Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Are Pitbulls Protective? Origin, Intelligence & FAQ

Gregory Iacono

By Gregory Iacono

american pit bull terrier

Pitbulls, when raised by a loving family, are affectionate and loyal and make great family pets. The typical Pitbull is full of love and loyalty and not above playing like a puppy and acting like a silly goose. One question you might have if you’re unfamiliar with the Pitbull breed, however, is this; are Pitbulls protective? The answer is that Pitbulls are one of the most protective breeds you’ll ever encounter and have the strength to back up their protective traits if needed.

Knowing that a Pitbull is a protective breed, you likely have more questions about the incredible dog. Do Pitbulls make good guard dogs, and at what age do they become protective? Will my Pitbull protect me if I’m attacked is also an excellent question. We have your answers below and more excellent info to help you decide whether a Pitbull is a good choice to protect you and your family.

divider 9

Do Pitbulls Make Good Guard Dogs?

While they are certainly large, imposing, and have incredible power in their jaws, the average Pitbull makes a poor guard dog. The reason why is simple; they’re too friendly. If, for example, someone broke into your home, your Pitbull would probably greet them rather than attack them. Also, Pitbulls raised in loving and caring families have low levels of aggression, especially toward humans.

One thing that can be said about Pitbulls as guard dogs is that they’re a very observant breed. If someone comes near your home, whether the mailman or a home invader, they will definitely bark. Plus, since their bark is extremely loud, a barking Pitbull will often scare away burglars. However, your average Pitbull does not make a great guard dog because they’re such friendly and loving dogs.

Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock

Will my Pitbull Protect Me if I’m Attacked?

In most cases, unless there are mitigating circumstances, your Pitbull will protect you with their life if you’re in danger. Remember, Pitbulls are incredibly loving and affectionate dogs towards their families, especially when raised with love, affection, and tenderness. Ask any Pitbull owner, and they will tell you that their Pit is one of the sweetest dogs they’ve ever owned. While they don’t make good guard dogs, your Pitbull will fight to the death to protect you if needed.

At What Age do Pitbulls Become Protective?

Like most dog breeds, the average Pitbull will become protective of its family between 6 months and 2 years old. That’s why it’s vital that you begin socializing your Pitbull as early as possible, so you create strong bonds between your Pit, you, and any of your family members. Also, socializing your Pit is essential so they learn to behave around other pets, people, and animals in general.

During this time, you must introduce your puppy to as many new people as possible, as well as other animals, pets, and places around your home. It’s also advised that you touch, hug, and handle your Pitbull frequently, so they get used to the attention and react with affection rather than aggression. The stronger they bond with you and your family, the more protective your Pitbull will be.

Are Pitbulls Territorial?

One of the drawbacks of being a very protective dog is that your Pitbull can also have highly territorial behavior. That behavior makes them a risk to other dogs and pets that they don’t know or haven’t been socialized with. The same can be said for people, but in most cases, your average Pit will make friends with a stranger rather than attack them for entering their territory.

A brown American Pitbull standing on the road
Image Credit: KruBeer Photo, Shutterstock

Are Pitbulls a Loyal Dog Breed?

Most breeds are incredibly loyal to their owners and build strong bonds with them during their life. The same can be said about Pitbulls. Of course, like all dogs, a Pitbull will form stronger bonds with its family when treated with love, care, and respect. If someone mistreats their Pitbull, their loyalty will be greatly diminished or nonexistent.

What are the Signs Your Pitbull Will Be Protective?

It’s not always easy to determine if a Pitbull will be a protective dog, especially considering how happy-go-lucky and friendly they are. There are, however, a few signs that you will see if your Pitbull is more protective than others.

  • Your Pit’s attitude and behavior change if an animal or person approaches.
  • You’ve socialized your Pitbull well with your family and other pets, and they received it well.
  • They growl or show their teeth when someone approaches you but calm down quickly when they sense things are OK.
  • If they see a perceived threat, your Pit will place its body between you and the threat.
  • Your Pitbull is vigilantly scanning your yard, home, neighborhood, etc., for anything suspicious.

To be a Good Protector, Your Pitbull Needs Proper Training

If you want your Pitbull to be protective, training them well is necessary. That being said, if you don’t have experience training a Pitbull to be a protector dog, it’s highly recommended that you seek out the services of a professional.

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

Divider 5

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering adopting a Pitbull and wondering whether they’re protective or not, you now know they’re one of the more protective breeds out there. Historically, Pitbulls have been bred to work closely with their owners, which forged strong bonds with humans over many generations. Today’s Pitbull is a family-oriented, loyal, and friendly dog when raised in a loving environment.

Even if your Pit is the most friendly dog in town, just the sight of it will make most burglars, attackers, or other bad people run away. In other words, Pitbulls are protective and will lay down their lives for their owners if needed. One thing is sure; while they might be one of the sweetest, goofiest dog breeds, attacking or assaulting someone who owns a Pitbull is a horrible idea.

Featured Image Credit: Ivanova N, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database