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Why do dogs sleep curled up?

Updated on August 18, 2011

Dogs are considered to be one of the most loved pets. These animals are constantly petted, hugged and kissed. In return these affectionate animals would show steadfast loyalty and devotion. Because of the affection we have for these pets it would not be surprising for an owner to observe the actions of the pet. Have you seen how your pet sleeps? Have you ever wondered why they assume a particular sleeping position?

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The sleeping habit of a dog

Dogs have a reputation for being great sleepers. But if you think that dogs would instantly sleep anywhere, you cannot be more wrong. When it comes to sleeping, these animals are known to have fastidious habits. In the wild, dogs would find a most secure place to bed down. To make the bed comfortable, the vegetation will be tamped down. After making the bed, the dog will not lie down at once. The dog will circle the bed several times purportedly to make sure that no sharp objects will hurt the dog. The dog is also making sure that no insects or snakes are in the bed.

The sleeping positions of a dog

A sleeping dog may be all stretched out to occupy the sleeping area. The dog may sleep on its back. Curled up is the most common sleeping position of our canine friends.

Curled for warmth

Outside dogs are commonly seen sleeping curled up. This position is assumed by dogs to keep warm. Arctic dogs have to brave the extremely cold temperature. When these dogs sleep, they curl up into a ball to keep warm. The bushy tail is the dog’s very personal blanket that is used to cover the face and the nose against the elements.

For security

When a dog curls into a ball, the heart, the stomach, the throat and the other vital organs are protected by the skeleton. Dogs are intelligent animals with very high protective instincts. In this position, the dog knows that the vital organs are protected from the attacks of predators

The curled up sleeping position

Among the sleeping positions, curling up is noted to be the most uncomfortable position. Dogs in this position will not have a restful sleep given that the muscles are not relaxed. To be able to hold this position while sleeping the muscles must be all tense up. This is the sleeping position assumed by dogs in the wild. Space is premium in a dog’s den. Dogs have to curl up to accommodate other members of the pack. Domesticated dogs are provided with comfortable spacious beds but dogs cannot kick the habit of curling up.

curled up dog

Jindo sleeping curled up

Dogs sleeping after a long walk


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    • Xpheno profile image

      Xpheno 5 years ago

      Thank you for this interesting information. I just finished reading another one related to this, but this was more informative about the curled position.