In a given day, dogs log between 12 and 18 hours of shuteye. Our furry best friends can scatter their rest throughout the day because, unlike humans, they’re not beholden to strict sleep patterns. Instead, they have a two-phase sleep cycle consisting only of slow-wave (or deep) sleep and REM sleep. And, not only are pups able to pass out on command; they do it with their limbs and torsos scrunched and twisted into the oddest, and most adorable, of configurations. In most cases, a dog’s decision to curl up, sprawl out or dangle their paws in mid-air has more to do with staying comfortable (and making us squeal) than anything else. Here’s what to know about your dog’s sleeping position.
Both wild and domestic dogs instinctively curl up to conserve heat and protect their organs from predators. This position is conducive to comfort but less so to solid slumber — dogs who assume this least-restful position are thought unlikely to enter REM sleep, when vivid dreaming occurs.
Think of this loose ball as a toned-down version of the Bagel.
If your dog sleeps in this position, it likely means he's hot. Angling his legs up allows him to air out his core and stay cooler.
He's comfy, but ready to spring into action if he senses a threat — or smells bacon.
The Overturned Table
Dogs doze in on their backs with limbs akimbo only when they feel extremely secure and comfortable in their homes. Neither wolves nor dogs sleeping outdoors are known to rest in this highly vulnerable position.
Snoozing like a pharaoh may indicate that a pup feels too anxious or stressed to fall asleep on his side.
The Marie Antoinette
Cavalier King Charles spaniels who suffer from a congenital spinal cord condition called syringomyelia tend to sleep with their heads held high to combat neck pain.
Hogging covers may be a leftover behavior from when wild dogs raised young in dark holes. Daschunds, and other breeds bred to burrow, might be most likely to wrap themselves in comforters.