Are Dogs Nocturnal? 2022 A Complete Guide

Are dogs nocturnal? Is it true that dogs are nocturnal? Many pet parents are curious about their dog’s sleeping habits, especially since they appear to sleep with their eyes closed for long periods! Depending on the time of day when they are most active, animals can be nocturnal or diurnal.

Some people wonder if their dog is nocturnal because they spend so much of the day sleeping (which is great if you bought one of the best dog beds because it means you’re getting your money’s worth!).

This question has a simple answer: no. The majority of dogs are not nocturnal. Our pets’ sleeping habits aren’t as straightforward as these nocturnal or diurnal classifications suggest. Pets have adapted their sleeping habits to their owners’ schedules. Let’s look at what it means to be nocturnal and how dogs sleep to understand this complex question better.

Are dogs diurnal or nocturnal?

Dogs Nocturnal

Dogs aren’t nocturnal, although they could be depending on their environment, being active only at night or only at dawn and dusk. Like cats and other pets, dogs adapt to their owners’ sleeping schedules and thus sleep at night and are active during the day in unison with humans. So if you – like most people – are awake during the day and sleep at night, your canine friend will most likely adapt to your schedule and become a diurnal creature.

If your dog does start copying your schedule, great – your sleep probably won’t be disturbed by rituals of nighttime barking! However, something may not be suitable if your dog seems to be a night owl – even though you follow a perfectly traditional diurnal sleep pattern.

Dog’s Sleeping Routines

A dog is a creature who follows its routine. They will appreciate any structure you can provide. It gives them the impression that they are in control rather than being led around aimlessly day after day.

Your dog will feel more secure if you stick to a schedule. This includes establishing a sleeping schedule. You’ll notice that dogs sleep longer than humans, so they’re not just sleeping at night. Puppies require up to 19 hours of sleep per day. They sleep 12 to 14 hours per day. As a result, they can easily sleep all night and still be content to take shorter naps during the day. This pattern of behavior is especially evident in dogs who receive adequate exercise.

It’s worth noting that dogs and humans do not sleep in the same way. Humans cycle in and out of REM sleep throughout the night, sleeping deeply every couple of hours. Our bodies need REM sleep to repair themselves, and our minds need it to store helpful information and memories from the day before. Dogs never enter the REM sleep cycle. They are always on the lookout and only sleep lightly. Because of this lighter sleep, some researchers believe that dogs sleep for much longer than humans.

For dogs, this sleeping pattern is a survival instinct. Humans have been protected by secure structures such as homes for thousands of years. We have evolved away from the need to be constantly alert, and we can now get the same quality of sleep in less time, allowing us to stay awake for more extended periods of time. It’s critical to watch your dog’s sleeping habits because shifts in their usual patterns can indicate health problems. They usually do them only when in pain or discomfort, as they prefer to stick to their routine.

What dog breeds are nocturnal?

Are Dogs Nocturnal

Some dogs, particularly feral dogs, act like nocturnal animals. Feral dogs are wild dogs, and wild dogs have little contact with humans in general. As a result, they can be highly active at night and in the early mornings and evenings. Crepuscular animals are those that behave in this manner. They are most active in the early morning or late evening light.

Here is a shortlist of dog breeds that prefer to stay awake at night and while you sleep. 

Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan mastiffs are giant guard dogs, especially for guarding sheep against giant predators like wolves, leopards, bears, and tigers! These big furry dogs retain their natural protective instinct for their human friends and can stay awake all through the night to make sure.

The Great Pyrenees

The North American Great Pyrenees is, also known as Pyrenean Mountain Dogs, are perhaps the best-known nocturnal dog breeds. They are naturally nocturnal. Pyrs are enormous dogs that have their origin around the Pyrenees Mountains that border Spain and France. Like the Tibetan mastiff and the Anatolian shepherd, the Great Pyrenees were initially bred to guard sheep against predators like wolves. They still retain that protective instinct and can be aggressive towards any person or animal they perceive as a threat to their “flock.”

The Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian shepherds are a special Turkish breed native to the Anatolia region of Turkey. They are powerful and loyal livestock guardian dogs. Anatolian shepherds are bred to stay awake at night guarding livestock while the shepherds sleep.

Why do dogs wake up at night?

Then, when it comes to the sleeping behavior of dogs, we can observe that they have an irregular sleeping pattern. Most of the time, we can witness that they wake up several times at night and fall asleep again. This is another factor that some tend to question, are dogs nocturnal. However, by following their owner’s sleeping schedule, dogs sleep at night most of the time.

There are several reasons for dogs to wake up at night. Here are some common reasons.

Too much sleep during the daytime

If your dog has a habit of sleeping too much in the daytime, he may wake up at night. Due to excess sleep in the daytime, it may not feel sleepy, and it can interrupt the nighttime of your dog and you.

Health matters

Health issues that irritate a dog’s sleep at night include diabetes, kidney disease, gastrointestinal diseases, urinary tract infections, cognitive dysfunction, inflammation, and cancer. Dogs may need several bathroom breaks due to these health matters, and they may wake up due to the pain they face with the diseases. So, you need to identify the symptoms and take the dog to a veterinarian.

Loneliness at daytime 

When owners go to work leaving the dog alone, and no one is at the house during the daytime, dogs feel lonely and bored. This loneliness and inactivity in the daytime may lead them to be active at night while all the family members are at home. With this, they begin to wake up several times at night and can irritate you.

The stress of releasing energy

Dogs require sufficient exercise and physical activity to expend the excess energy stored in their bodies. They must be active and occupied with activities that impact their health. When dogs are not given enough physical activities, they become stressed and wake up several times during the night.

Inability to adapt owner’s sleeping schedule

Some dogs have nocturnal nature, and therefore they prefer to be active at night. When the dog owner fails to adapt his dog into his sleeping schedule, the dog tends to wake up at night. So owners have to make sure to practice their sleeping schedule with their dog.


Dogs do not have a nocturnal or diurnal cycle. “Crepuscular” is the closest word to describe them in their natural or more wild state. They are, however, social sleepers who will gladly adapt to their owner’s sleep schedule as long as they are given enough exercise. Look into any possible health conditions or supplement their exercise routines if you have an adult dog who no longer wants to sleep through the night or take their regular daytime naps.

4 Amazing things you never knew about dogs!

Some experts believe that dogs use their extraordinary sense of smell to tell time. They claim that dogs can “smell time.” Apart from telling the time with their noses, they are capable of extraordinary feats. Here are four amazing things that dogs can do that you probably didn’t know about.

  1. A dog’s urine can corrode metal.
  2. Dogs can be trained to smell cancer.
  3. Dogs like to poop in alignment with the earth’s magnetic field. They will try to make sure they poop in a North-South axis rather than an east-west axis.
  4. All dogs have a unique nose print.

Should Dogs Have A Sleep Schedule?

 Dogs aren’t as strictly diurnal as humans, but they should have a nighttime schedule. Two reasons for this are as follows: If your dog sleeps at night, they won’t be tempted to start to bark or otherwise interrupt your sleep. If your dog sleeps at night, they will realign their needs by your daily routine. They won’t demand food or expect bathroom breaks when you are asleep.

Establishing a sleeping schedule in dogs isn’t too tricky. To do this, you should:

Avoid giving your dog food or water a few hours before sleep to prevent the need for bathroom breaks at night. Avoid exciting your dog before bed with games or exercise. Before going to bed, give your dog the last potty break of the day – to ensure that they don’t feel the urge at night.

But if you have a puppy, do keep in mind that puppies under the age of 3-4 months often need to go out at least once during the night. You may set the alarm 6 hours after the last bathroom break to take your puppy out again to avoid accidents.

Perform crate training to make your dog used to nighttime rest. When bedtime, put your dog into a crate filled with blankets for a cozy night. You may give your small dog treats as well to reinforce them positively.

Give your dog a potty break once you get up in the morning.


Are humans nocturnal?
Humans are diurnal, meaning we work and sleep at night during the day. In animals, however, diurnalism is the exception rather than the norm. The mammalian predecessors’ therapsids were nocturnal at 250-230 million years ago and remained so until the dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago.
Are wild dogs nocturnal?
Wild dogs are nocturnal hunters. Therefore they won’t be seen during the day unless food is minimal. As a result, determining the severity of your wild dog issue without thorough monitoring might be difficult.
Can dogs see at night?
Dog eyes have more rods than human eyes, which allows them to see far better at night. In dogs, the tapetum lucidum, a layer of eye tissue lacking in humans, reflects light into the retina. This further enhances dogs’ night vision, explaining why their eyes gleam in the dark.
How long do dogs sleep at night?
The majority of a dog’s sleep occurs at night, with the remainder occurring during the day. A typical dog sleeps nine hours at night and three hours during the day. This implies that people may spend each night with their dogs.
Why do dogs sleep so much?
What Is the Definition of a Schedule? Dogs spend up to half of their days sleeping, 30% of their days awake but relaxed, and just 20% of their days active. Older dogs need more sleep simply because they wear out more rapidly, and larger breeds, on average, spend more time sleeping.
Why do dogs sleep so much?
The sleep requirements and habits vary significantly from those of a person. Dogs sleep longer than humans, but they spend less time in deep slumber, making them simple to wake up and ready to react to a danger that does not exist.

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