German Shepherd Sleeping Habits and Patterns

There are so many aspects of a German Shepherd dog breed that mesmerize any dog lover. First, there is the way they move about, play, and guard their parents! But what’s most intriguing is that German Shepherd sleeping patterns are quite different from other dog breeds. 

Do you have concerns that your German Shepherd isn’t getting adequate sleep? Sleep is an essential component of your dog’s health, and that’s why we’ve analyzed what a German Shepherd’s normal sleeping patterns are, how much rest they should get, and the significances of different sleeping positions.

Why Is Sleep Essential for German Shepherd Dogs?

A German Shepherd (GS) is a working dog that can endure a lot when given a task. Therefore, German Shepherds may be required to stand guard during critical missions. But German Shepherd dogs, just like humans, can be persistent in their aversion to sleep. However, sleep is just as essential as food, and you’ll need to provide adequate hours of sleep for your GS pup.

Basically, the state of inactivity for certain periods is termed rest. But the question is, how essential is sleep for your German Shepherd dog? During sleep, German Shepherds recharge their brains, which helps in brain functioning. This biochemical process is enhanced by the physical and mental rest the dog takes.

Sleep is also important for cognitive response and can improve your dog’s learning ability. You’ll highly appreciate this during training. In fact, you will notice that your dog will execute new tricks much faster and execute various tasks. Additionally, proper sleep boosts the immune system of your German Shepherd. When your dog lacks enough sleep, he will be more susceptible to illness and infections.

Overall, sleep plays a big role in aiding your dog’s growth and development and helps your pup recover from the physical exhaustion of the day.

How Many Hours Should Your German Shepherd Dog Sleep?

German Shepherd or GS dogs, as they are commonly known, are extremely clever and active dogs. Originally bred to be working dogs, they are more vigilant and watchful of their packs. As a result, they may sleep less than other dog breeds, but their environment and maturity will influence how much sleep they require.

On average, your German Shepherd dog should sleep for 12-14 hours. However, the exact number of hours might vary significantly based on lifestyle and age. Working and active GS dogs typically sleep less, while puppies and seniors GSs tend to sleep more.

A German Shepherd sleeping
A German Shepherd sleeping

Sleeping Habits of a German Shepherd Puppy

It is very normal for German Shepherd puppies to sleep approximately 18 to 20 hours daily. Also, it is common for a pup to have difficulty sleeping through the night. Just as newborn children require a schedule, so does your new GS puppy. At the age of eight weeks old, your puppy’s bladder will not be strong enough to retain them for the entire night. 

When your German Shepherd dog puppy is still under eight weeks old, he will regularly wake you up twice or three times a night to go potty. But as he grows older, he will gradually decrease the potty calls to once a night. Their expanding bodies require more nutrition and rest. Furthermore, they get fatigued quickly when exercising or exploring their surroundings; therefore, they require a lot of rest.

Sleeping Patterns of Adult German Shepherds

Since German Shepherds are generally active, a healthy adult dog may require less sleep. They can sleep anywhere between 12-14 hours every day. As they are commonly known as working dogs, they are highly cautious and alert. Besides, their seep is generally influenced by the kind of job they are used to do.

Sleeping Habits of Senior German Shepherds

Dogs usually sleep more as they age. If your German Shepherd has been vibrant and active for several years, this shift might come as a shock, but it is a normal component of aging as they near the end of their lives. Research says that the amount of time a dog spends sleeping is directly proportional to his age. 

Therefore, just like in humans, the older the age of your German Shepherd, the more he sleeps. These senior dogs typically sleep for around 16-20 hours, with peaceful rest lasting longer than actual sleep.

Different German Shepherd Sleeping Positions and What they Mean

Does it imply anything to get your dog resting in an unusual position? Dogs, like people, sleep in various positions based on their health, moods, comfort, etc. Dog owners may learn about their beloved pets by simply observing their body language, including sleeping positions. 

Another thing to look for is how they behave while asleep, such as lying on their side or their back. Dog resting positions are much like subtle hints that can reveal how they feel mentally and physically. Here are seven popular dog sleeping postures and the general interpretations by dog mind specialists:

1: The Upside-Down Sleeping Pattern

German Shepherds are defensive dogs and will also take convenient positions to react to any danger. However, sleeping upside-down indicates that they feel so protected that they may doze off without fear of being attacked by adversaries. This also implies that they surrender to their masters, particularly while their owners are present. On the other hand, a German Shepherd resting on their back means they’re peaceful and comfortable with their furry paws. 

2: Sleeping with Their Masters

Warmth is the most unlikely reason for German Shepherd to sleep with their masters. But, GS dogs naturally feel that there is safety in numbers. So, when German Shepherds sleep in cohorts, they feel safe and protected since they are less likely to be attacked by foreigners.

A German Shepherd sleeping with a Husky
A German Shepherd sleeping with a Husky

3: Sleeping While Curled UP Like a Ball

Dogs stay warm by curling up in a ball shape when sleeping, especially during the winter season. They will sleep in this position in their favorite area or their heated house for extra comfort.

4: Resting on Their Tummy

German Shepherd dogs sleep in this position because it is the most natural style to them. In addition, it enables them to remain awake while nodding off.

5: Resting With their Tail Around the Nose

During colder winter months, the German Shepherd’s snout is the most exposed part of his body. Placing their tail around their nose indicates that they are attempting to shield their noses from severe conditions such as snow, wind, and rain.

6: Resting on their Sides

This is the most common resting position for German shepherds. They prefer to rest on their sides so that their legs can stretch and relax. Furthermore, resting on their sides means they are comfortable in their surroundings.

A German Shepherd resting on his side
A German Shepherd resting on his side

7: Sleeping Outside During the Winter

Working German Shepherds usually have a broader coat, so it’s common to find them resting outside during winter. They have the natural instinct to guard their area against foes or outsiders.

Common German Shepherd Sleeping Difficulties

Sleep, as beautiful as it is, does not occur naturally for all dogs. Here are some sleep difficulties that German Shepherd dogs might encounter:


Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes difficulty in falling and remaining asleep. Health concerns are most likely to blame in German Shepherd Dogs. Flea infestation, persistent discomfort, tension, worry, and pent-up energy are all possible causes. Insomnia can also be caused by a German Shepherd Peeing while resting. It is particularly prevalent in senior dogs and puppies. Fortunately, combining adequate exercise with medication that addresses the underlying issues can cure insomnia.


This is a medical problem in which German Shepherds fall on their side and rest after engaging in vigorous activity or feeling overly happy. German Shepherds suffering from narcolepsy easily doze off. This disorder is neither painful nor dangerous. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for narcolepsy.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disease that is prone in Obese German Shephards. It is distinguished by airway constriction, which causes your sleeping dog to be disturbed by his snores. Sleep apnea in German Shephard typically causes them to wake up sluggish and weary. If that’s the case with your dog, you may try steam inhalation therapy, weight loss, and surgery to treat such a condition.

Memory Loss Behavior

Most dog breeds are physically active even while asleep. Some German Shepherds may exhibit innocuous behavior such as twitching. In extreme circumstances, they might be violent, running wild, or attacking objects. However, they normally wake up normal and unconcerned about what they did while asleep. Clonazepam, a medication prescribed by veterinarians, may be used to reduce the severity of the attacks.

Bottom Line

One of the essential needs for German Shepherd dogs is sleep. It has a significant impact on their overall health. In addition, their behavior is frequently influenced by the amount of rest they get. Sleep-deprived German Shepherd dogs tend to become aggressive, angry, and more prone to diseases. Overall, your dogs’ feelings will be influenced significantly by their sleeping pattern, how they move or twitch, and how long they take rest.

Moreover, a dog’s behavior clearly explains his health status. If you notice that your pup’s behavior has suddenly changed, you are advised to take your German Shepherd to a veterinarian for medical examination. Always give your dog ample time to rest to improve his health and task performance. On the flip side, if your GS dog sleeps for overly long hours, consult your vet for a professional diagnosis.

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