Are Dogs Nocturnal Or Diurnal? Must Know Facts

Are Dogs Nocturnal Or Diurnal? Everything You Should Know

Before coming to dogs, as a human, what do you call yourself? Are you nocturnal or diurnal? I interpret myself as nocturnal since I used to sleep in the daytime and wake up at night.

Nocturnal simply means being active at night while staying inactive and sleeping in the daytime. On the other hand, diurnal means being active in the daytime and sleeping at night.

In addition to these basic natures, there are some other specific natures of sleeping patterns. Cathemeral is one of such patterns that describe the activeness in both day and night. 

So, are dogs nocturnal or diurnal? Even though dogs are sleep lovers; they do not prefer to sleep only in the daytime and be active at night time. Most of the time, dogs follow the same sleeping behavior as their owners and prefer to sleep during the night while having naps in the daytime too. On the other hand, some specific dog breeds are nocturnal or prefer to stay active at night. Some of them are Komondor, Border Collie, American Black and Tan Coonhound, Maremma, etc. However, in the common consideration, dogs are not nocturnal. It means dogs are diurnal.

By reading this article, you may be able to understand the matter of, are dogs nocturnal or diurnal compared to other animals. To identify it thoroughly, I have mentioned how much a dog sleeps per day and why they wake up several times at night.

Finally, I’ll provide you with some tips to establish a sleeping schedule for your dog. You can follow them and make your dog parallel with your sleeping behavior. Let’s get started!

Are dogs nocturnal or diurnal?

The concepts of nocturnal and diurnal are associated with the sleeping behavior of species. They describe the activeness of humans and animals during the time of the day. Before understanding, are dogs nocturnal or diurnal, let’s identify the meaning of being nocturnal or diurnal.

Nocturnal can be simply defined as sleeping during the daytime and awake and being active at night. Animals like bats, owls, and rats are considered nocturnal. Diurnal indicates sleep at night and being active at day time.

Humans, birds, and most animals are considered diurnal. When it comes to domestic pets, no matter what species they belong to, they are adapting to diurnal nature by following their owners.

In addition to these two basic types, cathemerals are active both day and night, such as lions, frogs, and bobcats. 

Then, are dogs nocturnal? The simple answer to this matter is ‘no.’ Dogs are not animals that are nocturnal even though they prefer to sleep in the daytime. They are not active only at night time and inactive at the day time.

Their sleeping behavior may depend on the environment and the nature of their owners. Most of the time, dogs that live as domestic pets adapt easily to the daily routine of their owners and begin to sleep when the owner sleeps and wake up when the owner does.

As a result, most of the dogs today are diurnal similar to their owners. However, dogs are sleep lovers, and they prefer to sleep in the daytime as well as the night. It will be great for you if your dog friend follows you and practices similar sleeping patterns.

Then they may not disturb your sleep. However, some specific dog breeds are nocturnal or prefer staying active at night, such as Komondor, Border Collie, American Black, Tan Coonhound, Maremma, etc. But in the common consideration, dogs are not nocturnal.

How much does a dog sleep?

As a pet parent with dogs or willing to adopt a dog, do you have any idea of how much a dog sleeps? Dogs are sleep lovers, and normally they sleep a lot. The matter of ‘are dogs nocturnal?’ arisen due to this excess sleeping behavior of dogs.

Normally, dogs sleep 12- 14 hours regularly, and puppies sleep more than adult dogs. Their average sleep ranges from 18-20 hours per day, while playfulness and exhaustion cause them to sleep more.

Enough sleep is important for puppies in their growth. Dog breeds with large body sizes need more sleep than small size dogs. And with the aging dogs need more sleep than young dogs. 

In addition, dogs have an irregular sleeping pattern, and it differs from the sleeping behavior of humans. Typically, humans sleep 7-9 hours per day, and most of the time, humans prefer to sleep at night time, and they work in the daytime.

But dogs are different, and they take sleep in the daytime as well as at night. It depends on the activities they engage in. They need more sleep than humans, and they tend to get naps in the daytime even after sleeping the whole night.

They have a habit of sleeping when they feel lazy, whether it is day or night. Therefore, since dogs are sleeping both day and night, they are not nocturnal.

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 time most of the time.

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

1. Too much sleep during the daytime

If your dog has a habit of sleeping too much in the daytime, then he may wake up at night time.

Due to excess sleep in the daytime, it may not feel sleepy, and it can interrupt the nighttime of your dog as well as you.

2. 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 inactiveness in the daytime may lead them to be active at night time while all the family members are at home. With this, they begin to wake up several times at night and can be an irritation for you.

3. The stress of releasing energy

Dogs need enough exercise and physical activities to release the excess energy that is wested in their bodies. They need to be active and busy with activities, and it affects their health.

When dogs are not provided with enough physical activities, they wake up several times at night as a result of the stress.

4. 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.

5. Health matters

There can be some health issues that irritate a dog’s sleep at night such as, 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. 

Tips for establishing a sleeping schedule for dogs

Even though the answer to the burning question, ”are dogs nocturnal?” is no, it should be noted that dogs are not that diurnal too. Therefore, dogs may sometimes be active and wake up at night.

It may interrupt your sleep due to their bathroom needs, food and water demands, and midnight barks. Establishing a sleeping schedule for your dog is important here since it affects your nighttime sleep as you are diurnal.

Here are some tips for you to establish a sleeping schedule for your dog, especially for the nighttime. 

1. Provide enough exercise during the daytime

You have to provide enough exercise for your dog to make it tired, and then it will sleep well at night.

Since dogs need to release their excess energy and with enough exercise and physical activities, they’ll get rid of their energy stress and sleep well at night.

2. Do not provide food and water recently before bedtime

Be cautious about giving food and water to your dog several hours before his bedtime to prevent its bathroom needs during the nighttime.

If not, your dog may wake up from sleep during the night and ask for bathroom breaks, and it may disturb your sleep. 

3. Give a bathroom break before going to bed

Make sure to let your dog go out before going to bed as their last bathroom break. Through that, they will not get bathroom needs during the middle of the night and may sleep well.

But in the case of puppies, they need to go out at night, and you have to be aware of it and try to keep an alarm to allow them to go out during night time. 

4. Crate training to stay there at night

You can make your dog’s crate comfortable during nighttime by filling it with blankets and training your dog to rest there at night with comfort in it.

Give him rewards for nighttime sleep during the first few days, and then he may prefer to sleep at night. 

5. Be aware of health matters

Health issues can affect the nighttime sleep of your dog, and therefore you need to be aware of their symptoms.

If you notice some differences and ill symptoms in your dog, take your dog to a veterinarian and immediately follow the necessary medications.

Conclusion – Are Dogs Nocturnal Or Diurnal?

At the end of the article, I guess now you have got a clear idea about your dog’s sleeping behavior with the answers provided through this article for the matter, are dogs nocturnal or diurnal.

Now you are well aware of the sleeping hours of your dogs and the reasons for their wake-ups at night. Then, you’ve identified the methods you can use to make your dog sleep at night as well.

With the knowledge gathered, you can now easily train your dog to adopt your sleeping schedule, and it will reduce their irritation to your sleep at night.

Thank you for reading this post. I hope it answered your burning questions about your dog. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts.


  • Dominic Parker

    Dominic P. is a dog behavioral researcher who graduated from the University of Surrey and holds BVMsi (Hons) in Veterinary Medicine and Science. He has been around dogs since childhood and has unconditional love for dogs. It makes him become a researcher instead of practicing as a veterinarian. Dominic enjoys his work and likes to share his findings with dog parents to give them a better understanding of dogs’ behaviors.

    [email protected]

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