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How Protective Are Pitbulls? Causes & Tips to Control Them

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

Pitbull with Owner

How Protective Are Pitbulls? Causes & Tips to Control Them

Pitbulls are highly renowned for their endurance, muscular bodies, and high energy levels. They make great family pets because of their loyal and affectionate nature.

Due to their working background and impressive physical traits, most people consider them to be aggressive guard dogs, extremely protective of their families. Their protective instinct allows them to be alert, watchful, and always on guard. Once they sense danger, they are especially prone to aggression and defensiveness and will try to protect their families via any means necessary, depending on how well they are socialized or trained.

This article will explore the protectiveness of Pitbulls and why they make such great guard dogs. Read on to learn more.


The Protective Nature of Pitbulls

When most people hear the word “Pitbull”, they often associate it with a combative and dangerous dog that should be avoided at all costs. Sadly, this is a common misconception based on unverifiable information 1 .

These dogs make excellent guard dogs because their traits make the breed well-suited for protection.

While they might not attack without a solid reason, they will bark and warn them of any potential danger from another dog or an outsider. Additionally, they are also so protective of children that they have earned the moniker “Nanny Dogs”. They easily form bonds with children and often treat them as their own. In fact, they can be more protective of kids than they would be of adults.

However, sometimes their affectionate and friendly nature towards people can make them somewhat less effective in their protective role when compared to other dog breeds specifically bred for the guarding role, such as Rottweilers and German Shepherds.

Fortunately, early training and socialization can help the dogs distinguish between harmless situations and real threats, thus allowing them to respond appropriately.

pitbull puppy sitting on grass
Image Credit: McCann Michelle, Shutterstock

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What Makes Pitbulls So Protective of Their Loved Ones?

Now that you know that a Pitbull is likely and willing to protect the owner against all kinds of threats, despite not being one of the best guard dog breeds, let’s look at some of the reasons why this breed is overly protective.

1. They Are Extremely Loyal

Pitbulls are some of the most loyal dog breeds that you can own. The phrase “A dog is a man’s best Friend” was probably coined with Pitbulls in mind. Their loyal nature is the number one reason why they will always want to be by your side and stand up for you when facing potential danger.

walking pitbull with petowner
Image By: Yvonne Lüneburger, Pixabay

2. They Are an Affectionate Breed

Most people usually consider Pitbulls to be large cuddle machines. Despite the popular misconception that this dog can be very dangerous, Pitbulls enjoy nothing else as much as they enjoy giving and receiving cuddles. In fact, the feelings of affection 2 that this dog has for its owners are what fuels them to be very protective of them.

3. They Are a Brilliant Breed

Pitbulls are a highly intelligent breed with an instinct to protect their territories as well as their owners. However, their brilliance usually balances out their inclination to physically fight or attack someone when threatened. Their high intelligence allows them to stop, think, and decide the best way to help their human companions in any given situation.

In case you get attacked with them around, they will attack back. In case of a fire, they will try to drag you out or bark in a bid to get attention from people around. Generally, Pitbulls are brilliant enough to assess a situation before acting.

Woman training a pitbull in the park
Image By: YouraPechkin, Shutterstock

4. They Are Bold and Courageous

Pitbulls can be very bold, mainly because they were initially bred to fight other dogs. This is not a breed that easily backs off from a fight. They will hold their ground until they emerge victorious.

This is the main reason this breed often gets itself in dangerous situations. But since their boldness is deeply ingrained into their mindset, they seldom know when to quit.

5. They’re Family-Oriented Dogs

As aforementioned, this dog breed can easily form strong bonds with their forever families. If you take a new Pitbull puppy to your home, it will basically consider anyone who lives under your roof to be part of its family. And just like most dogs, he will fight tooth and nail to protect all your household members.


Tips for Keeping Your Pitbull Safe and Happy

1. Ensure Everyone Is Safe

Once you have trained your dog to be protective in an appropriate manner, you should also make sure that any visitors or new pets and other dogs in your home are protected as well for everyone’s safety.

Pitbull Terrier Dog walking on a leash in a dog park, South Africa
Image By: Elizabeth Grieb, Shutterstock

2. Utilize Obedience Training Techniques

You can also train your dog to follow basic commands such as “stay”, roll”, “come”, and “sit”. These fundamental commands will help you to control your Pitbull’s behavior both in private and public situations. This will help prevent confrontations with other dogs and people to avoid possible injuries.

3. Socialize Your Pitbull

Common problems in dogs, such as aggression and overprotectiveness, stem from a lack of proper socialization. Thankfully, you can socialize your Pitbull by taking it for walks, organizing visits to the Dog Park, and play dates. This trains them to be comfortable around people and cultivate a sense of trust. The dog is less likely to engage in aggressive behavior when among your friends if they are familiar with them.

4. Do Not Use Punishment During Training

When training your Pitbull puppy how to protect your household members, avoid punishment techniques. These methods can make your Pitbull extremely aggressive and difficult to control when it mature into adulthood. Instead, utilize positive reinforcement techniques such as offering praise and giving rewards when they do something good.

pitbull running in mid-air with owner standing by
Image By: elbud, Shutterstock

5. Train Your Dog Not to Accept Treats From Strangers

As you train your Pitbull to be an effective guard dog, teach it not to accept any sort of treats from strangers. If you fail to instill discipline in your Pitbull, it is likely to obey commands from strangers for a reward. This is how most dogs are poisoned by intruders trying to access your property.



Pitbulls are very remarkable dogs that are full of loyalty, love, and an innate instinct to protect their loved ones because of their unwavering devotion, high intelligence, and family-oriented nature. This robust animal will stick with you through thick and thin if you nurture it and provide the necessary guidance to help shape its character from an early age.

Therefore, whether you are a newbie or an experienced Pitbull owner, with proper care, training, and socialization, this canine companion will reward you and your family with boundless love and an unwavering commitment to ensuring your safety.

Featured Image Credit: Ksenia Raykova, Shutterstock

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