While I watched a compilation video in Youtube, I heard the expression. I'm not a native

speaker, so I want to know the difference of it compared to the other as following.

  1. A dog is so protective of his own owner.
  2. A dog is so protective to his own owner.

Do both have the same meaning? or Are both different?

I believe that both have a different meaning.

Is anyone who explain about it?

2 Answers 2


A dog is so protective of his own owner.

From the context, we see that we are referring to a particular dog. We should hence use the article the.

The dog is so protective of his own owner.

I usually use it/its to refer to an animal:

The dog is so protective of its owner.

own is redundant.

Prepositions following protective could be either of or towards/toward, as shown

C1 wanting to protect someone from criticism, hurt, danger, etc. because you like them very much:

It's easy to be too protective towards/of your children.

Ngram shows that of is the most common.

added after OP's comments

Other than the dictionary I consulted and quoted in my earlier answer, two more dictionary checks also show that the prepositions to use are of and towards; to is not found.


If someone is protective towards you, they look after you and show a strong desire to keep you safe.

He is very protective towards his mother. [+ towards/of]


He’s very protective towards his sister.

She is fiercely protective of her privacy.

As shown in the Ngram results in my earlier answer, the use of to had been checked. Though to is shown to have been used, it is not as frequent as of. As I do not have the background of those uses, and with my dictionary checks I would not choose to use that preposition.

  • thanks for your answer. Then if the preposition "to" means showing relationship, does it make no sense? I want to know that it is possible to express that way. Is it possible?
    – bak1936
    Feb 6, 2022 at 6:48
  • The OP's question is only about changing the preposition. The first half of your answer doesn't answer the question.
    – gotube
    Feb 6, 2022 at 7:52
  • @bak1936, I have added two more dictionary check results and more explanations. Feb 6, 2022 at 9:35
  • @Seowjooheng Singapore thanks. I didn't know that other preposition can't be used. I checked there are only two preposition used possibly ; of and toward.
    – bak1936
    Feb 6, 2022 at 11:24

It is better to use the first one.

protective= wanting to protect someone from harm or danger

I am very protective of my brother. He is fiercely protective of his children.

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