How Much Sleep Should A German Shepherd Have?

Just like humans, dogs need time to sleep and rest. You may have owned a German shepherd recently and you are yet to learn its sleeping patters. It is a bit worrying when you are suspicious that your lovely pet is oversleeping or may not be getting enough sleep. If you have found yourself in this situation, take time to go through this article and understand more about German Shepherds sleeping patterns.

Back to our question; How much sleep a German shepherd needs? For a German Shepherd to Have Enough Sleep, he should sleep for a minimum of 12 hours and a maximum 14 hours in a day. Amazingly, this may change depending on several other factors. German Shepherds with different lifestyles have different sleeping patterns. At the same time, you need to know that healthy and active German Shepherds sleep less compared to puppies and old or sick ones.

If you are a dog owner and your ‘German Bull’ is sleeping within this range, you have nothing to wary about. Let’s look at the general sleeping patterns in a German Shepherd.

General Sleeping Patterns in German Shepherds

Though we have seen that these dogs sleep for 12-14 hours daily, the sleeping time is subject to the dog’s lifestyle. The German Shepherds are well known for their roles as protectors. They efficiently serve as watchdogs in sheep herds and other protection operations. The military uses them for scouting, bomb detection, apprehension as well as determining potential ambushers.

A purebred German Shepherd dog has unique characteristics ranging from self-assurance, obedience, highly fierce, confidence, and intelligent. They adapt to new working tricks easier than most dog breeds. Capable of working vigorously, German Shepherds are ideal work dogs.

The funniest thing about this breed of dogs is that they don’t have a very specific sleeping pattern. They are known to take naps throughout the day. For those in specialized work, part of their sleeping time is spent training them as service dogs.

An active dog sleeps for less hours than a dog that is there only to guard your home. German Shepherds working in watch operations or with military officers, due to their line of work sleep for a lesser duration. This is because such work requires much concentration, especially in rescue and search operations.

To avoid stressing a dog and frustrating it, it’s good to train it as work dog while young. This ensures that you don’t interrupt its lifestyle. Sometimes, they are required to work for several days without little or without sleep. They take up their responsibilities any time they are wanted just like the soldiers who work with them. For dogs that work in less intense lifestyles like in a ranch or farms, dogs are given more time to sleep. They usually develop a regular sleeping schedule.

Is Your German Shepherd Sleeping Too Little?

Are you worried that your German Shepherd is sleeping for lesser hours than the normal 12-14 hours? There must be a reason or cause for this abnormality. Your dog may be having a lot of energy in him and it only requires regular exercise to stabilize.

If the sleeping problem persists after exercising your dog for several days, consult your veterinarian. Conditions such as arthritis or injuries make sleeping painful and they require a profession to treat. Whenever you notice any sleeping disorders in your dog consult the veterinarian for advice.

Is Your German Shepherd Oversleeping?

As some sleepless, others are sleeping for more than 16 hours daily. Though we may consider 15 hours normal, sleeping beyond this time indicates something wrong. Your dog could be sick and therefore rests more battling the illness. He could also be having less energy to engage in active activities due to old age. If your dog is young or energetic but still oversleeps check with a professional vet.

A good way to ensure they don’t oversleep is setting up a regular for your household. The dog will follow this schedule as time goes. Also, please keep your dog engaged with various activities such as a walk to the park to keep him awake.

Sleep Training

Depending on why you acquired your German Shepherd, you may need to train it to adapt to specific sleeping pattern. If you need him to sleep for an average duration, you must train him to get up at a certain time and sleep at a fixed time of the day.

Another way to ensure your pet’s comfort and enough sleep, is buying a German Shepherd bed for him. Also, you can keep your German Shepherd engaged in fun activities to help reduce impromptu sleeping during day time.

You can engage your dog in activities like scavenging games, playing with toys, and taking him for runs or walks. Such activities help to keep the dog awake and active. Allowing your German Shepherd to volunteer as the therapy dog is another ideal way of keeping him attentive, watchful, and awake.

In case your dog oversleeps, you need to contact your vet to correct the behavior. You will also realize that very energetic dogs will sleep less. If you experience this, give your pet at least two hours to exercise on daily basis. Exercising regularizes the dog’s sleeping time.

German Shepherd Sleep Problems

Unknown to many, your dog’s sleep quality affects his state of mind. This may seem a joke but it is a proven fact. Some sleeping issues have very low impact that we can ignore the while some are serious and require an expert. Let’s have a look at some of the main sleep disorders in your German Shepherd.


This disorder in German Shepherd dogs is caused by other health issues. Chronic pain, anxiety, flea infection, stress, and pent-up energy are the most notorious causes of insomnia in dogs. Puppies and old dogs suffer from insomnia because of peeing while sleeping. Medication together with proper and regular exercising treats the causes of insomnia.


When your dog gets over-excited, it may collapse sideways and immediately fall asleep. At the same time, it can collapse after a heavy physical exercise. Either of the two, we refer to the disorder as narcolepsy. If you notice your German Shepherd having a deep sleep, there is a chance of him having this disorder. This disease is not a wary as it causes no pain to your carnassial friend. Only the frequency and severity of attacks is manageable but this disease is not curable.

REM Behavior Disorder

Though associated with a “dreaming dog’, this disorder is not very common. Some German shepherds may be physically active in their sleep. Dogs may tend to twitch while asleep although some get violent and attack objects. Vets usually prescribe a drug called Clonazepam to reduce such activities when your dog is sleeping.

Sleep Apnea

This disorder is common among obese German Shepherds. A sleeping dog snores loudly to the extent of being frightened by his snores. Obese German Shepherds usually have narrowed airways which makes them to snore. A dog with this disorder will wake up tired and inactive. Remedies such as surgery and inhaling therapy as well as weight loss exercises are good to contain this disorder. However, severe conditions require urgent medical attention for specialized treatment.

Understanding Various German Shepherd’s Sleep Positions

We all love to see our German Shepherds in a dream world. However, we also need to understand what every sleeping position means for your lovely pet.

Sleeping upside down

Probably, you bought your German Shepherd simply as pet or as a protective dog. If you find him sleeping upside down, it means that he feels safe. It’s also a way of submitting to their owners. The German Shepherds feel relaxed when sleeping on their back. This dog breed also sleep on this position to cool down especially after a rigorous exercise.

Sleeping in a group and near the owner

Though someone may think that they love to warm each other, this is not the reason. German Shepherds also believe ‘there is safety in numbers.’ Your dogs feel safe sleeping in a group since the enemy is unlikely to attack them. They also love to sleep around their owner for safety and protection.

Sleeping on the side

Whenever German Shepherds want to relax their legs, they will sleep on this position. It’s the most common Shepherd’s sleeping position. This sleeping position means that your dog is feeling safe with its environment.

Sleeping curled up like a ball!

Any dog feels warm if it sleeps curled up like a ball. Dogs usually sleep in this position during colder months to stay warm.

Sleeping with their tail wrapped over its nose

The German Shepherd wraps the tail over his nose to protect it from unfriendly elements like snow, rain, and wind. This is more evident during winters.

Sleeping on its front

This natural sleeping position for German Shepherds allows them to stay alert while sleeping.


A German Shepherd of any age requires time to sleep. Whether it’s a puppy or a senior, they need to have enough sleep. Hence, you have to learn their sleeping habits. With this information, you are now able to live perfectly with your pet.

You can easily ascertain an abnormality in your dog’s sleeping patterns. You will also identify different disorders and respond to them appropriately. It’s good to keep your dog healthy and energetic for super performance.

My hope is that the information on this article helped you out! Ensure you don’t frustrate you pet by denying him adequate sleep. Allow them to sleep more than you do!

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