Dog Sleeping Positions Chart: 10 Sleep Position Meanings | Pupford
March 9th, 2023
Filed under Pet Parenting
Odds are you have at least some pictures on your phone of your dog sleeping. After all, it’s adorable – and you’ve probably had a laugh or two about the weird sleeping positions your dog has managed to twist themselves into for a snooze.
There’s no denying that dogs are super cute when they sleep. But did you know that your dog’s sleeping position can actually mean something? It can provide important information on how your dog may be feeling both physically and emotionally.
Today we’re going to talk about ten common dog sleeping positions and what they mean for your pup!
DOG SLEEPING POSITIONS OVERVIEW
Remember that these meanings are general ideas, we may never know exactly why our dogs sleep in certain positions.
Here are the 10 most common dog sleep positions we'll look at:
- Sleeping on their side
- Sphinx pose or lion's pose
- Cuddling with a person or other animal
- The donut
- On their back
- Back-to-back with another person or animal
- On something cold
- Head propped up on something
Now let's dive into each sleep position below. 👇
1. SLEEPING ON THEIR SIDE
Just like humans, dogs commonly sleep on their sides. You’ll also see this position a lot in puppies who are still developing and senior dogs whose from bearing body weight.
If your dog sleeps on their side a lot, good news! This body language typically means they are relaxed, comfortable, and trusting of their environment.
2. LION’S POSE OR SPHINX POSE
In the sphinx pose, dogs sleep with their paws out in front of them and their head resting on their paws. Sometimes they’ll tuck their front paws in under their chest and have their back legs off to one side, but that doesn’t always happen.
Dogs usually sleep in this position when they are feeling protective or feel like they will have to jump up at a moment’s notice, according to . Maybe they’ll choose this pose when they know mom will be coming home from work soon or there are other animals in the house to play with.
3. SUPERMAN SLEEPING POSITION
Affectionately also known as the “sploot,” the Superman sleeping position has your dog sleeping on its belly with front legs stretched forward and back legs stretched backward.
If you’ve ever watched a young pup plop over and fall asleep in the middle of playing, it’s likely in this position! Dogs who tire themselves out from playing usually fall asleep in the Superman – and are ready to pop up for more playing at the drop of a hat.
4. CUDDLING WITH A PERSON OR ANOTHER ANIMAL
If you or watch television on the sofa with you, you’re no stranger to your dog cuddling. And if you’re anything like us – you love it.
Cuddling to sleep means exactly what you think it does for your dog. It means they’re showing affection and bonding with whoever they’re snuggling up to. This really is just one of those “dogs are so pure and we don’t deserve them” moments, so enjoy it.
Some dogs find pillows, blankets, laundry piles, and toys to bury themselves under before going to sleep. When they do this, they’re seeking additional comfort and security.
Sometimes this is a sign of anxiety and needing attention to fall asleep, but sometimes it’s not a serious issue. Try adding some more blankets to your dog’s sleeping area or getting a to see if that comforts them to sleep.
6. THE DONUT
Has your dog ever curled up so tight they rival a Sunday morning cinnamon bun? When they curl up into a ball with all their limbs tucked in, that’s known as a donut. This position usually occurs when a dog is trying to keep themselves tucked and protected, usually for two reasons:
- They’re cold and want to preserve internal body heat
- They are anxious or adjusting to a new environment
If your dog is sleeping in this position, make sure they are warm and cozy – and if they’re new in the home, give them time to adjust.
7. DOG SLEEPING ON THEIR BACK
When a dog lies on its back with its paws up, it’s not just a fun “play dead” trick – it can be a common sleeping position too!
Dogs most commonly use this sleeping position to , since dogs release heat through their paws. But it’s also a sign that they fully trust their surroundings and don’t sense any danger, so if a dog sleeps like this around you, then you can take it as a compliment!
8. BACK-TO-BACK WITH A PERSON OR ANOTHER ANIMAL
If your dog sleeps back to back with another dog or a person, it’s very similar to other cuddle styles in that it’s a sign that your dog is comfortable and showing affection.
But some dog behavior experts believe that back-to-back cuddling is a sign of intimacy. Dog behavior specialist Jen Jones has observed that dogs tend to sleep back to back with those they feel safest with and trust the most.
If your dog snuggles up with its back toward you, consider it a badge of honor.
9. ON SOMETHING COLD
Some dogs like to layout on a tile floor or another cool surface. This sleeping position is pretty straightforward: your dog is hot and is trying to cool down.
You’ll most likely see your dog sleep this way after a walk in warm weather or an intense play session. Just make sure your dog has access to water and does not appear to be overheated. can also come in handy during the hot summer months.
10. HEAD PROPPED UP ON SOMETHING
Your dog propping their head up on something when they sleep can range from “aww, how cozy!” to “how on Earth are you comfortable?”
While sometimes it’s nothing more than your dog being silly, if you notice your dog often sleeps with their head propped up on something then you should pay attention. In some cases, it could be a sign that they are having issues breathing properly. Keep an eye out for fast breathing rates, noisy breathing, or getting out of breath easily – contact your vet if you see any of these signs in your dog.
OTHER THINGS TO NOTE ABOUT YOUR DOG’S SLEEPING HABITS
No matter what position your dog likes to sleep in, you might notice some other odd things your dog does while sleeping and wonder if they’re normal.
And they’re all normal! Most movement and sound are a response to a dog’s dream.
Yes, that’s right, your dog dreams! Experts are still not 100% sure how dogs dream, but they have a good idea that dogs dream about events that happened during the day.
DOG SLEEPING POSITIONS CHART
If you find yourself constantly wondering what your dog's sleeping positions mean, then you'll love this chart! You can even save it, print it out, and put it on your fridge if you'd like.
RECAP OF DOG SLEEPING POSITIONS
Dog sleeping positions sometimes still feel like a mystery. Hopefully this article gave you some ideas as to why your dog sleeps in the funny ways he/she does from time to time. And even if we don't understand all the positions exactly, it's cute as h*ck!
Does your dog have any interesting or funny sleep habits or bedtime routines? Let us know in the comments!