Just looking for Info: day to day life with a Fila.

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by Dogdragoness, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Julee

    Julee UNSTOPPABLE

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    It seems like every time DD makes a new thread, I learn who a new mod is.

    Zoom, I know Renee hasn't been around much lately, but (if she's up for it), maybe make her aware of this thread and see if she wants to give any first hand experience? I'd love to hear it.
     
  2. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    I worked for a breeder with them. Do you have any specific questions?
     
  3. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    Yes:

    What are they like as puppies? If you want them to accept someone, how often do they have to be around that person? How are they to train? What kind of fencing would I need & how tall (our current ten is 4 ft chain link with snake wire on the bottom ... Which is probably not enough fence). There are no people living close to us so I don't have to worry about teasing or anything like that, the property border fence is 5 ft goat / predator fencing & it's solid (checked every day) so even if the dogs is get out of the yard they couldn't get off the property ... The only problem is our property is 70 acres :/.

    I don't think they are for me after all... But I still would appreciate learning about them as a breed.

    I mostl likely will go with a Rottweiler, a Doberman (both breeds I have either owned of have had experience with) or perhaps another ACD if incsn find a good breeder that is planning a litter in the resonable future.
     
  4. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    It really depends on the dog as far as accepting someone. For some filas, the answer is NEVER. Others will eventually. And sometimes it depends on their assessment of the individual person.

    My fila breeder friend has an adult son who doesn't live with her, but is constantly at her house. Her dogs know him extremely well, and as long as she is home they happily welcome him onto the property. If she's home.

    Her two girls will allow him into the house if she's not home. Her male, no. No way. Even though he's known the son since puppyhood, he would eat him alive first because he knows the son doesn't live there and in his mind, has no business being on the property when his owner is not present.

    Edit: I wouldn't keep a fila in anything smaller than a 6 foot fence. They're very athletic and could easily clear a 4-5 foot fence. If they really wanted something on the other side of a 6 foot fence, I wouldn't trust it completely either. If/when I'm able to get one, I'm going to have a fence similar to this installed around the yard with a super dense rugosa rose hedge planted on it.

    [​IMG]

    I've also seen them successfully kept in heavy duty chain link. I wouldn't do it personally, but that's because my borzoi managed to bite through a chain link panel once and a determined fila is much stronger than he is.
     
  5. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    I know they would go for a person on the other side but what about animals? We have goats, donkeys & a horse on pasture, which backs right up to the house yard, would they accept them if introduced from the very start?

    The temperament which you said her male had would be the ideal for me IF I decided on one (which is still a long long way, months, maybe longer). Accepting people is fine as long as I am there & I accept them ... If I'm not I want it to be no-go.
     
  6. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    It's a good temperament in theory, but she cannot go on vacation as long as that dog is alive. He can not be boarded. She built a special kennel for him so that if she has to go somewhere overnight unplanned (like the hospital) her son can safely give him food and water until she's back. He does fine at the vet with her there. She muzzles him as a precaution but he's never tried anything. The girls aren't muzzled at the vet, but then she's extremely proactive with her dogs and trains the crap out of them.

    He's super stable in public too, because she's there, she trained and socialized the heck out of him, and he's willing to take direction from her.

    Not going on vacation ever sounds fine if someone is a homebody and doesn't usually go anywhere... but realistically, even the most introverted introverts don't spend every single night at home for 10+ years.

    Filas are livestock guardians and herding dogs (cattle herders). From everything I've heard about them and stock, they will defend their own stock with their lives. They're also hunting dogs.

    I really, strongly urge you not to get a fila. Especially with this being your parents' home and traveling back and forth to stay with your fiance. I'd love one, like, last year, but am staying with my parents too and will probably have to rent at some point before owning a home, so am putting it off until then.

    As far as herder/guarding breeds, have you researched beaucerons at all? I also looked really heavily into the working black mouth curs and cataloulas, which have a very strong home guard instinct. They're bred to work cattle and hunt, and typically are good with stock if raised around it.
     
  7. JennSLK

    JennSLK F150 and a .30-06

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    Romy what are they like with kids? I live the breed but I know I'm not a good fila owner. Just a breed lover.
     
  8. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Depends on the dog and their exposure to children. Kharma doesn't like them, but then she grew up without kids and sometimes was teased. She isn't aggressive to them though. She'll retreat from the situation and go be by herself if she doesn't want to be around them.

    I've heard that it varies when they are raised with kids. They're all pretty much enamored of their own family's children and will tolerate most anything from them. Some times they decide strange children are bad strangers though. They can react very defensively if their kids have friends over and the children bicker or wrestle and the dog thinks their kids are being attacked by the visitors. Then there are a few that decide every child in proximity to them is their property and under their protection.

    It was recommended to me that I not get a rescue fila since I have small children. That it sometimes works out, but there's no reason to take the risk when I can just raise one from a puppy with my kids.
     
  9. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Oh and I just wanted to clarify. Her girls wouldn't have let anybody aside from her son in the house, and he was over practically every day anyway and engaged in taking care of them. If I showed up, they'd eat me. Even with her right there I am still a stranger to them and they're wary.

    A dog like her male would not let your fiance into your home if you were not there. THAT's how serious he was. Any fila would not let a stranger or casual acquaintance in without you there. But there are other breeds like that as well.

    Interestingly, I hear the exact same thing about azawakhs. I really wish I could find some breeders within driving distance and meet some in person, because they sound an awful lot like mini filas in sight hound bodies from the way people who own them describe them.
     
  10. Zhucca

    Zhucca Lab Love

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    I don't have a wide range of experience with Filas. I've met two (neutral, didn't pet, didn't really pay attention to) and had another very negative experience with one. So I'm not a breed expert by any means.

    I'm not sure why, with my limited knowledge of the breed, this dude had his dog at the park, but whatever. He was there. I guess this was almost two years ago that this happened. During the summer I was at a dog park quite early in the morning (so there was maybe 4 cars in the lot, on a very large park). I was playing fetch with Duke and Boomer, throwing a very large stick (4ft) into the water for them. Not gunna deny, I wasn't paying attention to anything else around me, 'cause I thought I was alone. I swung out the stick to throw it into the water and hit a dog behind me - who promptly scared the sh** out of me and lunged in a growl bark. I jumped back (and raised the stick to whack the dog, i won't deny) Very serious, hard stare that really gave me the chills. I'm positive that the only reason the dog didn't actually make contact is because the owner was on the situation immediately - he called for the dog and grabbed his collar very quickly. Said sorry and hurried off. Yeah, I guess I could be partly to blame because I wasn't paying attention, but just a simple human mistake could turn very serious very quickly.

    Also, even though they are completely different breeds, I feel that Tibetan Mastiffs and Filas share similar qualities. Read through Wimble Woofs posts in this thread highlighting her life with 3 guardian dogs. http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2097960#post2097960

    Or if you don't want to do that, just this post is a good summary.
     
  11. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    No, if I did decide to get one it would be after I took the place over from my parents. Not before, I just wanted to stress that.
     
  12. Airn

    Airn New Member

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    A bit off topic but, with a story like that, what is the desire for a dog like these? Protecting your property is one thing, but the TM seems an extreme way to go about it. Surely there are more safer and reliable options to protect your home and ease your peace of mind?
    (I'm not trying to be offensive to those with guardian breeds, just trying to understand the want vs. Risks)

    Are you wanting to scare off intruders or maim\kill them? I would think most dogs would scare off most intruders. (Assuming the dog barks)
     
  13. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    The gal I worked for sold fila to shipyard style lots and large properties as guards. These were working guard dogs and were intending to cause serious damage to those looking to challenge them. As a pet, eh, some is novelty. Some truly believe they need a dog that is dangerous. I'd be a hypocrite if I said I don't understand it to an extent though, I choose to keep Malinois with real "civil" edge, I have no desire to have a Malinois that views protect as purely a game of tug.

    With the fila I worked with I saw many from birth that I still had to feed/divide the run in order to clean their areas. They didn't like me, especially in their space.

    There are several LGD that maintain extreme antisocial behaviors but fila are an odd breed, I have also seen very similar behavior in Tibetan mastiffs. You really need to know what you're doing and clearly define why they suit you in order to not be a danger to society with such dogs.

    Phones about to die but I can come back with more.

    Ps, they maintain some houndy smells that would really be too much for many owners. :)
     
  14. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    I have actually been looking into the South African Boerboel, & I am beginning to think they might ... MIGHT be a better fit when the time comes, they are bred to be "protective without being aggressive" as their national site puts it.

    I will read more
     
  15. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    I can't speak for other people, but through the years, I've found that I really really enjoy working with extremely independent dogs, but that I also really like dogs that are super devoted and loyal. It's kind of an odd combination, and I haven't found many breeds outside the LGD types that possess both traits to a strong degree. Specifically with filas, they fit what I'm looking for there, and also have the drive and ability to be used as hunting dogs/tracking dogs, which is a trait not found in many LGD breeds.

    For me the extreme protectiveness is almost a byproduct of what I'm really after. But in my case, it's a desirable byproduct since I'm a single mom with a scary stalker creeper ex that doesn't think twice about violating a protection order.

    Dogdragoness, I think the boerboel could be a good fit. There are a lot of really good LGDs that are plenty protective for what you want and would be great dogs for you, without the level of liability that a fila would be. You'll still need to socialize and train well, but you should be able to get your dog used to a few trusted people that are willing to dogsit/housesit if it ever becomes necessary.

    You will probably want to work on social anxiety for yourself before getting a LGD though. Because they are independent, if they feel you are not operating at full capacity during a situation they will not hesitate to make what they feel is the best decision regardless of what you are telling them. If they know you're anxious during a social interaction and their protective instincts tell them that they ought to drive off this thing that's making you anxious, it's very possible they will decide you're not competent to handle the situation and blow off your instructions to "leave it", or whatever you're telling them. These dogs love with every fiber of their beings, but love =/= respect. You have to demonstrate to them that you are more capable of making good decisions than they are, and they have to trust that you're always going to tell them the right thing to do even if they don't agree with it at the time.
     
  16. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    Agreed & I am seeking (professional) help with my anxiety, which is good because I have plenty of time to work on it before the time comes to decide on a dog.

    Most LGD's (we had an Anatolian shepherd for the goats who passed from old age) aren't really what I am looking for personality wise. Too independent, I like a dog that is independent yet trainable/ will work with you. Can make its own decisions but can also take direction.
     
  17. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    If an anatolian is too independent, it's likely a fila will be too. I recommend you work closely with a breeder of whatever breed you settle on and have them pick out the most handler oriented puppy for you. Not sure where boerboels land on the biddability scale. The kuvasz that I know are not biddable at all. lol.

    Glad that you're working on the anxiety. :) It's definitely possible to overcome. I would have been a terrible fila owner 5 years ago due anxiety, and with several years of hard work am stable and happy despite bad people doing bad stuff.
     
  18. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    It's actually only really bad in social situations like parties, restaurants, bars, places like Walmart. I am actually pretty comfortable at places like petsmart , Home Depot etc ... The doc says its because there is more space & I can identity with the "kind" of people there (well he said it a little more doctor-like ... Lol but you get it)

    He said its very treatable thru therapy & he doesn't think I will need meds :)
     
  19. HayleyMarie

    HayleyMarie Like a bat outa' hell

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    DD if you have any questions about boerboels feel free to PM me. They are a great breed.
     
  20. Dogdragoness

    Dogdragoness Happy Spring!!!!

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    Will do, thank you all so much for all the info & advice
     

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