Every dog owner has caught their pup mid-snooze in a position that looks a little uncomfortable. Though sometimes they get tangled up, our doggos tend to sleep in the same position most often – learn how your dog's position of choice can give you some personality insights!
Does your dog love to snooze belly up or belly down? Side sleeper or curled into a tight ball?
The ways our dogs sleep are as unique as they are, and much like the way we humans sleep, some experts say that a pup's sleep position can offer some insight into their individual personalities and state of mind.
Read below to learn more about the most common sleep positions and what they might be telling you about your furry best friend!
8 Most Common Dog Sleeping Positions We Catch Our Pups In
#1: The Side Sleeper
Do you usually find your dog laying down on one side? If your pupper tends to be a side sleeper, they're feeling so comfortable in their surroundings that they're willing to let their guard down, laying with all their precious organs exposed!
Side sleeping pooches feel secure not only with their surroundings but with themselves, and they tend to be as low-maintenance as they come. This dog has undoubted, deeply-built trust in its owner and is a very loyal companion.
Sometimes, dogs hit the side sleeper pose by accident – if a doggo starts in a seated position, they may eventually slip down into the side sleeping pose as they enter a deeper sleep phase.
#2: The Belly Up
Don't worry! The belly-up position isn't a cause for concern, even if it makes your pup look like a dead goldfish. Doggos love to sleep on their backs on sweltering days, as exposing that tummy helps to cool their bodies down.
Even on more moderate temperature days, your doggie may still overheat if they've spent the day outside, chasing every little creature that came across their path.
Much like the side sleeping one, this position shows that your puppy is incredibly secure, as it couldn't get more exposed if it tried. Belly-up sleepers also tend to exude a confident air about them, and legs tilted into the sky mean your dog is next-level relaxed.
A belly-up pup usually adapts well to new situations and is incredibly easy-going.
#3: The Donut
Whether you call this position the croissant or the donut, this sleeping style has nothing to do with pastries. A dog that sleeps in the donut curls itself into a ball as tightly as possible, with its paws under its head and its tail often over its nose.
Along with looking super adorable, this position has a functional purpose: curling into a ball and covering its face and paws helps preserve your dog's body warmth, which is precisely why we see Northern breeds, wild dogs, and wolves choosing this method of sleep.
The curled-up donut also protects the dog's belly, allowing them to rise to any threats as quickly as need be. Though sometimes dogs do this when they feel unsafe, you'll see your doggo do this at home even when they're relaxed. Sometimes, a pup gets a little chilly and needs extra comfort or possibly tends towards a bit of anxiety.
#4: The Froggy/Superman
One of the more amusing dog sleeping positions you'll see is the Superman or froggy, which makes our puppers look like they've literally melted to the floor or are flying through the air, front and hind legs and paws out and away from the body.
This stance is typical of smaller breeds, who seem to have the leg joint flexibility to pull off this yoga-like stretch. If your dog sleeps like this, they're likely the vibrant life of the party, ready to hop up for more fun at a moment's notice!
In terms of actual sleep function, a dog's underside fur is not as thick or warm as other fur on their bodies, so the outstretched limbs may be the result of a pup trying to keep its body a little cooler with a bit of extra chilly floor contact.
#5: The Cozy Cuddler
Is your dog particularly obsessed with you? Some dogs refuse to leave their owner's side, even as they sleep. Sometimes they want to spoon, get directly into your face, or sleep politely between your ankles. Either way, it's adorably sweet and a little clingy, all at the same time.
Cuddlers are full of affection, and in homes with more than one dog, the pups may choose to sleep together for warmth and comfort. When puppies are tiny, they can't regulate their own temperature well while sleeping, making co-sleeping a necessity. Although it's no longer necessary, a fully grown dog may still enjoy the comfort of sleeping with a loved one.
If your pup is the "little spoon," they're trying to bond with you, keep warm, and feel some protection and security. A "big spoon" doggo likely wants to offer you the same and gets comfort in feeling like the big protector of its house.
If you love your puppy's cuddles and you'd like to give them better access to your bed, grab a bed ramp for dogs to let them come and go without nighttime disturbances.
#6: The Lion
The lion pose makes your pupper look like the king of the jungle or the sphinx of the pyramids! Like Superman, a dog in the lion pose lies on its tummy, but with knees bent, head on its paws, and back legs folded underneath.
Sometimes, your dog might tuck its front paws in, with back legs bent to one side or the other.
The lion pose indicates your canine is at rest but not deeply sleeping, as they're ready to jump up at a moment's notice as needed. Dogs will do this in situations that make them feel a little insecure or unsure.
If your dog takes this pose when he's in a relaxed state and atmosphere, he may merely be taking a little rest instead of going down for a full-on snooze-fest. If your doggo anticipates that their owner will arrive home soon or that a snack is close by, they may take the lion pose for a little rest as they remain alert.
#7: The Crazy Legs
The crazy legs is a variation of the belly up, in which the doggo lies back down, with its legs and paws splayed in the air at every awkward angle. Whenever a dog takes this position, it makes us think they can't be comfortable, but clearly, they are!
Like belly up, a dog in the crazy legs position is very trusting, comfortable, and submissive to its owner. Likely, this doggo has an independent streak and is incredibly laid-back and easy-going.
#8: The Protector
Does your dog ever sleep with its back to you? This is one of the most commonly known wild dog sleeping positions, meaning your dog wants nothing more than to protect you and be protected!
Instinctually, back-to-back sleeping makes sense to a dog, as it's the safest way to sleep as a pack in the wilderness. It offers protection from other predators and a means of warmth, which even house dogs find comforting, far away from any real signs of danger.
Because this position is about mutual protection, a dog that offers it trusts you fully and wants to bond and express its love to you through this gesture!
Final Note: Sudden Changes in Dog Sleeping Positions
It's entirely normal for a dog to favor one or a few various dog sleeping positions. Take note of your pup's positions and keep an eye on any changes, which may indicate potential pain or discomfort in your doggo's body.
If you loved getting to know your dog through their sleep patterns, read more about dog sleep in our next piece, "Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much."