Are Great Pyrenees Nocturnal?

Great Pyrenees enjoying the sunset before a night of watching livestock

Great Pyrenees are some of the biggest and fluffiest dog breeds in existence!  these gentle giants make great family guard dogs.  But, these dogs have some interesting qualities.  If you’re already the owner of a Great Pyrenees, you might have noticed some of these strange behaviors!  you might find that they have interesting sleeping habits, like staying awake during the night and sleeping all day.

So, are Great Pyrenees nocturnal?

Because Great Pyrenees are active at night, some people consider them to be nocturnal.  Though they don’t have any special nocturnal traits like night vision, they are alert and on guard when the sun goes down.  Luckily, you can encourage these dogs to get on a more regular sleeping schedule.

In this article, we’ll discuss more about the Great Pyrenees’ sleeping habits.  We’ll talk about when, how long, where, and why.  Plus, we’ll go into some tips about how to help your Pyr sleep through the night!

What Does Nocturnal Really Mean?

When you think about nocturnal animals, you think of bats, snakes, and skunks.

In reality, nocturnal animals are defined as animals that are more active at night than during the day.   Sometimes, nocturnal animals have special abilities that help them live in the dark!  They might have huge eyes that take in more light than normal or they could have extraordinary hearing abilities.

By this definition, many animals can be considered nocturnal.  Some humans who work night shifts and sleep during the day could be deemed “nocturnal.”

Are Great Pyrenees Active At Night?

So what about Great Pyrenees, are these dogs active enough at night to be considered nocturnal?

Well, yes!

This sleep schedule goes back thousands of years, to the origins of the Great Pyrenees.  These dogs were originally bred as livestock guardian dogs.  Living high up in the mountains, these dogs protected herds of animals while their shepherds slept.  Usually, this meant that Great Pyrenees were awake throughout the night and on alert.

Great Pyrenees would use their loud barks to keep predators like wolves and coyotes away from their animals in the evenings.  They would roam around the flock and make sure everything was okay.  Then, during the day, these dogs would still act as guardians but would nap on and off and be much less alert overall.

The same is still true for many of these dogs today.  Guardian blood runs through their veins.  Oftentimes, owners will report that Pyrenees are restless and loud at night and lazy and relaxed during the day.

So, Pyrenees aren’t strictly nocturnal animals but are pretty active when the sun goes down.

When Do Great Pyrenees Sleep?

If Great Pyrenees are active in the evening, and during the day, when do they sleep?

If you have a Great Pyrenees, you may have noticed that they spend a lot of the day sleeping!  These dogs are more likely to sleep throughout the daytime and be alert in the evening.  Great Pyrenees will usually take short naps throughout the day and night.  They won’t always sleep for a long chunk of time at once, so it might seem like they’re always asleep!

Being a serial napper is just part of the job, because no matter what time it is, a Great Pyrenees might always feel the need to be on alert.

Seasonal Sleepers

When a Great Pyrenees sleeps also might vary with the weather and the seasons!

In general, Great Pyrenees will be more active when it’s cooler weather outside.  In winter, you might notice that your dog spends more of the day playing and running, and gets cozy up at night.  In the hot summer, your Pyrenees might sleep more during the day, when it’s just too hot for them to do anything except for swim!

Great Pyrenees aren’t the best dogs in heat.  In temperatures over 70F, they’re prone to overheating.  If your dog is smart, you’ll notice them spending more of these days lazing around!  On the other hand, temperatures below 15F will keep your dogs either indoors and warm or super active.  The cold temperatures might turn your lazy Pyrenees into an athletic superstar!

How Many Hours A Day Do Great Pyrenees Sleep?

So, how many hours a day do these dogs spend asleep, exactly?

It’s hard to say how much a Great Pyrenees actually sleeps!  As we mentioned above, sleep can vary greatly with the temperature and climate.  However, Great Pyrenees can be expected to sleep around 10-12 hours a day.  In extremely relaxed dogs or puppies, you might even clock them in at 18 hours of sleep per day.

Again because these dogs are natural guardians, you might not see these 12 hours all at once.  You’ll notice your Pyrenees napping throughout the day to catch up on z’s they missed from being alert the night before.  In this timelapse video, you can see a Great Pyrenees in their home.  This dog is super relaxed and napping but is still alert to noises and sounds.

You can see their eyes flutter open and close plenty of times during the video.

Where Should Great Pyrenees Sleep At Night?

If Great Pyrenees are so active at night, where should they sleep?

It’s not an easy answer!  Where your Great Pyrenees sleeps at night depends on your situation and their preferences.  Most Great Pyrenees love spending time outside and these dogs might also like to sleep outside.  If your Great Pyrenees is a ranch dog, it might sleep outside at night.

But, if you do let your pup spend the night outdoors, you’ll need to make some considerations.  The weather needs to be good enough for your dog to spend the night outside!  Plus, if you do keep your pup outside 24/7 they’re going to come into contact with tons of parasites and diseases that you’ll need to protect them against.

If you have a large indoor space and want to keep your furry friend inside with you, that’s fine!  Great Pyrenees can also spend the night indoors.  You can let your pup sleep in your room with you on a dog bed, on your bed, or wherever they want to sleep!  The only issue you might stumble into with a Pyrenees sleeping indoors is that they are nocturnal.  So, they might be a little restless and keep you up throughout the night.

How Do You Get Your Great Pyrenees To Sleep At Night?

If you do choose to keep your Pyrenees indoors all night, how do you get them to sleep at the right time?

Luckily, you should be able to adjust your Pyrenee’s sleeping habits pretty easily.  If you work during the day and sleep at night, you’ll want your family (and your dog) to do the same.

The easiest way to turn your night owl into an early bird is to establish a schedule.  You should make an effort to get your dog active during the morning and the afternoon.  This might means making a morning walk a habit.  You should also try to feed your Pyrenees twice a day so that they become used to waking up for breakfast.

Tiring your Pyrenees out during the day is also a great way to help them sleep through the night!  You can try letting your Great Pyrenees run free outside.  Let them play with other dogs or take them for a super long walk!  Then when you get home, try to keep them active by playing fetch and interacting with them throughout the evening.  Hopefully, when bedtime hits, they’ll be so tired that they don’t want to stay up anymore.

Making sure your dog goes potty right before bed will also help them sleep soundly throughout the night.

Final Thoughts

Because Great Pyrenees tend to be so active at night, they are considered to be a more nocturnal dogs.  Great Pyrenees are alert and on guard throughout the night as an instant, so you might have trouble getting them to sleep in.

Great Pyrenees will usually sleep for 10-12 hours a day, and you’ll notice that they take tons of small naps.  If you want your Great Pyrenees to sleep throughout the night, it shouldn’t be too hard to get them on your schedule.  With a little encouragement, you’ll have your pup sleeping soundly all night long in no time!

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