Yes. Big dogs sleep more than little dogs.
But the amount that a dog sleeps can vary greatly by many factors other than the size of the dog. This can include the dog’s age, breed, type of sleep environment, and overall health.
If your big dog seems to sleep a lot this isn’t unusual. Humans only need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day, but big dogs can sleep twice that much. They can sleep up to 18 hours a day!
Not all large-breed dogs sleep this much. Herding dogs are well known for running nearly nonstop. But most large dogs will sleep at least 14 hours a day.
So if your dog is lazing around a lot, it’s probably not a sign that anything is wrong unless they also have had a dramatic shift in energy, sleep levels, or aren’t eating or drinking normally. Big dogs just sleep a lot.
Little dogs sleep approximately 14 to 16 hours a day. They don’t sleep as much as big dogs, but they do sleep quite a bit compared to humans.
Some small dogs, like Shih Tzus, are true couch potatoes and will be happy to sleep or lay around and observe most of the day.
Very big dogs like St. Bernards and Mastiffs seem to sleep the most out of any dog breed. But in general large dogs need more sleep than little dogs.
There isn’t a lot of study on why big dogs tend to sleep more. The reason that vets think this happens is that large dogs require more metabolic energy for their bodies and they need more sleep to recover from exercise and activity.
Different dog breeds have different metabolism needs and some breeds are sleepier and calmer than others.
Breeds that sleep a lot include:
- Great Danes
- Saint Bernards
- Basset Hounds
- Scottish Deerhound
- Shih Tzu
If you want a dog for an apartment or that’s good for city living, then getting a dog that is calm and sleeps a lot can be a good idea.
Besides the size of the dog, many other factors influence sleep. These include age, breed, environment, and more.
Age: Age is one of the most important factors that determine how much sleep your dog will need.
Typically, a puppy will need 18 to 20 hours of sleep a day. When dogs are adults they will usually need 8 to 18 hours of sleep a day. Senior dogs will need 18 to 20 hours of sleep a day.
This change in sleep needs is a normal life cycle pattern for dogs and nothing to be concerned about in most cases.
Breed: The breed of your dog can also influence how much sleep they will need. Giant breed dogs often need more sleep and dogs that have been bred to sit around and look pretty, like Shih Tzus, also often sleep more than average.
Consult with your breeder or veterinarian to see how much sleep they think your dog will need.
REM: Because dogs don’t sleep as deeply as humans, they don’t get as much REM (rapid eye movement) rest. That means that they will nap more and be “ready for action” quickly, rather than sleeping for long stretches at one time.
This is normal, especially during the daytime hours.
Exercise: Most dogs need a significant amount of exercise. If you want your dog to sleep well at night make sure they get adequate activity during the day by taking it for a walk, playing catch, or going to a dog park..
Remember, your dog will sleep more and sleep better if it is exercised vigorously.
Environment: Loud noises like fireworks can disrupt a dog’s sleep schedule and make them anxious. Keeping a consistent environment for your dog can help them wind down at night and get enough rest.
Health: If your dog starts suddenly sleeping more than usual or not sleeping as much as normal it can be an indicator of health issues. Make sure you see your vet right away.
There are several ways that you can help your dog sleep well. It doesn’t take a lot, but a few small adjustments can make a big difference.
- Find your dog a quiet environment to sleep in
- Buy a dog bed that is appropriate for the size of your dog
- Keep humans that are awake out of the area your dog sleeps in
- Keep your dog well exercised. A daily walk can make a big difference.
If your dog alters their sleeping patterns in any significant way then you should consult a vet. This can be an indication of bigger health problems.