Terceira Mastiff

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Terceira Mastiff
Fila de Terceira.jpg
Original type of the breed
Other namesFila da Terceira, Cão de Fila da Terceira
Common nicknamesRabo Torto
Breed statusNot recognized as a standardized breed by any major kennel club.
Height 55 cm (22 in)
Coat Short and smooth
Color Fawn or yellow; with a mask
NotesRecreation process is still unfinished
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Terceira Mastiff (Portuguese: [Cão de Fila da Terceira]) is a Portuguese dog landrace, 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 an 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] there was an attempt to revive the breed with the aid of the Portuguese government.[1] However, there was disagreement between government officials and breeders,[2] which led to the project's failure.[1] After this, the future of the Terceira Mastiff depended solely on local farmers and breed fanciers.[2] In the 1970s, it was already declared extinct, although there were still some individuals left in the Azores.[1][2] With these few individuals, the recreation of the breed finally began.[1]


Mastiff-type Terceira Mastiff, 20th century

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 impure.[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.

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