Dog Sleeping Positions and What They Mean

Dog Sleeping Positions and What They Mean

Author WDF Staff

03.05.2021.


Is there anything cuter than seeing your dog sleep? They are so adorable, and some can even make you laugh with their weird sleeping positions. Humans sleep in different positions, and some of us are more comfortable on our backs. Others love sleeping on their sides, and some love sleeping on their belly. However, your dog’s sleeping positions can tell you a lot about them; you just need to know what sleeping positions mean.

Here are some of the most common dog sleeping positions and what they mean;

1. On the back

Let’s start with the funniest sleeping position in dogs - on their back. If you have a back-sleeping dog, you probably noticed how funny they can actually be. Their limbs can be flopping, and they look extremely comfortable and relaxed. That is what most dog owners can hope for; to provide their dogs with homes they are completely relaxed and comfortable in.

dog sleeping on back

What does this sleeping position mean?

Dogs that love sleeping on their backs are completely relaxed. They have complete faith in their surroundings, people, and other pets that are around them. They are exposing their most vulnerable parts (belly and neck), which shows us how trusting they are. Dogs that sleep in this position cannot get up fast, which means they don’t have any reason to think they might have to.

Dogs look adorable when they sleep, and you probably wondered before if your dog dreams. Check out this article for more information - Do dogs dream?

2. Curled up

The curled-up sleeping position might be the cutest thing ever. Dogs seem to love this sleeping position as it provides additional warmth and comfort. The dog will curl up in such a way that their nose is touching their tail. They will tuck their paws underneath their head and keep them isolated and warm. This is one of the most common sleeping positions of wild canids and wolves.

dog curled up

What does this sleeping position mean?

While this sleeping position in the wild allows wolves to get up quickly if they have to, dogs rarely sleep that way because they think someone will attack them. Nordic breeds, like the Siberian Husky, have a similar sleeping position called the “Siberian curl.” They will cover their face with their bushy tail to protect it from harsh winds and snow. Dogs that sleep like this might be a bit cold or simply want additional warmth while napping.

3. On the side

This might be the most common dog sleeping position, but that is impossible to know for sure. Dogs that sleep on their side have their legs stretched out. This is another position that will tell you your dog is perfectly comfortable in their surrounding. They have complete confidence in you, and they won’t let anything get in the way of their sleep.

dog sleeping on the side

What does this sleeping position mean?

This dog sleeping position means your dog is comfy and prefers having their legs stretched out. If your dog has a dream, you might notice them slightly twitching or whining. This is another sleeping position where most of the dog’s vital organs are exposed, which means they are entirely confident in their safety. They trust their family, and their sleeping position proves it.

If you ever wondered what twitching in their sleep means, check out this article - Dog twitching in their sleep.

4. On the belly

There are a couple of variations of belly sleeping positions (technically, curled-up sleeping is a form of belly sleeping). In this instance, we are talking about the sleeping position where the dog has their hind legs stretched behind them and their front legs extended in front of them. This is more common in puppies whose bones are still developing. Adult dogs might have problems getting into this sleeping position.

Dog sleeping on the belly

What does this sleeping position mean?

Puppies often fall asleep in this position after trying to stay awake and fight the overwhelming zzz-s. They are playful and will constantly look for new things and experiences. When the sleeping urge hits them, puppies often just give up and fall asleep on their bellies with their legs stretched in all sorts of positions. This sleeping position allows dogs to get up quickly if they need to, so some working dogs might sleep on their bellies as well.

Dogs seem to love sleeping, but do you know how much sleep dogs actually require? Check out this article for more info - How long do dogs sleep?

5. Raised neck and head

Some dogs might have human-like sleeping positions. For instance, my dog loves sleeping on the couch with his neck and head raised on the pillow. I personally believe that is absolutely adorable, and luckily, my dog is perfectly healthy. He just has a weird affection towards sleeping with a soft pillow under his head. Dogs that love having something under their head will sleep on their back or on their side.

dog sleeping with raised neck and head

What does this sleeping position mean?

This dog sleeping position might not have any special meaning. If they simply love sleeping like that, they are probably very relaxed and comfortable. However, some dogs that sleep with their necks and heads raised might have breathing issues. You have to keep a close eye on your dog and see if this is a new sleeping position.

If your dog was a belly sleeper before, and suddenly, they prefer having their head raised, you should check for signs of breathing issues. There are other symptoms your dog will exhibit, like loud breathing, lower exercise tolerance, or a faster breathing rate. Make sure you call your vet if you notice anything suspicious going on with your dog.

World Dog Finder team

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