Author Topic: Is a Fila right for my family?  (Read 29995 times)

Offline Rachel

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #30 on: 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.  :)
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Offline mrsewe

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #31 on: 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 ... :-\
"If you want the best seat in the house ... move the dog"

Offline Kermit

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #32 on: 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.

Offline Rachel

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #33 on: 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.
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Offline chaos270

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #34 on: 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.
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Offline Bosmum

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #35 on: 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.


GR8DAME

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #36 on: 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.
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Offline mrsewe

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #37 on: 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.....
"If you want the best seat in the house ... move the dog"

Offline Kermit

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #38 on: 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.

Offline mrsewe

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #39 on: 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,
Quote
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. 
"If you want the best seat in the house ... move the dog"

Nicole

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #40 on: 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!)

Offline mrsewe

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2006, 07:52:16 pm »
Quote
(Did I mention that a Newf is a wonderful dog? hehehehe!)


So Nicole.......a re Newf's really a wonderful dog?  :P
"If you want the best seat in the house ... move the dog"

Offline newflvr

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2006, 08:15:59 pm »
Uh HUH!!!  Newfs are WAY wonderful dogs!!! :D :D :D :D

Offline mrsewe

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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #43 on: 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. 
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Re: Is a Fila right for my family?
« Reply #44 on: 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.