The Terceira Mastiff is an extinct Molosser breed from Portugal that represented the Dogo type of dogs. These medium-sized dogs were used and popular as fighting dogs.

The Terceira Mastiff had a musuclar body with slidely wide chest, strong legs, and thick neck. They were also popular for their innately short tail which looked like a corkscrew.

Origin & History

The Terceira Mastiff originated on the island of Terceira, the Azores located in Portugal. It descended from the local fighting breeds such as Bloodhound, Bulldog, Dogue de Bordeaux, English, and Spanish Mastiffs. Moreover, a famous legend about this breed says that it was favored and used by the pirates of that region. It didn’t take so long to flourish as a fighting dog.

The Terceira Mastiff originated and flourished as fighting dogs in Portugal.

In the 1880s, a veterinarian named Dr. Jose Leite Pacheco attempted to make a standard for this breed. He intended to make the name ‘rabo torto‘ as the breed’s official name within the FCI. The name he tried to give the breed translated to ‘curled or twisted tail’. However, FCI never accepted as it was already an endangered species at that time.

How Did Terceira Mastiff Become Extinct?

The Terceira Mastiffs were already on the verge of disappearance in the early 20th century. Their numbers kept declining and it nearly became extinct before the 1950s. After realizing its rarity, breeders started a breeding program with the help of the Portuguese government in 1960.

Despite the efforts, the Portuguese government and breeders got in a disagreement which caused the revive project to fail. After that, only a few farmers and breed fanciers owned these dogs. But that wasn’t sufficient enough and it was declared extinct in the 1970s.

Temperament, Behavior, & Personality

The Terceira Mastiff had a protective, loyal, and calm temperament. As they were fighting dogs, they possessed a courageous and brave personality. Nevertheless, they also were excellent family dogs as they loved being around their people.

Was Terceira Mastiff Good With Children?

Yes, the Terceira Mastiff was really good with children of all ages. Their loyal and affectionate nature made them suitable allies for kids. Plus, their strong and muscular body also suited them as the children’s protection.

The only thing to consider was the fighting instinct as they would show it while playfighting. Therefore, it was very important to keep an eye on the dogs though they were trustful.


  • The Terceira Mastiff was also known as Cão de Fila da Terceira, Rabo Torto, and Fila da Terceira.
  • It is the ancestor to the Saint Miguel Cattle Dog (Cão Fila de São Miguel) and Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff).
  • The red, black, and brindle coated dogs of this breed were usually considered impure.
Terceira Mastiff became extinct around the 1970s.


The Terceira Mastiff was found in the following two colors:

  • Yellow
  • Fawn


The Terceira Mastiff weighed around 65-90 pounds (29-41 kg) whereas they stood somewhere between 18-22 inches (46-56 cm).


On average, a mother Terceira Mastiff dog used to give birth to 4-10 puppies at a time.

Similar Dog Breeds

Follow Doglime if you want to know about other extinct dog breeds.