Why Do Beagles Sleep So Much?

By John Martin - May 12, 2021

Sleeping Beagle on the floor

Those with the melting eyes and sweet manner, the beagles, don’t they just tug at your heart whenever they look at you with such a sweet look? Bred as a hunting dog and for companionship, the beagle’s happy-go-lucky and funny nature makes him an ideal companion.

The oodles of cuteness that ooze out of its chocolate brown eyes do nothing to decrease his desirability! Used to hunting in packs, the beagle loves to be around his human parent(s) and is generally easygoing, provided he is around you. More often than not, you will find him curled up and taking a long nap!

Is your beagle’s long hours of sleep puzzling you? Don’t be for he is doing what all beagles do!

Conserving Energy

If your adult beagle is sleeping for 10-12 hours a day, don’t be alarmed. He is doing it to conserve his energy. Being an active and energetic breed, he will tend to be active and playful when awake and needs to rebuild his muscles and recover lost energy. This he does by dozing off.

In beagle pups, this may extend to even 18 to 19 hours of sleep. If you observe human babies, they too tend to sleep for long hours as they tire easily with even a little bit of playing and excitement. It is so with the beagle pups too. They alternate between being very playful when awake, till they are exhausted and taking a nap to restore themselves. It would be good to encourage your pup to take a nap every once in 4 to 5 hours.

On average, you will find a beagle spend 50% of his day sleeping, 30% reclining restfully and only 20% being active. With age, the beagles can snap in and out of sleep very quickly. While the slightest movement can awaken them, they can also get back to sleep quickly.

Even if they are not sleeping, you will find them curled up somewhere, withdrawing from the activities around for some quiet downtime.

Related: When Do Beagles Stop Growing?

A Canine Trait

Beagles were also bred to be hunters, and like the other predators, they can remain awake at night. While you are asleep, your beagle could be alert and keeping watch.

You may be reassured to know that it is not just your beagle that sleeps so much. Almost all breeds of dogs can be found relaxing and napping for a large part of the day. This has been mainly attributed to the fact that they have descended from the wolves, which hunted at night.

It’s not just a beagle that sleeps so much. All the hunting breeds of dogs are known to be great sleepers, so much so that you may feel that that’s all they do. ‘It’s a dog’s life’ is a misnomer, especially with reference to the time they spend sleeping!

Tell Me Why

The reason dogs doze so much is still a matter of speculation even amongst scientists. Though their being hunters is one part of the story, there could be other reasons why they spend so much time just lolling around.

As humans, it is all the more puzzling. After the infancy stage, humans tend to be awake for longer stretches of time during the day, needing at the most a brief shut-eye in the afternoon. Our circadian rhythm synchronizes with the rising and the setting of the sun. We are up and about when the sun is up and unwind as the day ends. Then we sleep for long, in a single stretch of 8 hours, to wake up refreshed again.

In this kind of sleeping, we are in deep sleep for nearly 25% of the time, which gives us proper rest. A dog, on the other hand, has shorter sleep stints with only 10% of his snooze time reaching the deep, REM state. As a result, not only is their sleep not restorative, it also leaves them more drowsy.

One study of canine sleeping patterns reveals that it takes dogs around 10 minutes to transition from the slow-wave mode when the breathing is slow, blood pressure lower and heart rate slows down into rapid eye movement (REM).

The REM phase is when dreams happen and eyes roll under closed lids. This is the stage when the brain becomes active and activates learning and memory functions. The brain starts to consolidate and process the information it has gathered during the day and stores it in long-term memory.

But your pooch’s overall nap may not last that long since he tends to take very short naps every once in a while.

Is it Normal?

If your beagle has been napping long hours and lolls around lazily, and this has been a pattern that he has followed all the while, then it is perfectly normal. But, if you notice a change, such as if he has difficulty falling asleep or is drowsy all the time, then it may be good to consult the vet. A change in diet may set things back to normal, or there could be a heart condition or thyroid problem that needs to be set right.

You don’t need to worry, though, if he still is interested in playing with you when fully awake and if he is not completely off his food.

In fact, it is important that your pooch gets his full quota of sleep. A study published in NCBI using a fully non-invasive methodology to study sleep and memory in domestic dogs has shown that sleep has a positive impact on EEG performance.

Dogs are also able to learn better after they have had a good sleep, just like humans. Another test in a group of dogs has shown an improved level of command learning and better memory consolidation after getting good sleep.

Related: Are Beagles Good for Kids and Toddlers?

Stimulated Enough?

Okay, so beagles will sleep long hours and it is important for their learning and memory consolidation. However, you must also assess if your beagle is getting enough stimulation.

An athletic and playful dog like the beagle needs a lot of attention and activities. When there is nothing to do and if your pet is not trained to do anything, then an energetic breed like the beagle will be bored and will spend time taking a nap instead.

Create a Sleep Schedule

Sometimes your pet’s sleep habits may disrupt yours. For instance, if your beagle sleeps late in the mornings and you have to head out to work, taking them for a morning walk may become difficult.

Beagles tend to gain weight, according to the American Kennel Club. So if you do not make time for your pet to exercise and play, he can become obese. Lack of activities and boredom can also lead to mental health issues with your pet.

Also, being a people’s dog, it may be better for him to sleep when he is alone at home during the day. So you must make sure you let him have his walk, breakfast and activities before you leave for work and take his naps in your absence.

Importance of Sleep

A proper schedule will not only regulate your beagle’s life and accommodate your needs better but you will also know when something is out of the ordinary in your pet’s life. A study published in NCBI reports the importance of sleep as an indicator of welfare and how well your pet has adapted to the environment.

This study also demonstrated that dogs that were well rested had a better positive judgement bias, decreased repetitive behavior and were more relaxed. This was especially so when they rested well during the day. Attention seeking and destructive behavior will not be far behind in your pooch if he does not get enough sleep.

For Health and Energy

The beagle is an athletic and playful hunting breed that needs to be active when awake and make up for the loss of energy by sleeping well. While all dog breeds tend to rest for long periods, beagles are especially prone to this. They need about 18-19 hours of sleep when they are pups and about 10-12 hours when they are adults.

You can train them to have a schedule that matches yours, but it should not be at the cost of their sleep time. Sleeping is a very important part of their life because they tend to take very short naps. This is not enough to make them feel well rested. Over a period of time, it can stress them out.

So next time you play with your dog, don’t be surprised if he curls immediately after for a restorative nap. Don’t worry, he will be up again and demanding your attention. But till then, enjoy his nap and quickly get your work done.