Do Westies sleep a lot? Are they constantly on the go or more likely to be found curled up in front of the fire?
On average, Westies need about 13 hours of sleep per day. They usually sleep in one long sleep overnight with plenty of naps and snoozes during the day. Older Westies and puppies will need more sleep, up to 18 hours a day. Westies are not considered a dog breed that sleeps excessively, especially during the day.
Our Westie, Tasha, is older now and spends most of the day napping. She’s quite content to sleep while we work or potter about the house as long as she gets her daily exercise. When she was younger, she didn’t sleep as much, but it would still have added up to 12 – 13 hours sleep most days.
Whether you already have your own West Highland Terrier (Westie) or are considering whether to get one, knowing their sleeping habits and sleep routines is an important part of owning one of these little dogs, as they thrive on routine.
Read on to learn what sleeping habits to expect from these adorable little furballs.
How Many Hours Of Sleep Do Westies Need?
Dogs, on average, need about 12 to 14 hours of sleep per day. This can go up or down depending on the breed, but Westies tend to fall right in the middle of that average, with most Westies needing 13 hours of sleep per day or more. They are not excessive sleepers compared to other dog breeds, but they still enjoy their afternoon siestas!
For most Westies, you can expect pretty much the same sleeping behaviors:
- An overnight sleep schedule that mimics yours
- Several short naps throughout the day, with the length changing depending on how much they sleep overnight
- About 13 hours minimum of sleep per day, up to 16 hours
- Puppies and older Westies need more sleep, up to 18 hours daily
While awake, this small breed is a bundle of almost limitless energy.
They love playing and running around and taking walks. Because of their high energy, they can tire quickly and require small naps throughout the day to recharge.
Dogs Are Polyphasic Sleepers
Okay, so what does that mean? Dogs do not have the same sleep patterns as humans. We humans tend to be monophasic sleepers, meaning we usually have one long sleep a day.
Dogs, however, are wired differently are need several shorter sleeps in addition to at least one longer sleep every day. Dogs are are known as polyphasic sleepers.
Dogs also need more sleep than humans. Humans need 7-9 hours sleep a day but dogs need 12 – 14 hours, and your Westie is no different.
So, while at first, you might think dogs are just being lazy, they’re not. They genuinely need more sleep than us.
How Important Is Sleep?
Adequate sleep is crucial for the well-being of West Highland Terriers.
Sleep is a time when the body and brain rest, rejuvenate and repair. Lack of sleep can lead to stress which can, in turn, lead to aggressive behavior, short temper and irritability and a susceptibility to illness. A lack of sleep can weaken your Westie’s immune function, in particular.
Westies go a million miles an hour when they’re awake. But that takes energy and they need frequent naps to replenish their energy levels.
Westies can err on the side of aggressive and snappy and a lack of sleep will not help their demeanour.
Adequate, quality sleep is essential for your Westie’s overall health, behavior, and happiness.
Westie Sleep Patterns
Westies are social dogs and like to fit in with their family.
Establishing a consistent sleep routine mimicking your rest and sleep patterns fosters a sense of security and belonging in your Westie.
This tends to result in a Westie who will sleep when you sleep at night and then take extra rest as naps during the day.
Exercise is an important part of the sleep pattern too. Westies are lively and excitable. Regular short walks during the day (which are also useful for potty stops) help burn up that energy in bursts, with revitalising naps in between.
When younger, we found our Westie, Tasha, got hyperactive in the evening if we’d had a busy day and hadn’t had time to exercise her much. She’d spend the day napping, and then, come the evening (when we were ready to rest), she was an excitable ball of energy jumping around and sprinting through the house.
Healthy Sleeping Habits For Westies
Your Westie will do a big part of his or her sleeping at night while you sleep. Westies tend to mimic the sleeping habits of their people by both going to bed and waking up around the same time.
If you tend to sleep fewer hours than average at night, you may find that your Westie needs more sleep during the day to catch up on their sleep needs.
By contrast, if you sleep longer than average, your terrier may only take a short nap or two throughout the day.
For example, I typically get about seven to nine hours of sleep a night and wake up around seven in the morning. That works out at about half of my Westie’s daily sleeping needs, so she tends to take several naps a day, particularly after walks, to make up the extra time.
Where Should My Westie Sleep?
Westies are not especially picky about where they sleep, but they do tend to gravitate toward the same places once they’ve found somewhere comfortable.
For that reason, it is advisable to provide a few safe sleeping spaces around the house. These spaces should be near enough to you for them to feel comfortable but somewhat out of the way to create a calm place.
Some examples of good sleeping spaces for your Westie are:
- A crate near your bed for overnight sleeping.
- A pillow in an out-of-the-way spot in the living room.
- If you work at home, a comfy sleeping spot in your office.
- If your Westie spends time in a fenced-in yard, he or she should have a sheltered sleep space outside.
The goal is to create safe sleeping near where you spend your time since Westies enjoy staying close to their owners.
Westies are burrowers by nature and love a hidey-hole. You may find them sleeping under the sofa or the bed if there is enough space. If that’s your Westie’s preference, make them a comfy space there.
I work from home usually, and Tasha loves to nap in the office on a comfy dog bed near my desk.
Sleep Habits For Westie Puppies
Puppies of all breeds need more sleep than their adult counterparts, and Westies are the same.
As puppies, they have more energy while awake and tire themselves out quickly. They need regular naps to rest to replenish this energy and for their growth and development.
This results in the need for more sleep than adult Westies, who tend to be a little calmer in their play as they age.
For Westie pups, sleeping 18 to 20 hours per day is normal and not a cause for concern.
As opposed to adult Westies, Westie puppies may:
- Take more naps during the day
- Sleep more heavily when they do nap
- Sleep longer at night or go to bed earlier
As they age, they slowly start sleeping fewer hours a day until they arrive at the average 13 hours of an adult dog.
Crate Training for Better Sleep
Because Westies are well-known for appreciating their own space or “den”, they tend to do better when they have a space that is all theirs.
A crate is a great way to give them personal space and has the added bonus of a safe place for them to hang out while you are out of the house.
Since a crate for a Westie is considered their own personal space, it is not recommended to use their crate as a punishment. If you want your Westie to be comfortable and happy in it, they should never dread being sent there. I would strongly recommend finding alternative ways to discipline your pup if you decide to crate train.
Crate-trained Westies tend to enjoy more regular sleeping habits, though their individual activity level during the day also plays a large part.
When they have a safe place to sleep in, no matter what is going on in the house, they are less likely to sacrifice sleep out of nervousness if something is different or excitement is afoot.
When to Worry About Westie’s Sleeping Habits
While Westies are well known for taking a snooze several times a day, you make yourself familiar with your dog’s normal sleeping habits so you are alert to any changes.
An abrupt change in sleeping patterns can mean there’s a problem with your little pooch.
A particular concern will be if your Westie starts sleeping significantly more or less than he or she typically does. As the owner, you are the best judge of whether their sleeping habits have significantly changed.
These are some other signs to watch out for:
- Your Westie’s sleep is suddenly more restless or agitated
- He or she has other symptoms, such as a reduced appetite or irritability.
- Your Westie has less energy than usual when he or she is awake.
If this happens, you should consider taking your dog to a veterinarian for a checkup.
While Westies appreciate some good shut-eye, they do not sleep excessively compared to other breeds. Of course, each dog is different and has its own normal sleeping patterns, but you generally do not need to worry about a Westie being asleep most of the time!
An average of 13 hours of sleep daily, made up of one long overnight sleep and multiple short naps, is normal for a healthy adult, Westie.
As energetic as they are when awake, most Westie owners find them to be the perfect balance of snuggly and playful. You can count on fun, playful times when they are awake while being able to take advantage of those oh-so-sweet snuggles while they nap.
FAQs Westie Sleep
Why does my Westie sleep so much?
Westies need an average of 13 hours of sleep a day – more for puppies and elderly dogs. If your Westie sleeps when you’re sleeping at night for, say, 8 hours, he still needs another 5 hours of sleep or more, which he will take as naps.
So, while it might seem that your Westie is sleeping all the time, it’s just that dogs need much more sleep than humans.
Can Westies sleep outside?
Your Westie might enjoy a nap outside during the day, but these days, most Westies have been bred and domesticated as indoor dogs, and their main bed or sleeping area should be inside.
However, if you live in a warmer climate and your Westie has a cozy kennel they like to sleep in outside, they could sleep outside overnight. Ensure it’s safe, protected from other animals and secure from intruders.
Why do Westies sleep on their back?
Your Westie might be sleeping on his back to keep cool. Their fur is thinnest on their bellies, so exposing their tummy to the air by sleeping on their back helps them regulate their temperature.