How Much Do German Shepherds Sleep?

How Much Do German Shepherds Sleep?

Do you think your German shepherd dog (GSD) sleeps too much? Probably, you're worried thinking he is sick. You might be correct, but you might also be wrong! Before you make any conclusions, have you ever asked yourself, “How much do German shepherds sleep?”

A healthy adult German Shepherd should have 12 – 14 hours of sleep daily. This could change based on his age and how active he is, his diet, and the sleeping environment, among others. Also, German Shepherds love to sleep with their owners, which could help improve their sleeping patterns. 

This article discusses GSD's sleeping habits and what to do to ensure he gets enough of it. 

Continue reading.

How Much Do German Shepherds Sleep?

Introduced by Max von Stephanitz in the 1990s and having been bred from a variety of traditional German herding breeds, the GSDs are working dogs.

They have, therefore, been used to help in police work as search and rescue dogs. However, they’re also used as family dogs for companionship or guide dogs for the blind.

Photo by Thirdman

One thing, though, sets the German shepherd breed apart from others, they’re super active dogs! Commonly known as working dogs, GSDs can exercise all day without showing any signs of stress resulting from being overworked. 

Consequently, when well worked, a German shepherd dog can fall asleep quickly and enjoy as much sleep as possible as long as he is healthy and the environment is favorable (more on this later).

With this in mind, how much do German Shepherds sleep? An adult German Shepherd can sleep 12 to 14 hours a day. Sometimes, up to 15 hours. On the other hand, German shepherd puppies can sleep for 15 to 20 hours a day. 

This means that during their growth phase, there may not be many activities besides eating, walking, and sleeping in the puppies' lives. In such cases, there should be no cause for alarm.

However, if your adult male or female German shepherd dog sleeps for about 16 hours or more, there’s a cause for concern, and immediate action should be taken. And no, I don’t mean you visit a vet immediately.

Not so soon unless you’ve also noticed that your GSD has other health problems affecting his sleep patterns. 

Before rushing to the vet for a check-up, here are a few factors to consider.  

Factors That Affect German Shepherd Sleeping Habits

Like all dogs, the amount of sleep your GSD gets in a day could reduce or increase based on several things, as discussed below.

Keep reading.

  • Age
  • Vigorous exercises
  • Sickness and injury
  • Poor diet
  • Bad sleeping conditions
  • Stress

1. Vigorous Exercise

GSD are active and intelligent breeds that love working out all day. Police often use them in search and rescue missions because they can work all night without problems.

Their ability to stay active makes them the best dogs for guarding flocks. Hence, the German shepherd breed is naturally an active dog, so they should get enough exercise every day. 

How Much Do German Shepherds Sleep?

Whether you take yours for long walks, pet swimming pools, play games with him using dog pet toys, or engage him in dog races, always ensure he is super active. Not only will he get stimulated physically but also mentally. 

So, the next time you see German shepherd puppies for sale and think of buying them, remember that an active dog sleeps more, looks healthy, and is friendly, but a bored, less active dog will sleep less. A dog deprived of enough sleep could make it hard for you to sleep.  

Here are some toys you could consider buying to keep your GSD super active.

Ultra Rubber Ball Tough Dog ToyChewy
KONG SqueakAir Balls Packs Dog ToyChewy
Ethical Pet Sensory Ball Tough Dog Chew ToyChewy
JW Pet Hol-ee Roller Dog ToyChewy
goDog Dinos Frills Squeaky Plush Dog ToyAmazon
KONG – Classic Dog ToyAmazon
Nylabone Power Chew Textured Dog Chew Ring ToyAmazon

2. Sickness and Injury

We know that humans tend to sleep more when they are unwell, and so do pets. Anytime you notice a sudden change in the sleeping pattern of your GSD, evaluate his health.

Anything minor, such as a cold, could significantly affect his sleeping pattern. Also, your GSD could be suffering from Narcolepsy, which is a disorder affecting the nervous system. This disorder lowers levels of hypocretin. Consequently, the GSD’s alertness levels decrease, and his sleeping pattern changes. 

So, if after vigorous exercise with your black German Shepherd, you have noticed that he suddenly falls on his side, asleep, and his eyes moving forth and back, then it’s likely that he is suffering from Narcolepsy.

Insomnia, too, affects your GSD sleep. Both German shepherd pups and adults can have insomnia. Like humans, it means they’re struggling to sleep, hence sleeping less than they should. 

Insomnia could be due to several factors, for example, changes in diet, age, and working out schedule changes. Therefore, you must visit a vet for further medical check-ups and professional advice to know why he has insomnia.

While a sick GSD might sleep longer than expected, an injured dog might have challenges sleeping due to pain, not to mention medication also affects sleeping patterns.

So, when your GSD is unwell, you would be a great parent if you allowed him enough time to sleep.  

3. Bad Diet

If you feed your GSD human food, he will likely not benefit from it. The same applies if you give him poor-quality dog food or food that doesn’t favor his lifestyle. 

Photo by @rrinna

As I’ve said, this type of breed is naturally energetic. Men who hit the gym regularly need a balanced and healthy diet. Likewise, a GS dog needs a healthy, balanced diet to restore the lost energy.

A poor diet means that your GSD lacks some nutrients. So, ensure the dog’s meal contains enough protein. Also, please buy food specified for the German shepherd dogs.

Here’s why.

It has enough proteins as well as calories.

Depending on the day’s activities your GSD engages in, he requires approximately 1200 to 2100 calories daily and 18 to 22 percent proteins. That's why I recommend you give your German Shepherd some milk once in a while so as to benefit from its nutrients, for example, proteins.

Of course, the meal should also have other nutrients, including minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids.

As a caution, always avoid feeding your GSD a few minutes before bedtime, as this will likely cause uneasiness and make it hard to sleep. On the other hand, avoid feeding him too early as he might get hungry before you wake up and thus cause disturbance in the house.

If you notice a sudden change in the sleeping pattern after changing your dog’s diet, most likely, that’s an unsuitable diet for him.

4. Stress

Like you and me, stress affects the sleeping patterns of German shepherds. Some factors that could contribute to stress include lack of socializing from a tender age, separation from their owners, mistreatment, lack of enough food, and exposure to harsh weather.

When you expose your GSD to one or more of the above situations or any other that causes stress, he will struggle to sleep for 12 to 15 hours a day. Sometimes, you might also notice that he is restless or nervous; hence, he never gets into a restful, deep sleep. 

5. Age

Age has a direct impact on the sleeping pattern and duration of your dog. Children and older people need more time to sleep. In the exact likeness, older GSD and puppies need more time to sleep, unlike adult GSD, which need only 12-15 hours. Like puppies, an aging GSD sleeps for approximately 20 hours a day.

For puppies, long sleeping hours aid in quickening the growth and development of their bodies. Therefore, they grow into healthy and strong GSD adults when they get uninterrupted sleep. Thus, avoid disturbing them whenever they are asleep.

6. Bad Sleeping Conditions

Don’t assume that because your pet is an animal, he will be comfy sleeping on the floor. No! Like humans, your GSD wants a comfy place to sleep in. That is why buying a high-quality German shepherd sleeping bed is essential. 

Here are some great beds you could consider buying.

German Shepherd BedSeller
Calming Shag Fur Donut Cuddler Cat & Dog BedChewy
FurHaven Ultra Plush Luxe Lounger Orthopedic with removable coverChewy
Frisco Steel-Framed Elevated Dog BedChewy
FurHaven Velvet Waves Perfect Comfort Orthopedic (Sofa and Bed)Chewy
FurHaven with removal cover, Quilted Orthopedic Dog BedChewy
Frisco Dog BedChewy
FurHaven Comfy Couch Orthopedic Bolster Dog Bed (with Removable Cover)Chewy

Besides giving your buddy a comfy place, turn off the lights, as GSD loves sleeping in a dark place. Lights, like is the case for humans,  tend to make it hard for dogs to sleep. Noise, too, makes it hard for them to sleep. 

So, ensure that the environment is conducive. On the other hand, remember that the GSD loves sleeping with their owners.

How Much Do German Shepherds Sleep?
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Therefore, if your room can accommodate him, allow him to sleep by your side on his bed. 

Reasons Why Your German Shepherd Needs Enough Sleep

Several reasons explain why GSD should have sufficient sleep:

  • Enough sleep contributes to the healthy growth of the puppies.
  • Sufficient sleep aids in memory retention of the GSDs. Thus, they become quick learners.
  • They process information in their brain better and respond fast and excellently to situations.
  • Improves the GSD’s immune system. 
  • Gives him enough time to relax and heal from the day’s fatigue

Frequently Asked Questions

a) How much do German shepherds sleep when unwell?

Well, there is no specific amount of time that an unwell GSD can sleep when unwell. It all depends on how bad he feels.

His age, the diet you are giving him, and the care you accord him during the season of his sickness.

b) Why Does My Dog Sleep By The Door Of Our Bedroom?

Many reasons could make your dog sleep by the door. For example, since GSD is a protective dog, he could protect you from any known or unknown attack.

It could also be that he yearns for your companionship and thus wants to sleep close to you. 

c)  How Much Do Puppies Sleep At 16 Weeks?

At 16 weeks, puppies sleep comfortably throughout the night. During the day, they will sleep after playing. That keeps them refreshed, healthy, and alert.

Parting Shot

How much do German shepherds sleep, therefore? Adult German shepherds can sleep 12 to 14 hours a day as long as they’re in good health, the environment is conducive for sleeping, they are fed on a good diet, and they are well exercised. Sometimes, you might notice that they’re sleeping up to 15 hours. 

German puppies, though, can sleep for more than adult dogs, at least 15 to 20 hours.

Some of the issues that might affect your GSD or the puppies’ sleep include sickness, for example, Lyme disease, insomnia, diabetes, arthritis, and narcolepsy, just to mention a few.

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