8 Dog Sleeping Positions & What They Can Tell You

Your dog's body posture when they sleep can give you insight into their state of mind.

Updated March 28, 2023
dog sleeping on cushion

Dogs can catch some Zs almost anytime, and whether they're in curled up in a ball or sunbathing on the patio, they look incredibly cute doing it. But your dog's sleep position isn't just adorable - it can tell you a lot about how they're feeling. Some dogs like to sleep on their back with their belly up, in a "Superhero" position, or back-to-back, among other positions. Find out what the way your dog sleeps says about them and what their position might be telling you about their state of mind.

8 Dog Sleep Position Meanings

The position a dog sleeps in can indicate something about how deeply they are sleeping and possibly if they are dreaming. Take note of how your dog positions themselves during sleep, and you might gain some insight into their mood or health.

Dog sleeping positions infographic

1. Belly Up

Dachshund sleeping on couch belly up

This is certainly one of the funniest of all sleep positions where your dog is on their back, all four legs up in the air. This is the position where dogs go into a deep sleep. There are two main reasons for this. One, their stomach is exposed to the air, so they are able to keep cool. And two, by not being curled up in a ball, none of their muscles are tense, and they are able to be completely relaxed.

2. Side Sleeper

Dog sleeping on side in a ray of sun

When your dog is sleeping on their side, it usually means they are simply dozing. This position indicates they feel safe enough to relax for a quick sleep. However, sometimes they can go into a deep sleep on their side if they are relaxed enough. Side sleeping is super common in dogs

Quick Tip

In this position and the belly-up position, you will witness most of the funny dream movements happening, such as kicking, wagging their tail, nose, and whiskers twitching, muffled barks, muffled cries, chewing motions, feet running, snoring, and general bliss.

3. Superhero Position

French bulldog sleeping on bell with legs kicked out on rug

Does your dog sleep on their belly with all four legs extended like they're a superhero about to take flight? Dogs usually find themselves in this sleeping position after a really intense play session. They might be exhausted and need to take a quick nap, but they are ready to continue playing after a few Zs. Sleeping outstretched on a cool surface could also mean your dog is warm and is trying to cool down.

4. Curled Up in a Ball

Beagle asleep on couch curled into ball

Curling into a ball is a common napping position for dogs. If you watch a dog sleeping in this position, you're likely to notice they wake up very quickly when they sleep this way. Curling into a tight ball allows dogs to stay warm and keep their belly and other vital parts protected. Wild dogs and cold-weather breeds will often sleep like this to conserve energy.

Quick Tip

Most dogs will generally circle round and round, nesting before they finally lie down.

5. Under the Covers

Spaniel puppy asleep under purple blanket on couch

Burrowing under a blanket or the sheets on your bed is something dogs do to find some peace and quiet. Some dogs do this regularly if they want to hunker down for a long sleep, but others might only do it during times of stress. If there's a thunderstorm or if your dog isn't feeling well, you might find them under the covers. Use other clues from their behavior to see if they're trying to tell you that something needs to be tended to. Your dog could be looking to feel more secure, but they also might just be cold.

6. Sphinx Pose

Boxer sleeping on floor in sphinx pose

Dogs can sleep in a position that looks like a sphinx statue - also known as lion's pose - where they sit back on their haunches and rest their head on their front feet. This is usually a napping pose, or a position dogs sleep in when they don't feel like they can let their guard down entirely because they can jump into action at any moment. They're not resting deeply here, but are just down for a light nap, at the ready if anything happens.

7. Lying Back-to-Back

Two shepherd dogs sleeping back to back on floor

When your dog lays back-to-back with another pet or with you, they are expressing their support and love. They feel safe in your presence and regard this time as "bonding time." Your dog could be napping or falling into a deep sleep in this sleeping position. Either way, know it means they care deeply for you.

8. Spooning

Girl and beagle spooning asleep

Pressing their body up against yours, whether they are the little spoon or big spoon, means a dog has a very strong bond with you. They feel very comfortable with you and trust you to keep them safe while they sleep. You can think of it as a sleepy dog hug.

Fast Fact

Just like people, dogs need their sleep. Your dog should get at least eight to 14 hours of sleep each day.

Make Your Dog's Sleep Comfortable

The temperature in a room will influence how your dog sleeps. So, whether your dog sleeps inside or outside, ensure the temperature is comfortable at all times. As far as where your dog sleeps, the choice of beds and furnishings has increased drastically in the last several years. Whichever style of bed you choose, it is most important to have a clean, comfortable sleeping area for your dog where they feel safe and can sleep in whatever position they prefer.

8 Dog Sleeping Positions & What They Can Tell You