Cao de Fila de Sao Miguel aka Azores Cattle Dog
Here we will try and give you some general information. Most of what you find on the internet in English have been written
by us. There are very little info or dogs on this breed outside the Country of origin. There is one book on the breed which
is in Portuguese. I had the pleasure to meet one of the authors and his wife many years ago. His name is Vitor Manuel Cristovao
Veiga. He was very impress with one of our bitches and thought we should come to Portugal with her to attend the Big Show
for the Breed.
There has become a great deal of buzz about this breed. You have people here
in the U.S. and Canada selling mix breed Fila's with no reg. papers or history of the breed or parents. I have seen
some of these so-called Fila's and they are just mixed up mutts! They have week nerves, no drive or working ability.
A few have been doing it for years. Now some of them may have lucked up on 1 or 2 real Fila's and are now starting
to mix them in with their mutts. So now, you may have a dog that looks like a FSM, but doesn't have the drive or nerves
We breed for temperament, drive and working ability! If you just want a pet to sit
and watch TV our dogs are not for you!
CAO de FILA de SAO MIGUEL
(Azores Cattle Dog)
The fila Sao Miguel (Azores Cattle Dog) is a unique combination of
cattle herder and farm guardian. The Cao de Fila de Sao Miguel has been working on Sao Miguel, a remote Portuguese island
in the Azores, for hundreds of years. Sometimes called the Azores Cattle Dog, this rarely seen breed is considered a beloved
part of the island's culture and tradition. A dedicated muscular watch and guard dog with a piercing glare, the Cao
de Fila Sao Miguel zealously protects cattle, family, home and property, as well as working livestock. A bold herder,
the Fila Sao Miguel dominates even bad tempered cattle, while gently encouraging slackers, without harming the stock. Some
enthusiasts avow that the herding instinct is so powerful, puppies often start herding without training. The dog's agility
and size allow it to herd, as well as evade hooves and horns with astonishing speed. Walking with its characteristic
slight waddle, the hardy Fila Sao Miguel measures 19.5 to 23.4 inches tall for males; 18.7 to 22.6 inches tall, for females.
The breed bears a short, smooth and dense coat in brindled (tiger striped) shades of fawn, gray or yellow. White markings
in some areas are acceptable. A square head, strong jaws, docked tail, expressive dark eyes and rounded short - cropped
ears complete the picture. Firm, consistent training from its owner is a must for this aggressive and territorial personality.
Courageous and loyal, the FSM has a fine instinct for danger, but should respond docilely to tis owner's commands.
The Azores Cattle dog is a strong and resistant working dog with a
firm character. They are intelligent dogs that learn quickly. In spite of their size they catch, bite and evade
quickly as lightning. They grasp a bovine only on the hamstring and know well how to beware the mammary glands of the
cows. They know very well how to control the biting so as not to wound the animal they are herding. In addition
to bovines, the Azores Cattle Dogs get well along with goats, sheep and pigs. They do not shun even big and bad-tempered
animals to be herded, on the contrary - when needed, their manner of herding is aggressive and bold, because without this
characteristic the work could not be done. These dogs are also used for guarding the cattle against wild dogs and thieves.
The FSM guards on the pasture independently. They posses a huge amount of own will and intelligence, and do not
act only when the master is at its side giving orders. The FSM dogs bear the herding instinct very strong in the genes,
because during their whole history they have been used only for work and that is why they have such a sound temperament. The
inner instinct is so strong that the puppies of the breed do not have to be trained to herd. They herd immediately by
instinct and grow to dominate different tasks while wandering around with the master, doing farm work and imitating the example
of older dogs.
The FSM is an unsurpassed
watch and guard dog. Whether, they are keeping their eye on the cattle, people, their home property or anything that
they regard as their own. While the FSM is guarding it is useless for any stranger to approach them. Just their
strong presence and piercing glare are enough to drive away a would be intruder. Under the menace of a real threat they
weill defend with a fiery zeal and until the very end for what they think is their own. These dogs have a good sense
to discern a real danger from a normal situation and they are capable of acting in an instant, guided by their strong instincts.
There are very few cattle dogs in which these two working characteristics - both herding and guarding - are combined
in such a close - knit and convincing way. It is also important to mention that do to the strong instinct of a watch
guarding dog the training must be very coherent and even severe when needed. A well balanced watch and guard dog knows
when to stop guarding when the master gives an order. Even the watch and guard dog should accept a stranger accepted
by the master, provided that the ranking order between the master and dog is clear. The FSM is a primitive breed with
very strong instincts!