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How Much Sleep Does a German Shepherd Need a Day? Facts & FAQs

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By Nicole Cosgrove

German Shepherd asleep

German Shepherds are a beloved dog breed that’s suited for everything from herding sheep to police and military work to a loyal family guardian. Constantly alert and energetic, the German Shepherd may seem like a breed that needs tons of exercise and activity, but this is not necessarily true.

In fact, a healthy adult German Shepherd will sleep for 12 to 14 hours a day. Puppies are likely to sleep even more since they tire themselves out with bursts of play and energy. Find out more about how much sleep a German Shepherd needs for each stage of its life and see if this dog is a good choice for your family.

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How Much Do German Shepherd Puppies Sleep?

As mentioned, German Shepherd puppies have short bursts of energy followed by long, restful naps. When playing or on a walk, it may seem like your puppy has a limitless store of excitement. Once they wear out, however, they tend to fall into a deep sleep—and may even snore!

On average, a German Shepherd puppy will sleep between 15 and 20 hours each day. During growth periods, they may only get up to eat or go for a walk.

How Long Do German Shepherds Sleep?

Once fully grown, a German Shepherd will sleep around 12 or 14 hours a day. Though this may seem like a lot, it’s not a continuous, restful sleep like a human’s 8 hours a night. German Shepherds will take naps throughout the day, then sleep while their human sleeps for 6 or 8 hours.

If you find that your German Shepherd doesn’t sleep that much, or isn’t sleeping through the night, it may not be getting enough enrichment during the day. A bored or frustrated dog that isn’t getting its energy out is more likely to be restless at night.

You can ensure your German Shepherd gets adequate exercise by taking it for long walks or hikes, playing fetch, or engaging it with agility workouts and puzzle toys. German Shepherds are intelligent dogs and need mental and physical stimulation for health and happiness.

German Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breed Info
Image Credit: vivros62, Pixabay

What If My German Shepherd Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep?

German Shepherds are naturally alert and protective, making them ideal for farm, police, military, and guard work. Unfortunately, this alertness can impact your dog’s ability to get restful sleep if it’s always on guard.

If you live in a busy area, you may want to provide your German Shepherd with a dark, quiet room to sleep in. If you use a crate or kennel, you can drape a blanket over it to shut out some light and sound for restful sleep. This is especially helpful with young puppies that may experience separation anxiety.

Cars, buzzing insects, appliances, televisions, and cell phones can all make noises that put your dog on alert. If you find that there are too many distractions that impact your dog’s sleep, especially with an outdoor dog, you can get a thick, wooden, sound-insulated kennel.

How Much Does a Senior German Shepherd Sleep?

German Shepherds usually live between 9 and 13 years. When they reach the ages of 7–9, they’re considered senior dogs, even if they still act like puppies. During this stage, your German Shepherd may sleep a bit more than the expected 12 or 14 hours a day, just like an older human.

Along with the change in sleep patterns, your senior German Shepherd may show some graying around the eyes and muzzle, less interest in playing, and less energy for walks and hikes. If this happens, reduce your pet’s activity level and let them enjoy their well-earned rest.

German Shepherd Sleeping Too Much

As we’ve discussed, German Shepherds take short naps during the day and usually sleep through the night with their owners. If your German Shepherd is sleeping more than 14 hours as an adult, should you be worried?

In some cases, longer sleep or more frequent sleep could indicate that your dog is experiencing a minor illness. Sleep is an important part of recovery and allows the immune system to fight illness, so it’s best to let your dog rest.

If your German Shepherd is sleeping excessively for several weeks, however, you may want to take it to the vet for a checkup. Conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism, Lyme disease, and arthritis can lead to increased sleep and may require treatment.

german shepherd sleeping in the streets
Image Credit: Eric1964, Pixabay

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How much sleep does a German Shepherd need in a day? While there’s no standard amount, most German Shepherds will sleep 15 to 20 hours a day as a puppy, 12 to 14 hours a day as an adult, and over 14 hours a day as a senior. The key to knowing if your German Shepherd’s sleep pattern is normal is by paying attention to how often it sleeps. This way, you’ll be able to spot changes in the pattern quickly and address them to keep your pup happy and healthy.

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Featured Image Credit: GoranH, Pixabay

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