Why Do Dachshunds Sleep on Their Backs? 4 Main Causes

Dachshunds have many funny sleeping habits, some of which are highly unusual. You may have seen your dog stretch out on its back, flop up against a cushion, put all fours in the air, and dive into a deep sleep. If you find this behavior comical or concerning, you might be wondering, “Why do Dachshunds sleep on their backs?

Dachshunds sleep on their backs to relax their long spines that are prone to aches. The sleeping position also helps to regulate body temperature and cool them down. Most importantly, sleeping with a fully exposed belly signifies your dog feels comfortable and safe.

Keep reading to learn more about this awkward sleeping position. We’ll also explain the reasons behind other awkward Dachshund sleeping preferences, like sleeping while curled or under a blanket.

Why Do Dachshunds Sleep on Their Backs? 4 Main Reasons

Seeing your furry friend fall into a deep sleep with its paws in the air is intriguing. The behavior is particularly puzzling for a first-time Dachshund parent who has never seen a dog assume this unusual sleeping position.

If the question “Why do Dachshunds sleep on their backs?” has been bothering you, here are the four main reasons: 

1. To Regulate Their Body Temperatures

Why do dachshunds sleep on their backs

During the hot summer months, your Dachshie might be in danger of overheating. Keeping your home’s temperature cool and providing plenty of safe drinking water is vital. 

However, your dog might also take matters into its own paws and sleep on its back to help regulate body heat.

The fur around the belly is thinner, allowing better airflow to help your Dachshund cool down. Moreover, dogs sweat mainly through their paw pads. Therefore, raising their legs in the air helps them sweat more effectively and dispel body heat into the air.

Likewise, lying on the back and exposing the tummy can prove helpful if your Dachshund is feeling cold. It only needs to find a cozy sleeping spot next to a window where it can soak up heat from the sun.

Find Out: What Is an Isabella Dachshund? The Ultimate Guide

2. To Stretch Their Backs

Another potential reason behind your furry friend sleeping on its back is because it wants to stretch its spine. 

Dachshunds have long, low-slung bodies, and sleeping on their backs is arguably more comfortable. 

You may notice your dog stretch out and flip on its back after lying on its side for a while. Although the position is awkward, it’s comfortable because it allows all the back muscles to relax

Moreover, raising the paws offers an effective way to relieve excess pressure from aching joints.

3. To Indicate a Fully Relaxed State

There are good reasons to feel flattered if you see your Dachshund sleeping on its back. This implies  it’s physically and mentally relaxed without a care in the world. 

A Dachshie’s belly is one of its most vulnerable parts. If a badger attacked, it could easily kill it by puncturing its exposed belly. Your sausage dog may not have a history of hunting badgers, but its hunting instincts are still present. 

If your pet voluntarily rolls over and lies on its back in your presence, you make it feel happy and secure. It sleeps in this vulnerable position because it trusts you with its life

4. To Attract Their Owners’ Attention

Dachshunds are affectionate dogs that love spending time with their pack members. If your dog loves good belly rubs, it may assume this sleeping position to get your attention. It will flop down next to you on the sofa and roll over to invite you to rub its belly.

Still, you know your pet best and must first read its body language. Dachshies are notorious for being snappy, and touching their bellies when they want to relax may earn you a bite scar.

Are Dogs Happy When They Sleep on Their Back?

Dogs are generally happy when they sleep on their backs. The paw-up position helps them relax their spines, cool their bodies, and possibly get a good belly rub. It can also indicate fear or other health issues like arthritis or Degenerative joint disease (DJD).

In this section, we will explore the body language cues that can help you decipher whether your dog is happy when sleeping on its back. Keep reading!

Most dogs sleep on their backs because they find themselves too comfortable to flip over after doing a happy roll. They discover that the paw-up position relaxes their spines, and splaying their hips wide relieves pressure from their joints. 

Often, dogs are happy sleeping on their backs. This is especially true if they find their living space safe and secure. A happy dog sleeping with its paws up will be completely relaxed and carefree.

Unfortunately, back sleeping can also indicate your Dachshund is afraid or in pain.

If your dog sleeps on its back because of fear, it will barely go into a deep sleep. This position sends the message “I surrender” to something or someone that makes it anxious. 

Pain issues caused by health concerns like arthritis or Degenerative joint disease (DJD) can also make sleeping on the side or curling up too uncomfortable.

If your dog is afraid or in pain, it may also show the following body language cues:

  • Obvious discomfort and restlessness
  • A stiff jaw, face, or body
  • Constant yawning or lip licking

If you notice any concerning signs related to your dog’s sleeping position, it’s best to consult a vet for personalized guidance.

Why Do Dachshunds Sleep Curled Up?

Dachshunds sleep curled up to conserve body heat once the temperatures start dipping. The fetal position also helps protect vulnerable organs from potential predators. It’s the most intuitive sleeping position because it allows the dog to spring on its feet at a moment’s notice.

The following are the main reasons Dachshunds sleep curled up:

The Dachshund Wants to Keep Warm

If your dog likes curling up in a tight ball when sleeping, it probably wants to conserve heat. 

The nose-to-tail sleeping position can keep your furry friend toasty, especially if it curls up next to you or another pet.

Protecting Its Vital Organs

Pampered dachshunds don’t need to protect their vital organs when sleeping in their homes. Sleeping in the nose-to-tail position is merely an instinctive behavior that ascertains maximum chances of survival in the wild. It ensures the belly is well protected, and your dog can quickly get on its feet if need be.

Why Do Dachshunds Like to Sleep Under Blankets?

Dachshund sleeping under a blanket

Dachshunds like to sleep under blankets because they love burrowing. The behavior can be linked to their ancestry when they were avid hunters of burrowing animals like badgers. Their tunneling instincts make them feel cozy when snuggled under a warm blanket.

Dachshunds were originally bred to enter tunnels and flush out burrowing creatures like rabbits and badgers. This breeding tactic has predisposed them to sleeping under blankets.

Although the days of hunting are long gone, Dachshunds still retain some of their hunting instincts. They find sleeping “burrito style” quite attractive because they have a natural affinity for digging and burrowing.

Other reasons for burrowing or sleeping under a blanket include:

  • Sleeping under a blanket gives the dog a sense of safety and security
  • Snuggling up under a blanket feels warm and comfortable

Final Thoughts

Although awkward, it’s common for Dachshunds to sleep on their backs. Puppies, adults, and seniors can all assume extra-cozy sleeping positions like retired folks on well-deserved vacations. They do this to stretch their backs and relax after a long day of acting needy and following you like a shadow.

If your Dachshund doesn’t sleep on its back, this doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel secure in your home.

Like humans, dogs have sleeping position preferences. Some prefer sleeping on their side, in a sprawled-out position, when resting on frog legs, or with their bodies coiled into an almost perfect sphere.

Leave a Comment