The Black Fila

by Adriano Kruel Budri

Among the several shades and varieties of the Fila Brasileiro colors, there is only one color that is really rare in the breed.

The black Filas of today make up only 4% of the registry in the CBKC's Stud Book for Fila Brasileiros. The number of registered black Filas has risen dramatically in the last ten (10) years. In the 40's, 50's, 60's, and 70's the proportion of dogs registered of this color was only 2, 62%. But in the 90's the black Fila numbers grew to 4% (almost the double), but continue to be a rare color in the breed. These statistics are verified by the Conferação Brasileira de Cinofilia (CBKC) and through of the book: O GRANDE LIVRO DO FILA BRASILEIRO, autor: Procópio do Valle, Enio Monte and more 43 collaborates, editor Nobel, year: 1981.

One of the principal theories that there is not an even greater increase of the black Filas is due to the complete domination of the gene EBR. This gene expresses its dominance in the form of the brindle color. In addition, there is the existence of the gene allele "ee" recessive in the fawn color that inhibits the appearance of the black color in spite the fact that black is a dominant color.

These theories can be verified in practice by mating brindles with fawns and the resulting union will produce only a few blacks. Some traditional breeders have gone on record saying that they have had black Filas births from the mating of a brindle sire and a fawn dam. An excellent example of this phenomena was the mating of the famous Thor de Samor, a brindle male, with the chestnut bitch Braza do ABC. The result of this union produced puppies of the color brindle, fawn, and black. One of the offspring of this breeding was the famous coal black female, Penta Brazilian Champion Xita do ABC. In Portuguese the word Penta champion means five times a champion.

When you mate a brindle male with a brindle female there is no possibility of obtaining a black Fila due to the complete dominance of the brindle EBR gene. You may obtain dark brindles and extremely dark with some few stripes in yellow or red.

Though the black Fila is dominant, many times the mating of brindles with blacks or blacks with fawns (or vice-versa) will produce a few black puppies due to the dominance of the gene EBR in the brindles and the allele "ee" which is recessive in fawns. These factors inhibit the birth of black Filas.

Prof. Procópio do Valle also testifies of several mating of brindles with fawns, blacks and brindles, blacks with fawns, and blacks with blacks and the resulting puppies born were a strong majority of brindles in many shades, fawns in varying shades or nuances, and a few blacks. Using a black with a black produced only two black puppies and the rest were brindles and fawns.

This means in practice that black Filas are difficult to produce even though you mate a black male to a black female.

In São Paulo City I observed a litter whose sire was a brindle and the dam was a black. This litter totaled eight (8) males puppies with seven (7) being brindle and only one (1) black. This emphasizes how difficult it is to produce that rare black color in the Fila Brasileiro breed.

Even though the black dog is extremely rare, this color has existed in the breed since its beginning.

Prof. Procópio do Valle has historical photos dating from 1912 showing the appearance of black Filas. Many of the photos of black Filas came from the interior of the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Minas Gerais and were given to the Professor by the traditional breeders and farmers of these states.

It is very interesting that you can see the rare color black in the Fila Brasileiro breed that has survived all these decades of economic crisis and a small political group that has attempted to deprecate this color and also the dark brindle color. This same small group, totally ignorant about the history of the breed in Brazil, only has brought animosity to the breeders of the rare black Filas and dark brindle Filas.