Dog sleeping positions: do they mean anything?

Our dogs’ quirky behaviour can provide endless amusement. And, in our opinion, there’s nothing quite as funny as dog sleeping positions! The office dogs are often found in strange positions while they catch forty winks…

But here’s the thing: all those curious sleeping positions have different meanings. In this post, we’ll tell you all about them.

Why do dogs have such funny sleeping positions?

It’s perfectly normal for dogs to shift and change sleeping positions often, just like us. Factors like temperature, comfort, personal preference, connection with other pets and people, and feeling secure can all impact why — or how often — they move, and the positions they choose.

A-Z of dog sleeping positions

The lion

An all-time classic, this pose (which looks like sphinx pose in yoga) allows your dog to rest and be ready to move if needed. You may see your dog do this in a new environment or somewhere that’s less familiar to them, like a pub or cafe. 

Norwegian Buhund lying down in a field, happy after exploring and sniffing
The side flop

Another popular choice! This is where your dog lies on their side, almost like a seal. This pose shows your dog feels safe and relaxed — they’re leaving their belly exposed, which would be a risk for wild animals.

Rescue dog asleep in the office, head resting of the bottom of a chair and flopped on their side
The superhero 

While this could mean your dog is preparing to don their cape and clean up Gotham City, it’s usually not the case. Otherwise known as “the sploot”, it’s actually a common pose in puppies, who like to have their front and back legs stretched out. This shows they’re tired, but ready to play once they’ve recharged.

Jack Russell Staffy cross splooting under sofa
The croissant 

Sometimes known as the doughnut pose — or by the name of any circular sweet treat — this cosy, curled up position has a couple of different meanings. If your dog’s in a familiar place, it probably means that they’re looking to snuggle up and get warm and cosy. But it’s also a pose that’s common in stray dogs or those in new surroundings, where it can mean they’re curling up to protect themselves.

Dachshund curled up asleep in a croissant shape
Belly down

This iconic pose is a big hit with dogs looking to stay cool in the summer months, particularly on tiled floors or a patch of cool concrete. It does what it says on the tin, belly flat, sometimes head flat too. For bonus points, some dogs combine it with legs splooted for the ultimate chillout position.

White Pomeranian lying on tiled floor
Cosy club

If your dog’s burrowing under things — blankets, cushions, rugs — they’re probably feeling a little cold. However, they might also be looking for comfort or protection. This is common in some breeds, like dachshunds, so you may want to give them a reassuring cuddle.

Miniature Poodle asleep on a bed, partially burrowed under blanket
Belly to the sky

Floppy paws and a belly up – ripe for the rubbing. This pose has it all. It also shows your dog’s in a comfortable, familiar place where they feel safe to expose themselves, and enjoy optimal air flow to all their body parts.

Rescue dog sleeping with belly upwards on wooden floor
Close contact

Cuddling up with another dog, cat or person — whether it’s on top of them or back to back — is a sign of affection and bonding. It shows that your dog’s totally comfortable with their buddy and looking to spread some love.

Other funny things dogs do in their sleep


It’s true — dogs snore, just like us. Snoring is more common in breeds with known breathing issues, like brachycephalic dogs such as pugs and bulldogs. Overweight dogs are also more likely to snore. So, although it may be distracting, it’s not something to be concerned about.

If your dog’s snoring seems excessive, or they only seem to fall asleep properly when their head and neck are raised, it’s a good idea to speak with your vet.


Again, this is totally normal behaviour. You might not be aware of it, but you’re probably a bit twitchy in your sleep, too!


Yep, dogs are big dreamers. If you’re curious to learn more, check out our blog: Do dogs dream?

Barking, growling and other noises 

Just like humans that talk in their sleep, dogs are known to have a night-time natter. If only we could know what they’re talking about.

Lips getting stuck on teeth

Ah, the old toothy grin. This is a particularly amusing trait of sleeping dogs and is nothing to worry about, unless they seem to be in pain. We recommend snapping a quick pic and enjoying the moment.

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1 thought on “Dog sleeping positions: do they mean anything?”

  1. I love watching my dog dream. Sometimes when she’s sleeping her tail starts wagging – clearly a good dream (we think).


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