It may seem weird when your Labrador sleeps on its back but there are a number of reasons that it could be doing it. This post will help you to figure out why.

So, why does your Labrador sleep on its back? There are a number of reasons that your Labrador might choose to sleep on its back. Possible reasons include trying to cool down, submission, being more comfortable and feeling safe. 

It can actually be a good sign when your Labrador decides to sleep on its back for a number of reasons.

Why Your Labrador Sleeps On Its Back

Below are some reasons why your Labrador might choose to sleep on its back.

It’s cooler

The reason why your Labrador does it could be that it is cooler. This would be more likely if it does it more when it is hot inside.

The underside of its belly has less fur there and so by sleeping on its back it can allow more air to get to the less insulated part of its body.

If you think that this could be the cause then take some measures to ensure that your Labrador is able to stay cool.

You can do this by making sure it has lots of shaded areas to go to, lots of access to water, you can groom it more often and you can lower the air conditioning temperature if you can.


The reason why your Labrador does it could be because it is being submissive.

When dogs challenge each other the submissive one will often go onto its back since it’s a more vulnerable position showing the other dog that it’s in control.

If your Labrador sleeps on its back with you around then it could be that it is telling you that it submits to you.

It’s more comfortable

Another possible reason that it chooses to sleep on its back is that it is simply more comfortable. It could be that the feeling of sleeping with its thicker fur touching the floor feels better. Sleeping on its back also allows it to have its muscles in a more relaxed state than on its front where they will stay tensed so that it can spring into action if it needs to.

It feels safe

The reason why it does it could be that it feels secure.

Dogs in the wild are rarely reported to be seen sleeping on their backs mainly because it’s a vulnerable position.

Also, If something happens, it will take them longer to be able to react to it. If your Labrador is sleeping on its back then it would indicate that it’s not concerned about something happening and that it feels well protected.

Other positions

There are some other sleeping positions that your Labrador might decide to sleep in that you are curious about. I will list them below with the reasons why your Labrador might prefer to sleep that way.

On its side

If your Labrador often sleeps on its side it would also indicate that your Labrador feels pretty safe around you.

Sleeping on its side is less vulnerable than on its back but it does still make it harder to spring into action if it needs to and it leaves its vital organs exposed. They may prefer this position since it allows them to keep their arms and legs in a more relaxed position helping them to feel more comfortable.

On its front

It’s common for Labradors to sleep on their front. The reason for this is that it’s the most alert way that they can sleep. If something happens then they will already be in a position to spring into action quickly. Don’t be discouraged if your Labrador chooses to sleep like this since it is a natural way for most dogs to sleep.

Curled up

Another way your Labrador might choose to sleep is curled up in a ball shape. Sleeping like this allows it to stay more insulated which is why it is more common in the colder months. It could also like sleeping this way since it’s the most comfortable position in the spot that it likes to sleep.

With you

If your Labrador chooses to sleep with you then it is less likely to be for warmth since they are warmer than you but more likely for protection. By sleeping in a group it means that they are less likely to get attacked by a predator in their sleep and that they will be able to fend it off more easily.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.