, 2006, 05:13:34 PM
If you can deal with the grooming I would say add a Newfie to your list. You can't get a nicer dog with children. My daughter was just 2 when we had our first Newf, having always had GSD's before that. But I wouldn't want anything other than a Newfie now :)

Can I ask what a Fila is? I am British and and I haven't ever heard of it before!! :-\

Hey Galaxy Bears,
 Just wanted to add that my Newfie mix is the BEST dog with kids and cats and other dogs and EVERYONE! I whole-heartedly agree that a Newf is a great family dog!
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 06, 2006, 05:18:22 PM
My husband grew up w/a St. Bernard and until a year ago had a pit bull/st. bernard mix.  He was the most loyal dog to my husband, great w/our son and myself.  He was intelligent and protective but too energetic to me and highly aggressive toward men.  We had a storm a year ago and before my husband or I got home, our (sturdy) fence had been blown open and Samson got out; we never found him.  I am a petite woman and Samson was much, much stronger than me, but would listen to me.  Because of his aggressiveness, however, we were not able to take him out to the park or on walks.  The fila that is at the shelter has been tested with other animals and passed with flying colors and was previously living with a 1-year-old, 3-year-old, and 7-year-old and was great with them (according to his papers). 

I appreciate your two cents, I'm glad that you're all so detailed!  :) Are there any fila owners out there that can give their opinions as fila owners?

This is what the fila looks like that we're thinking of adopting....
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Halo05 February 06, 2006, 05:19:34 PM
Hi,
We have a Fila named Halo. He is 150#. He is VERY animal aggressive. He is VERY stranger aggressive. He is crated when people come in the house for their own safety. My opinion is not to get the Fila. First of all, you won't know what will "trigger" him into attack mode. It is serious and severe. Second, your children will want to have friends over and this will be a bad situation to put the dog in. Third, they are not dogs to bring to the park, stores and visiting etc. in general. If you have to have a Fila at least get a young puppy from a reputable kennel. They will not hurt your family at all but the one you want is older and set in his ways somewhat. Please research it further. I owned a 140# Rottie before Halo and there is no comparisson to the levels of their "attack modes". Also, they are banned in the UK along with Tosa and pits. A good German Shephard or Rottie may be better and more manageable.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 06, 2006, 05:21:34 PM
oh yah, what's a newfie??  ::)
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 06, 2006, 05:32:48 PM
Thanks Halo....when you say
I owned a 140# Rottie before Halo and there is no comparisson to the levels of their "attack modes".
what were the differences? Rottie's are second on my list.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Halo05 February 06, 2006, 06:09:51 PM
The differences in attack modes are drastic. With Sinbad, my Rottie, there would be warning signs (stopping still, head up, ears up, hair up etc.) the the growl, if that didn't work then barking. But it would last a few moments until the "threat" was gone. With Halo, there is not as much warning, the growl and bark are like a full attack mode that makes you think he can kill something. The size and sheer power is a major difference. There are cases of Fila's killing Pitbulls, German Shephards etc. You will not be able to control him if he decided he needed to protect you. He makes up his mind as to whats a threat and will not quit on it at all. An example of Halo's protection would be the guy teasing him behind our 6' stockade fence. I was there, Halo was barking, the guy was barking back and laughing. Well, Halo ran at the fence and jumped, his head clearing the top , and let out this ungodly growl. The guy actually screamed lile a little girl and took off running. It took 10 more minutes literally, to convince Halo that it was over. With Sinbad a simple "out" or "no" would've been enough. While Halo was in the vet , he liked these 2 girls that worked there. They walked him, fed him etc. They got too confident and one girl took him out without a muzzle. There were construction workers near by, about 50 yards. Halo went ballistic. On his 3 legs pulling this girl across the parking lot to get at these guys. Other vet techs came out to help her get him back in. Its just so much more fierce.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Nicole February 06, 2006, 06:09:55 PM
oh yah, what's a newfie??  ::)

Newfie=Newfoundland Dog. Very gentle, loving, loyal, nurturing dogs! hehee! (I'm kinda biased) But, check them out as they make great dogs for a family.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Halo05 February 06, 2006, 06:16:31 PM
Also at the vet, he would go crazy if anyone went near his "girls". I just would chose another breed if I was you and had little kids. Just my opinion but it's better for all involved including the dog. It just not a good situation for a Fila.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Lyn February 06, 2006, 06:45:22 PM
I have met one Fila.. and it was enough for me. It belonged to an acquaintance, and all it took was for the dog to just "see me" through a glass door and it went beserk. I would classify it waaaaay beyond attack mode, it was fierce. And it's not like I'm a threatening looking person. I weight 115 pounds. LOL

The owner said the dog MUST be crated when company comes over.. whether they are familiar to the dog or not. And he is not taken off the property (which is fully fenced) unless he is muzzled. And that's just to go to the vet. These dog love and trust noone but their immediate family. And they are intense in their protection of their people.

Definitely not social dogs. Scared more than just the crap out of me. I was ready to run for the car since it looked like he was coming through the glass door.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: GR8DAME February 06, 2006, 06:46:58 PM
Although I have never had a fila, I did raise both of my kids (18 and 11) with dobermans. They are wonderful family dogs, highly intelligent and very obedient. While protective of home and family, they were easily trained to allow people in and out of the house as long as there was a family member in attendence that could let the stranger in. Assuming you train them well, and socialize them heavily, they can go anywhere. My two largest males (90 and 110 lbs) were obedience trained by my husband and I under a professional trainer. I spent many afternoons at the local grade school at show and tell, then was asked back year after year to demonstrate dog obedience and training to the kindergarden and 1st grade classes, even after my kids had passed thru. As far as doberman dogs go, the more time and training you can invest, the better behaved family member you will have.
Stella
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: newflvr February 06, 2006, 06:53:22 PM
I have to agree with everybody here.  Halo knows what to expect...and there is NOTHING that sounds like this would be a good family dog.  I had an Akita when my kids were tiny and it was a HUGE mistake.  Akitas are not same level of aggression as a Fila but frightening in their own right.  We had done all the training we could to have Teddy accept the kids friends, other animals, etc.  He killed every cat that wandered on to our property, along with skunks (that was special!! :P) etc. The kids could not have friends over unless Teddy was tied up.  It was a miserable life for him and for us too.

I completely agree about recommending Newfoundlands.  They are awesome with kids and adore their families.  They are protective but not murderous!  They bark a big DEEP WOOF that will freeze people that don't know the breed but a child can snuggle up to a Newfs belly and go sound asleep and the Newf will not move.  (I know....I've done it!!! ;D  even though I'm not a kid!).

Really, there is nothing worse than having a loaded weapon in the house with your kids....and I think that's just what a Fila is!

Sorry, I'd love to help you get this guy out of the shelter, but I think it has all the makings of a really sad situation. :(
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 06, 2006, 07:07:57 PM
I am thankful for everyone's comments, and a little sad  :'( that this fila would not be a good fit for my family, but I know that we will find our dog soon enough and this adorable fila will be adopted by the right person.

My husband and I will look into another breed, as mentioned earlier, I am also interested in rotties....so that's probably where we'll start doing our homework...
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 06, 2006, 07:09:25 PM
My husband's been interested in Danes...are they hyper dogs? I'm not much into energetic dogs, I'd prefer one that is more calm and layed back.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Yaz February 06, 2006, 07:09:32 PM
Just thought I would pass along this unsettling article that was sent to me the other day -  not to imply the Fila's owner was not telling the truth, but if you are going to adopt this breed, beware of the stats involved.

Dog Owners Hide The Truth From Shelters About Their Pets' Behavioral Problems (January 30, 2006)
 Many dog owners who relinquish their pets to animal shelters are not entirely honest about their dogs' behavioral problems -- probably for fear that their pets will be put to sleep, according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania and University of California veterinary schools. According to the researchers, these behavioral problems may sometimes pose a risk to an adopting family who could unknowingly take in an aggressive animal.

full story = http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060130151722.htm
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 06, 2006, 07:12:07 PM
Yaz, I love your signature quote!  ;D Can you tell me about your St. Bernard?
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Halo05 February 06, 2006, 07:18:15 PM
That's what I was saying. You won't know what would "trigger" him and that could be dangerous to all. Glad you will look at other breeds. I like Giant Schnauzers personally. I read great things about them.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: ZooCrew February 06, 2006, 07:25:47 PM
Hi!  I think it's great that you are asking alot of questions before going out and adopting a dog, especially a breed you may not be familiar with.  Cheers for you!

You asked about a dane's energy level.  Great danes are known in the dog world as being the largest lap dogs around.  They are pretty much couch potatoes, once they get out of puppyhood.  As puppies, they of course can be hyper as all puppies can be, you just notice it a bit more b/c of their size.  My Gunther is the anti-dane in that he never gets hyper except for outside and at the park, and has been that way since I got him at 12 wks old.

But as with any large and giant breed dog, be sure to have them very well trained.  Some large breeds have tendencies towards protection, and without proper socialization and training, can be a handful to deal with.  I'm sure you want a dog that looks intimidating, without trying to attack everyone it meets.

Good luck with your research, it looks like you have already learned some things about what may and may not work for your family.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: chaos270 February 06, 2006, 07:30:32 PM
I'd like to further the newf suggestion.  Kali is good with everyone but protective of us and the house.  She has scared a couple of unsuspecting people but as soon as you let the person into the house she's happy and excited to see or meet them.  There are only a few people she doesn't like and the worst she does is bark at them and she backs off.  She is the best dog with children or other animals though.  She can be a bit of a brat at times but we're still working through the puppy stage.  The picture to the right is of her as a puppy and the one below was a little after her first birthday.  She's now 13 months and 100 lbs which is small even for a female.  They do drool and require frequent grooming, but they're worth the effort.  You can look through the newf board for more stuff on them.
(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y222/wyldchyld87/kali3070.jpg)
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: NoDogNow February 06, 2006, 07:38:32 PM
They didn't live in OUR house, but my uncle had Saints when I was a kid, and my experience with them was much like what everyone has described their newfies--cuddly, kid-centric, maybe not the easiest puppies, but fabulous, snuggly adults.  And a big, deep bark that will make any miscreant think twice!


: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: enuffpaws February 06, 2006, 08:00:35 PM
I, like everyone else that has posted think it is great that you are doing your homework on breed characteristic s before adopting.
In 20 years we have had 4 dobermans a great dane and a great dane irish wolfhound mix. While both danes and dobermans are high energy puppies, they both settle in nicely in a home environment with the family as they mature. As with any large or giant breed training and socialization is a must, but we have found both breeds to be fantastic with guests and our children's dog savvy friends.(If they weren't dog savvy when they got here they were before they left, which is also a part of large dog ownership.) At the same time the reputation of the doberman, and sheer size and volume of a dane is enough to deter all but the most persistant intruder.
Athough I have never owned a newf or a saint because I do not have time for their grooming requirments, the ones that I have met have been very loving family oriented companions, and apparently good with their children.
As always, the ultimate decision of what breed to bring into your home rests with you, and I am sure that you will find a loving companion that will bring you and your family many years of hapiness. In any case please continue to post and keep us updated, we love hearing from "pet-people" no matter what breed they love.
Dale ;)
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 06, 2006, 08:26:35 PM
I love how everyone's chipping in!  :) Keep 'em coming! And I'll definately keep you all updated on what we end up doing....

Oh - another question, we're not looking to adopt a puppy (I would prefer a young dog that is already housebroken), do you think that it's better that we do adopt a pup opposed to a young dog?   ???
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 06, 2006, 08:28:43 PM
Jack is absolutely adorable on the sofa! That's my kind of dog! How's he on the shedding factor?
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Anky February 07, 2006, 12:50:06 AM
Well I've been gone all day (Reason why to be posted later), but I've got a Dane, and I've got to tell you, do it right and they're the perfect dog.  However with all the Danes being dumped into rescue with bad temperaments as of late (People breeding them to be mean) I would go with a reputable breeder if you're going for a dog under a year.  My boy is wary of strangers, VERY protective of me, and good with those he knows.  He has the zoomies about once or twice a day, usually outside, and then he sleeps.  They're low maintenance physically (Excersize and grooming wise) high maintenance emotionally (Have to be with you EVERY minute, they don't act like a typical dog).  I'll never NOT have one.  I agree with Stella though, if you're going to go with a giant breed PLEASE make sure your kids KNOW how to act around dogs.  :)
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: galaxybears February 07, 2006, 03:01:41 PM
Thanks for letting me know what a Fila is, and for putting a photo on :). Certainly doesn't sound like the kind of dog you want as a family pet.

I am of course Newfie biased!

I grew up with German Shepherds and I had my own when my daughters were born, she was fantastic with the girls, and when they were older with their little friends, who came round to play, though some parents were wary of her just because of her breed. Being a GSD she was protective of her family and a good guard dog, but she was well trained, had a great temperament so we never had any problems wiht her.

Once we had our first Newf though our lives changed completely. Here was a breed we could take anywhere with us, and we never had to even think about her not liking something or someone.  Mine love all animals, all people, all children and are very laid back, even the two pups who aren't quite 10 months old yet. People comment on how quiet and well behaved they are for puppies. I have to say though, mine are not protective towards their human family or our home! I am sure they would let anyone into the house without so much as a bark, I can't say for certain as no one has ever tried getting in during the night. The worse thing about living with a Newf is the slime, but that is something you get used to :D, and if they are brushed a few times a week then there shouldn't be any problem with a matted coat.

I wouldn't imagine you would have any problem bring a young adult Newf into a house with children. Unless of course it had been handed into a rescue because it was bulshy.... It had never had any sort of training in those early months so, as far as it was concerned, it was the boss!

Oh dear, I had better shut up, I am just Newf obsessed... Just ignore me ::)

Good luck with choosing the right dog for your family :)
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Rachel February 07, 2006, 03:31:05 PM
Well I though I might as well share my experiances with Old English Mastiffs.  I grew up with OEMs and can not remember a moment not having one.  They are very gentle with children and patient.  My mom said the OEM (Mercedes) we had when i was a toddler just loved me.  She would play with me outside and would not let me leave the yard.  My mom said when I would get to close to the edge of the yard Mercedes would guide me back.   

Then when I was a teenager we had a mastiff named Tera.  One day the house across the street was moving and had a big moving truck and guys loading it up.  Well Tera must have felt the need to either protect us or to play with the movers.  She bounded across are two acres right at the moving guys. Let me tell you these grown men freaked out!  They jumped onto the truck.  Tera got to them wagging her tail and just wanted to say hi.  They did get down and pet her.   Its amazing how the look of a mastiff can deter someone away and she was still a puppy at this point.

One more story... my mom was taking Tera out one night and she saw someone walking down the street.  Tera started barking her big dog scary bark so my mom took her inside.  Tera continued to walk around the house barking at every window with her hackles raised.  My mom thought that maybe someone was casing our house but the dog scared them away.

I think OEMs are wonderful family dogs.  They love their family and will be protective of them when the situation arises.  But yet they are good with strangers and are perfectly happy meeting new people. 

I suggest that you make a list of the dogs you are considering and go visit some local breeders.  Most responsible breeders are very friendly and just love to talk about their dogs even if they do not have puppies at the time.  The point of this is to see how the dogs look at various ages and how they react to you.  It just helps give you a better sense of whether you can connect with this breed.  Keep us updated on your search.  :)
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 07, 2006, 06:19:25 PM
So what is the difference between the OEM and the fila? Temperment? I love the mastiff look, just very concerned with the aggressiveness ... :-\
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Kermit February 07, 2006, 09:34:45 PM
So what is the difference between the OEM and the fila? Temperment? I love the mastiff look, just very concerned with the aggressiveness ... :-\

I think there is a world of difference between the OEM and the Fila!!
I have never owned a mastiff, but I used to work at a veterinary hospital and kennel. Every OEM who came in the door was as sweet as pie. Probably nicer than any Labrador. My experiences with them have all been wonderful. I remember one in particular named Emma who came to the kennel regularly. She outweighed me by at least 50 lbs or more and was one of my all time favorite kennel regulars. Her owners always signed her up for "playtime" which was great, because that meant every day I got to run around in a fenced yard with her and play ball for 15 minutes!!! She was so much fun. She never barked at dogs passing by or showed the slightest hint of aggression towards any people or animals at the kennel.
I'm sure the OEM owners on here could attest that they are absolutely nothing like a Fila except physical size and body type.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Rachel February 08, 2006, 11:02:14 AM
I 100% agree with everything doghealer has said and the Mastiff that she saw at work sounds very much like the typical mastiff.   Here is a link from the Mastiff Club of America of FAQ, this is a great resource!  I read through this whole website when I was first looking for a puppy (before I rescued)

http://www.mastiff.org/faq/faq.mv

There are also some very good Mastiff groups on yahoo full of very knowledgable breeders.  Its worth joining just to lurk and read their posts. I have learned so much.  Let me know if you want more information and I can PM you some of the links I found helpful during my research.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: chaos270 February 08, 2006, 11:05:10 AM
My friends had an OEM and she was such a sweetie.  She'd sleep on the feet of anyone that came over until they rubbed her belly.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Bosmum February 08, 2006, 05:30:56 PM
My thoughts on this....as a mom of 4 kids (15, 13, 7 and 3) I would never bring a large "adult" dog into our family.  I think it's best if the dog grows up with the kids.  You just never know what an adult dog has been through or what may trigger him/her.  If I was childless, I'd have a COMPLETELY different attitude, but with kids you can NEVER take that risk.

In your case, if you really want a fila or a mastiff, I'd get him young.

: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: GR8DAME February 08, 2006, 07:46:00 PM
I am afraid I would have to say that the oldest dog I ever brought into the house when my children were young was my current doberman, Raven. My daughter was 3, and Raven was just around a year old. She was totally shattered by abuse, spirit broken and afraid of her own shadow, reactive to children and men, who provided the bulk of her abuse before she came here. To this day, at 10 years old, I watch her carefully around young children, and have chosen at times to remove her from the room if children are present. However, as stated before, my children were raised with large dogs from birth, and extremely dog savvy. I also had a complete understanding of Raven's previous history, witnessed the abusive behavior (and stopped it), and was aware of the triggers, as well as her reaction to the triggers. Rescuing a large breed adult dog from a shelter is a wonderful, caring, loving thing, but it is a crap-shoot if you have very young children in the house. IMO.
Stella
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 09, 2006, 02:19:20 PM
Ok, so it seems that most of you are saying to get a "big dog" as a puppy and raise it so there are no surprises??  ??? I would like to rescue a dog from a shelter, my husband and I are thinking of a dog about a year old, but from the majority of the posts, I'm now a little hesitant to get anything but a puppy.  The way I see it, puppies will always get adopted (and I'm not to keen on getting a dog that is not housebroken).....so...now I'm not so sure as to what to look for..

Don't get me wrong, everyone's input has been great, I'm just not as confident as I was during this search of ours.

My husband, 5 year old son and I went to our local SPCA by the way and had a visit with the fila I had questioned about (we made this appointment prior to my initial post).  I was very intimidated since I've done some homework on filas since the time we first saw him.  Anyway, by the time we left the shelter (our visit was about a little over 30 mins long), we had hand-fed the fila and he gently ate out of our hands - even my son's.  We didn't get to pet him, really.  Earlier that day, the fila was walked by a 7 year old volunteer girl just fine and he had passed his first evaluation tests with flying colors.  These things all sound positive, but I am still hesitant due to all your warnings.  We have the opportunity to come back on Saturday afternoon and spend more time with him if we want.  My husband and I were talking about it last night, and he said that I should think about it until then whether or not to continue the visits because it will not be fair to fila if he gets to know us and then we leave him behind.  So that's where I'm at.....
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Kermit February 09, 2006, 02:34:31 PM
I still think it would be a fine idea for you to adopt an adult- as long as you know the background of the dog. I would suggest that you find someone who is re-homing their adult dog. That way they can tell you everything there is to know about him or her, and give you vet records and everything.
My boyfriend Will found our Great Dane Leeloo in the classified section on Petfinder.com. He was told Leeloo's whole history by the previous owners. No surprises. And there are always purebred and mixed breed dogs a plenty being re-homed by owners who choose not to put their dogs through rescue or, god forbid, take them to the pound.

So don't give up yet- you could still find an adult housetrained dog whose personality has already been proven. Here's a nice quote:

"If you're considering an adult...

There are plenty of adult dogs who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristic s. If you find such an adult, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you.

When you acquire a puppy, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristic s" are very important. But when you acquire an adult, you're acquiring what he already IS."

From www.yourpurebr edpuppy.com, which has some really great info about deciding on a dog for your family.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 09, 2006, 05:12:42 PM
Ohhh. I'm sorry if we've scared you about the Fila.  That truely was not my intention.

Tina

I know it wasnt anyone intention to scare me, I think I just overloaded myself with a bunch of info and I didnt know what to do with it and the majority of the info wasnt as positive as I would've liked.  And I think my fear is more for my children and visitors, not for me.  If I were single, I don't think I would doubt getting him at all.  Other than this site, I've talked to 2 other fila owners (1 is a breeder) in IL (I'm in CA) and they've been very helpful in giving me info on this breed.

This fila was given up to the SPCA by it's owner because the owner's landlord gave him an ultimatum of giving up the dog or move out.  The fila was raised w/children, there was a one month old, 3 year old and 7 year old in that home.  He mainly stayed in the house or garage when at home, I dont know how often he was brought out.  He has papers showing that he is a fullbreed (which really doesn't matter to me) but the SPCA already neutered him as apart of their procedures.  They also have the previous owner's contact information.  The fila shows no signs of abuse at this point.  I plan on visiting the fila tomorrow, and I will ask the SPCA for the previous owner's contact info or if they can contact me, so they can tell me more of their experiences with this dog.  Also, the handler of the fila at the shelter will not give him to us unless he is sure there is a positive connection, otherwise, he's been looking at a rescue in Colorado that he may take him to or fostering him himself.   

Doghealer had quoted,
There are plenty of adult dogs who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristic s. If you find such an adult, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you.
So, I will keep that in mind tomorrow. 
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Nicole February 09, 2006, 05:46:54 PM
Just to throw in my two cents again..

As far as adopting an adult dog, or one that isn't quite a pup...I think that this can be a wonderful decision. We adopted Cabeza a Chow/Newf mix when he was one year old. Chows are notoriously hard to re-home, because of the intense bonds they form with a family. (I don't know if Cabeza had a family before us, he came from the shelter) I don't know if its the Newf in him or what, but he has been the best dog and nothing but gentle and completely devoted to me, my boyfriend and our 12 year old daughter. He's doted on my 6 year old nephew, and any other child he's ever met. No problems AT ALL.

I also adopted Bo, an 8 month old American Bulldog. Although he had some territory issues, he was also WONDERFUL with children. And actually, anyone we EVER brought into the house. It was mostly strangers walking past the house that he didn't deal well with...

Anyway...just my experience that adult dogs can make wonderful additions to your family. I think that the warning was just pertaining to dogs such as the Fila, that have somewhat unpredictable natures. It sounds like you're doing the appropriate research, and I think that's great! I also think that its great that the handler at the shelter is being so careful in screening. He's doing that to protect not only the dog, but you guys, too. How cool!

Good luck! And keep asking questions!!! (Did I mention that a Newf is a wonderful dog? hehehehe!)
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 09, 2006, 07:52:16 PM
(Did I mention that a Newf is a wonderful dog? hehehehe!)


So Nicole.......a re Newf's really a wonderful dog?  :P
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: newflvr February 09, 2006, 08:15:59 PM
Uh HUH!!!  Newfs are WAY wonderful dogs!!! :D :D :D :D
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: mrsewe February 16, 2006, 08:18:43 PM
 :( ok, so we decided not to get this fila from the SPCA.  We visited him on Wednesday and there really wasnt any connection.  We wanted him for sure, but he didnt seem quite as interested as we were.  He showed great signs w/my son last Saturday, but it just seemed like he didnt want us.  My husband and I drove away from the SPCA kinda bummed.  My husband wanted to take him home and do a trial run, but I was just not comfortable with that idea.  The handler of the dog told us that he had also been doing research on the Gentle Giant Rescue down south (I'm in Sacramento)....does anyone have input on that? I saw a few posts mentioning the GG Rescue, but I can't find them now.  We would like this fila to find a good home, he is a good dog for the right person. 
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Yaz February 16, 2006, 08:28:08 PM
I think you made the right decision to go with your gut on the dog. I also know that feeling of guilt for not taking him - you would feel a tonne better if you knew he was happilly adopted by someone. I actually know of someone here in Ontario who is looking to place her three year old English Mastiff - I do not know if you would be willing to travel to Ontario, but if you are, please let me know and I will pass on her name and number. Oh, I also have to apologize about not replying to your question about Gershwin, our Saint - I missed your question and just read it now.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Anky February 16, 2006, 08:28:14 PM
:( ok, so we decided not to get this fila from the SPCA.  We visited him on Wednesday and there really wasnt any connection.  We wanted him for sure, but he didnt seem quite as interested as we were.  He showed great signs w/my son last Saturday, but it just seemed like he didnt want us.  My husband and I drove away from the SPCA kinda bummed.  My husband wanted to take him home and do a trial run, but I was just not comfortable with that idea.  The handler of the dog told us that he had also been doing research on the Gentle Giant Rescue down south (I'm in Sacramento)....does anyone have input on that? I saw a few posts mentioning the GG Rescue, but I can't find them now.  We would like this fila to find a good home, he is a good dog for the right person. 
STAY AWAY FROM GG!
I will PM you.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Kelly89084 March 11, 2006, 12:55:33 AM
Just thought I would pass along this unsettling article that was sent to me the other day -  not to imply the Fila's owner was not telling the truth, but if you are going to adopt this breed, beware of the stats involved.

Dog Owners Hide The Truth From Shelters About Their Pets' Behavioral Problems (January 30, 2006)
 Many dog owners who relinquish their pets to animal shelters are not entirely honest about their dogs' behavioral problems -- probably for fear that their pets will be put to sleep, according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania and University of California veterinary schools. According to the researchers, these behavioral problems may sometimes pose a risk to an adopting family who could unknowingly take in an aggressive animal.

full story = http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060130151722.htm

I have to agree with this.  When I got my Holly from the shelter we were told she gets along with cats (she doesn't), she likes men (not so much), she has basic training (very little, if any), and she's completely housebroken (tell that to my carpet and little green machine!).  While I love Holly and wouldn't trade her for the world (but maybe for a GSD  ;D), and I was prepared for an untrained dog, if she had been a more agressive breed (like the fila), the lies could have easily hurt us.  Also, how a dog acts in the pound is rarely how they will act in their own home.  Holly was a quite dog there but when she settled in, she suddenly became a  hyperactive mess that was very hard to deal with!  Imagine if it had been agression instead. 
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: gems May 17, 2006, 08:18:35 PM
i owned a rotti from 9wks till she passed a yr ago just a few days shy of her 11th b-day.  there will never be another, she was amazing!!!  now i have 1 dogue de bordeaux & 2 presa canarios.  i would say look into the dogue, they are a fantastic breed!!!!! they just adore children & are very loyal to their family but welcome visitors.  as long as they are socialized they should be good w/ other animals as well(mine got to daycare).  I would recommend a presa because they just adore children as well & are great natural gaurders but they are not for everyone!!!!  for this breed an owner must be alpha..."steel fist, velvet glove"motto here! they must be well socialized(human/dog) but are by nature dog aggressive.   i will never be w/out either of these breeds.  all mine are great w/ family(i live alone)& depending on the stranger's reason for being in their home are for the most part ok(strange friend ect.ok, cable man, ect...no way.LOL) just my opinion:-)

but whatever u choose, do it wisely & best of luck
dawn     
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: 4DoggieMom September 20, 2006, 06:21:33 AM
I'm sorry that you had a disappointing visit w/ the Fila at the SPCA  :( but as they say everything happens for a reason and perhaps he wasn't meant to be with your family.  Big time kudo's to you for doing your homework though!  I would be hesitant to bring a Fila home with little ones only because you'll be having lots of strange little kids in and out of your house at some point. 

I would second, third, forth???? LOL the suggestion about a Newf or Newf mix. We share our home and heart with Finnegan a 5 year old Newf and he is just AWESOME with kids.  He actually cries and whines when he sees children because he wants to go and see them.  Their size alone is a great deterrent for possible threatening people.  Lots of people cross the street when I walking Finnegan because he is huge and black, even though he's the sweetest dog ever. 

I also have a Dane that is great with kids, although much more boisterious that the Newf. She is VERY active although that is not "usually" a breed trait.  It can vary depending on their lines. 

I have met many OEM's that were wonderful family dogs although I know someone that just returned hers to her breeder because the dog was less trustworthy around strange children. 

Good luck with your search!
Jen
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: Nicole September 20, 2006, 11:20:01 AM
Hi!

 Actually, that post is a few months old, and I think that they settled on a Dane.
: Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
: 4DoggieMom September 20, 2006, 02:50:26 PM
Ohhh oopsie!  Serves me for not checking the date!