Home Lifestyle Dog’s Sleeping Position and What It Says About Him

Dog’s Sleeping Position and What It Says About Him

Dog Sleeping Position

What Your Dog's Sleeping Position Says About Him

What does my dog's sleeping position mean?

Did you know that the average dog sleeps about 12-13 hours each day?

Puppies and senior dogs sleep even more than that!

And did you know that the position he sleeps in can actually tell you a lot about the way he's feeling?

Some dogs tend to sleep in the same position most of the time, while others will alternate between a few common positions.

Dogs are good at catching a little shuteye whenever the opportunity presents itself.

The quick naps that they often take are usually spent in a very light sleep; it takes a longer period of time to achieve deep, restful sleep.

Typically your pet's sleep schedule will depend on what he does all day.

Dogs left home alone for many hours at a time will often sleep more than 12-13 hours per day.

Working dogs and dogs kept outdoors may sleep much less.

Your dog will choose a sleeping position based on his mood and what his needs are at the time.

Different positions will allow him to do many things, from jumping up quickly if need be to conserving body heat.

This Is What Your Dog's Sleeping Position Says About Him

What Your Dog's Sleeping Position Says About Him
Photo: Yatmandu

The Side Sleeper

Dog Side Sleeper Sleeping Position
Photo: Ben Husmann

This is by far the most common sleeping position for dogs.

This is a peaceful position that shows that your pup is comfortable with his surroundings.

If your dog sleeps like this, it means he is very secure and ready to take a long rest.

A dog who typically sleeps on his side is likely to be easy-going and happy.

It shows that he trusts you and the other members of your family.

Dogs typically sleeping in this position are usually comfortable just about anywhere and adapt easily to new surroundings.

The Fox Position

Dog Fox Position Sleeping Position
Photo: Nico Jensen

Sleeping curled up in a ball, like a fox, is another common position.

It's also the most defensive sleeping position.

By curling himself up in a ball, your dog is able to conserve body heat and protect his face, throat, limbs, and all vital organs at the same time.

The fox sleeping position involves tucking the paws underneath the body and wrapping the tail around the face.

This is not a very restful position, as your dog will need to keep his body very tense to stay curled in a ball like this.

Some researchers say that a dog may do this to revert back to his natural instincts, while others say it is just likely that your pup is cold.

The Superman

Dog Superman Sleeping PositionThis position involves your dog lying on his belly with all four paws outstretched.

His front feet will be sticking out straight, and so will his back legs.

If you look at him from above, it gives the appearance that he's flying like Superman!

This is my favorite canine sleeping position and possibly the cutest.

I love it when dogs do this!

In this position, your pup is ready to leap into action at any moment.

As soon as he hears a strange noise or you call his name for dinner, he'll be able to hop up and start running quickly.

This sleeping position shows a high energy level, showing that your pooch is easily motivated.

It is more common for puppies to sleep this way.

The Superman isn't the most restful sleeping position, but your dog is still likely to fall into a deep sleep this way.

On the Tummy

On the Tummy Dog Sleeping Position
Photo: Pedro Paulo Boaventura Grein

Lots of dogs choose to sleep on their belly in a comfortable position.

This is another sleeping position that makes them ready for anything that may happen while they're snoozing.

A dog can easily jump up from this position and be ready to defend himself or his family.

RELATED: 10 Proven Ways Dogs Communicate Their Sense of Humor

Upside Down

Dog Upside Down Sleeping PositionThere are many reasons that a dog may sleep on his back with his paws in the air.

It is most common for a pup to sleep this way when he wants to keep cool.

Because a dog's belly has less fur, it's easier for the cool air to reach his skin if he's lying on his back.

This is also an ideal sleeping position for large breeds that enjoy stretching their limbs out while they sleep.

This position definitely looks a little strange, but it is actually a sign that your dog is extremely comfortable with his pack and his environment.

In this position, your dog's vital organs, throat, face, and limbs are all completely exposed.

It will also take him a lot longer to get himself turned around and back onto his feet if an emergency arises.

In layman's terms, this is the most vulnerable position that a dog can sleep in.

If your pet sleeps like this on a regular basis, you can bet that he trusts and respects you.

Just think about wild dogs – do you ever see them sleeping like this?

Of course not!

They would be vulnerable to any attacker that may show up in the night.

Sleeping with a Buddy

Sleeping with a Buddy Dog Sleeping Position
Photo: changehali

Some dogs, like ours, like to sleep with another canine companion or enjoy sleeping next to their humans.

Your Fido may do this if he is feeling a need to be close to you.

This could be based on your emotions.

This sleeping position shows that your dog has a strong bond with you or the other dog that he's sleeping next to.

Physical contact (usually back-to-back) is a sign of great trust and loyalty in the canine world.

Not only is the dog showing affection to the animal or person that he is sleeping next to, but it's also a sign of protection.

He wants to be close to you or the other dog, so he will be there to protect them if the need arises.

Dog's Sleeping Position: FAQs

What is a healthy dog sleeping position?

Puppies that are still growing and senior dogs whose joints need a break from supporting their body weight sometimes sleep on their sides.

This indicates that they are at ease and trusting of their surroundings.

Why does my dog sleep belly up?

Dogs lying on their backs with their legs pointed upward are very hot or incredibly trusting.
When dogs sleep on their backs with their paws in the air, it indicates that they trust you and their surroundings because this is such a vulnerable position to be in.
Although it may look uncomfortable, the dog is actually showing genuine relaxation and comfort in this position.

Is it better to let sleeping dogs lie?

Let sleeping dogs lie is a phrase that discourages people from disturbing their sleeping dogs.

According to the AKC, disturbing a dog while they are in REM sleep might have serious consequences.

A dreaming dog may become startled and bite unintentionally if disturbed.

Dog's Sleeping Position: Before You Go

Ensure your dog's sleeping habits fit your and your family's needs, regardless of how, when, or where he does so.

Now that you know the meaning behind dogs' sleeping positions, you should pay focus on your dog's preferred sleeping position to gain a sense of what lies beneath those ears.

Additionally, becoming familiar with your dog's sleeping patterns is a simple method to stay aware of their general health.

Now it’s your turn!

What position does your dog sleep in?

Does it follow the traits I discussed in this article? We'd love to see pictures of your sleeping pup on our Facebook or Twitter feeds!

Do you have any additional information or questions about the sleeping positions of dogs? We'd love to hear them in the comments below.

Let's talk!


Samantha’s biggest passion in life is spending time with her Boxer dogs. After she rescued her first Boxer in 2004, Samantha fell in love with the breed and has continued to rescue three other Boxers since then. She enjoys hiking and swimming with her Boxers, Maddie and Chloe.