Do Pitbulls Howl?

By John Martin - February 4, 2022

Pitbull sitting on the lawn

All dog breeds make some noise, and while some are noisier than others, Pitbulls are known for being quieter. However, when they do howl, it is for extremely specific reasons.

If you want to adopt a Pitbull, you are probably curious about the personality traits of this adorable breed. They are wonderful pets as they do not cause havoc and make noise in very rare situations.

Personality of Pitbulls

The American Pit Bull Terrier is known for demanding attention from its family. They are friendly, loving, and courageous dogs that can be stubborn if not trained correctly.

They require consistent discipline and early socialization to avoid aggression towards other people and dogs. Although originally bred to indulge in the sport of bear-baiting, Pitbulls are extremely loving towards people that they associate with.

They are also a relatively quiet breed and do not use vocal cues to convey messages. However, this behavior is normal and expected of dogs in certain situations.

Related: 45 Adorable Pitbull Mixes That You Will Love

Types of Howling

Dogs make a wide variety of noises that serve different purposes. Three types of distinct noises should be differentiated to ascertain the reason behind them.

  • Howl: The sound emitted is loud, sustained, and doleful, which characteristic of dogs and wolves
  • Bark: The sound is defined as a short, loud explosive cry
  • Bay: The sound of barking with deep, prolonged tones

Since each of these sounds is emitted in a different context, it is important to listen to what your dog is trying to say. Canine communication is important to understand, as it is the only way you can know how your pup feels.

Let’s look at some of the reasons Pitbulls howl.

Related: Are Pitbulls Smart?

Causes of Howling

Separation anxiety

If you have the neighbors complaining that your pup has been howling while you were away, your Pitbull may be experiencing separation anxiety. This is a common phenomenon among all breeds however;, Pitbulls have an overwhelming love for the people in their lives.

This leads to them getting upset if you are not around for an unusual amount of time. They will make numerous types of noises, including howling if they are suffering from separation anxiety.

Additionally, they tend to be destructive and make a mess in the house when they feel anxious. This problem can be solved by intensive training and making more time for your furry friend at home.

If you cannot stay home for too long, leave a variety of toys and food for your pup while you are away, as this may help keep them distracted. If possible, you could also have someone check up on them or take them outside for a walk.

Health conditions

It is common for Pitbulls to howl and cry when they are in pain. This could be due to an external wound or an internal health condition.

If your pup is well-fed, clean, and does not have any obvious reason for howling, you should check for scars or wounds on your pup.

Since Pitbulls are normally not very vocal, persistent howling can indicate a serious problem, and they should be taken to a veterinarian immediately. Medical professionals can pinpoint the reason for this noise by conducting tests and examining symptoms.

Vets can provide solutions for temporary problems as well as deal with an underlying problem effectively.


Some Pitbulls may howl in response to certain sounds in their environment. This depends on each dog as some are triggered by the sound of vehicles on the street, such as sirens of a police car or an ambulance.

Certain types of music may also cause your Pitbull to respond with howling. If he howls as a response to another dog’s howl, this is no reason for concern as most dog breeds do this.

Howling can also be a sign of marking territory as your Pitbull establishes that your home has been claimed by him. Understanding the specific sounds that trigger howling in your dog can be helpful.

Now that you know what is possibly causing howling in your Pitbull, how should you deal with it? Given below is a list of various ways in which you should deal with problematic howling.

Related: Why Are Pitbulls So Popular?

Dealing with Howling

Pitbulls are generally a quiet breed, and if they do howl, it usually does not last for too long. If the howling is excessive even after ruling out possible problems, there are several ways in which you can reduce this noise.


In the case of separation anxiety, the right kind of training and care can eventually eliminate howling when you are away. Leaving your pup alone in a room even if you are home can help him adapt to not having his family around all the time.

However, Pitbulls are very demanding when it comes to time and attention. If you are planning to adopt one, make sure you have enough time in your day to cater to their needs.

Using toys and hidden treats can keep your pup occupied while you are not home and this will minimize howling caused by separation anxiety. Don’t forget to give them the affection they deserve!

Systematic Desensitization

This method can be used if the howling is triggered by sounds or fear in your Pitbull. Desensitization involves an extended process of exposing your pup to a less severe version of the stimuli that induce fear or anxiety in him.

It is a gradual process that makes your dog less threatened by an otherwise fearful stimulus. Once your pup is comfortable with this version of the threat, you can increase the intensity of the stimulus.

This method will make your Pitbull less fearful of the events that would normally cause him to howl. Since it is a slightly complex process, professional supervision is recommended.


This process is usually coupled with desensitization, as it includes re-teaching your pet to harbor pleasant feelings when exposed to something he initially feared. This is done by associating something good with the feared stimulus.

This process is most effective when treats are given to your pup as soon as he spots the stimulus. Eventually, you Pitbull will be conditioned to associate the once feared stimulus as pleasant, and he will react to it positively.

Systematic desensitization and counterconditioning are extremely effective even though they require longer periods to work. It helps your pet control fear based on emotion, and he will eventually stop howling at the sight or sound of something that made him uncomfortable initially.

Ignore Attention-Seeking Howling

Some dogs are conditioned to believe that they will receive what they desire, such as attention or food, if they howl. This habit needs to be broken by breaking the cycle of giving in to your pup’s noise.

Scolding your pup for howling when he wants something is not the best way to approach the situation as it could make the howling worse. Instead, ignore your dog’s persistent howling until he gets tired and gives up.

Avoid eye-contact and try turning away from him completely to signal to him that the noise is not going to give him any rewards. This will curb his tendency to make unnecessary noise as well as improve his overall behavior.

Rewards for Being Quiet

Instead of paying attention to your dog only when he does something wrong, try showering him with affection when he is quiet. He will eventually learn that curbing his vocal behavior will lead to rewards.

Whether it is for attention or food, avoid giving your dog attention when he is howling. Instead, reward him with treats randomly when he is quiet, and he will slowly start associating this behavior as favorable.

Further, do not give your dog what he wants, such as a toy, food, or treats until he has been quiet for a specific amount of time. Repeat this cycle, and eventually, your Pitbull will learn to be quiet if he wants something.

Spend Time with Your Pitbull

This breed is known for being extremely time-consuming as they cannot get enough of the attention they receive from their family. Separation from them for too long induces anxiety and fear, which causes them to howl.

Some dogs also howl because they feel lonely and since they are social beings, they require interactions with their families. Map out designated time for your pup every day and try new activities with him to keep him engaged.

Take him for walks, play a sport together, or take him to training classes that will be fun for both of you. However, if your Pitbull has to be left alone in the house, ensure that you leave his favorite toys and other objects to distract him while you are away.


It is normal for your Pitbull to howl occasionally in response to the reasons stated earlier. However, if it is regularly occurring and becomes harder to control, corrective measures of behavior should be undertaken.

Pitbulls are precious breeds that enjoy nothing more than bundles of attention and affection. Howling is a natural process for dogs and should not be looked at as a threat.