Terceira Mastiff

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Terceira Mastiff
Fila de Terceira.jpg
Original type of the breed
Other names Fila da Terceira, Cão de Fila da Terceira
Nicknames Rabo Torto
Country of origin Portugal
Height 55 cm (22 in)
Coat Short and smooth
Color Fawn or yellow; with a mask
Classification / standards
Not recognized by any major kennel club
Notes Recreation process is still unfinished
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Terceira Mastiff (cão de fila da Terceira) is a landrace Portuguese dog breed, also known as the Rabo Torto[1][2] (rabo=tail, torto=curled/twisted). Neither the Fédération Cynologique Internationale nor the local Clube Português de Canicultura has officially recognized it. It is a remarkable ancestor to both the Cão Fila de São Miguel and the Fila Brasileiro . This breed is fully different from the Barbado da Terceira


The Terceira Mastiff comes from the isle of Terceira, located in the Azores.[1] It descends from local dogs, old Spanish and English mastiffs and bulldogs, the Dogue de Bordeaux and the Bloodhound. According to a legend, it once was very popular among the pirates of the region and soon became a popular fighting dog as well. In the 1880s, veterinarian Dr. Jose Leite Pacheco wrote the first breed standard and intended to make the nickname rabo torto as the official name of the breed instead of the cão de fila da Terceira.[2] Unfortunately, the Terceira Mastiff was already extremely endangered that time,[2] which was one of the reasons why - despite of the Portuguese standard - it was never accepted by the FCI.

In the 1960s,[2] the breed was tried to be revived with the aid of the Portuguese government.[1] However, there was disagreement between politics and breeders,[2] which led to the failure of the project.[1] After this, the future of the Terceira Mastiff depended solely on the local farmers and fanciers of the breed.[2] In the 1970s, it was already stated to be extinct, although there were still some individuals left in the Azores.[1][2] With these few individuals, the recreation of the breed finally begun.[1]


The Terceira Mastiff is a medium-sized molosser that represents the Fila or Dogo type and resembles the Cão Fila de São Miguel. One of its most remarkable features is an innately short, corkscrew like tail.[1] Its nose can be either black, pink, or even brown.[2] The colour of the short, smooth[2] coat can be either fawn or yellow, always with a light mask.[1] Red, brindle, and black individuals are usually considered to be unpure.[2] The height is approximately 55 cm (22 in).[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Krämer, E.-M. (2009). Der grosse Kosmos Hundeführer, 229. Kosmos: Stuttgart.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sicard, G. (Feb 23rd 2003). Terceira Mastiff. Molosser Dogs. Retrieved May 16th 2014.