- June
Posted By : PawBoost
Dog Sleeping Positions & What They Mean

This article was contributed by guest writer, R. Thomas (Dog Agility Trainer)

5 Common Dog Sleep Positions and Their Meaning

Why does my dog sleep like that? What does it mean? All dog owners wonder this but don’t always find an answer.

Curled up. Sprawled out. Upside down. Right side up.

Those are just a few of the orientations dogs assume while sleeping.

Some are hilarious. Some are practical. Some are downright strange.

We can learn a lot about our dogs by watching how they sleep!

Personality, breed, time of day, temperature, surroundings, and age all influence a dog’s preferred sleeping position. Just like we prefer to sleep in a certain position, so do our dogs! Some may look funky, but these positions are practical and may be based off of ancestral instincts.

While there are many different dog sleeping positions, this guide outlines the top 5. Each position will be detailed and provided with its meaning and the personality of dogs that typically sleep that way.

Photo Credit: Sergio Souza via Pexels

1. Cinnamon Roll

Position Explained

AKA the “donut” or “snow ball,” this position is when your pup is curled and cozied up into an adorable ball. They are so cute you just want to eat them up!


Dogs that sleep in this position are utilizing their ancestors’ instincts. They are trying conserve body temperature, protect their underside, and reduce the amount of surface area exposed to the environment. The cinnamon roll position is adorable but serves a purpose!

Pup Personality

Dogs will sleep in this position as puppies and adjusting to a new home. The cinnamon roll position is also common the wintertime. Most pups have caring personalities but may also have separation anxiety. Malamute and Huskies commonly sleep in the cinnamon roll position.

Photo Credit: Jess at Pexels

2. Side Sleeper

Position Explained

The name says it all for this position! A dog is sprawled out on its side with its legs extended out; this pup is calm, relaxed, and at peace.


Unlike the “donut” sleeper, the side sleeper is not using its protective instincts. By sleeping on its side, a dog is exposing its underside and belly. This means it is very comfortable with its surroundings.

Pup Personality

Side sleepers are cool as cucumbers. They are very easy-going, relaxed, calm, and trust their owners. Most dog breeds choose to sleep in the side sleeper position at night. Also, many elderly and geriatric dogs sleep this way.

Photo Credit: Magda Ehlers at Pexels

3. Dead Bug

Position Explained

This position is not as morbid as its name sounds! The dead bug is when a pup sleeps on its back with its legs and belly facing upward. Its head will usually be relaxed to one side.


Dead bug sleepers 100% trust their owners and surroundings. They are exposing their vital organs, meaning they know they are at no threat of danger. Also, pups sleep in this position if they are hot and trying to cool down.

Pup Personality

These sleepers are trusting yet independent, comfortable, and care free. Many dogs will sleep in the dead bug position during the summer months. Puppies love to sleep in this position along with Golden Retrievers, Great Pyrenees, and Poodles. These pups get very good deep sleep!

Photo Credit: Dominika Roseclay at Pexels

4. Superhero

Position Explained

Your pup is trying to be like Superman or Wonder Woman! This sleeping position is when a dog has its belly flat on the floor and its forelimbs stretched forward and its hind limbs relaxed behind.


All of our pups are our superheroes, but this position does have meaning. Superhero sleepers are very tired and exhausted. Some dogs will assume this position on tiles or hardwood flooring to cool down via direct contact with their bellies.

Pup Personality

Many dogs that sleep like this are high energy breeds such as Labrador Retrievers or Border Collies. This is their preferred napping position! These dogs are very playful, energetic, and athletic. Most dogs get a good night’s sleep in this position!

Photo Credit: Adrianna Calvo via Pexels

5. Resting Sphinx

Position Explained

Imagine what the Great Sphinx of Giza looks like. Pups that sleep in this position look just like that, but their head is rested on top of their front paws. Their belly is flat on the ground and their hind limbs are tucked underneath them.


Many dogs choose to take their mid-day nap or snooze in the resting sphinx pose. This position allows them to stay in a position that they can quickly get up and be on guard if disturbed. German Shepherds, Dobermanns, and Rottweilers all enjoy resting like this!

Pup Personality

These dogs are always on guard and ready to protect their owners. Most watchdog breeds sleep in the resting sphinx position. Also, dogs that are not entirely comfortable with their surrounds may nap like this. Most pups that sleep like this do not get the same level of deep sleep as side sleepers or dead bugs.

Wrapping Up

It is evident that our pups have many different ways of snoozing. Some are practical and based on their instincts, while others are just a means of relaxing.

There are even a few positions such as the dead bug that look ridiculous and give owners a good chuckle!

By knowing what sleeping position a dog frequently uses, we are able to learn a lot about it! Each position has its own meaning and also reveals much about a dog’s personality. Chill and laid back dogs will sleep in relaxed positions such as the side sleeper or dead bug; high strung and watchdogs will sleep in less relaxed and on-guard positions such as the resting sphinx.

Learn more about PawBoost for dog owners.


  • my dog sleeps with me in bed… we take naps together and she is always near me. she is a very loyal little dog. I usually take her and put her right next to me and put my arm around her and she stays next to me all night.. if she gets cold she tries to get under my pillow.. my husband has said more than once I have rolled on her.. she doesnt care and he freaks out and pulls her out from under me… she is my little angel and she is a very loving dog.

    • My dog is a side sleeper and his name is Malcom he is very adorable but he also sleeps on the couch in a donut kind of position but only his bed my bed and the couch not the floor. On the floor he sleeps on his side facing one of us always he is so cute i swear.

  • interesting and informative. Our geriatric Shepadoodle, when actually sleeping assumes the “side sleeper position” but, also the ” relaxing sphinx position” I don’t think he’s really sleeping then, just resting. If you speak to him, or walk over him he will raise his head or twitch his eyebrows.

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