Are Pit Bulls Lazy?

When you think of an active dog, you may think of something like a Border Collie tearing its way through fields to herd sheep. And when you hear lazy dogs, you may think of something sleepy, like a cozy English Bulldog. But where do pit bulls fit in?

Temperament may change from dog to dog, but is the pit bull generally more of an active breed or more of a lazy dog breed?

The answer may surprise you.

a pitbull wearing a hoodie

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Pit Bull on the Run

The pit bull is generally considered an active and fun loving pooch. They are known for their strong build and can be quite muscular dogs. And they love to use those muscles to run and play.

They love to run, swim, and play frisbee like most other dog breeds. In fact, they need A LOT of run-around time and stimulation. An adult pit bull will normally need to walk for around an hour a day to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Many owners will tell you that their pit bulls are expert escape artists. They can easily jump a six-foot wall, and some trained dogs have been seen doing wall jumps to a height of thirteen feet! [1]

While the majority of pit bulls probably won't be bothered to jump your four-foot fence, it is still a testament to their incredible power and agility.

Why is My Pit Bull So Sleepy, Then?

Humans are capable of incredible feats of strength…but most of us would prefer to have a nap on the couch rather than climb a wall. Sometimes it's just a matter of personality.

However, pit bulls need a lot more sleep than humans do. Despite how active they can be, a healthy pit bull can sleep more than half the day away. However, this is also true for most large dog breeds.

An adult pit bull can sleep for an average of 12 -14 hours every single day. They may also lie down and rest for an additional 6 hours. Pitbull puppies require even more sleep, and can sleep for 18-20 hours every day. [2]

That's a long nap!

a pit bull lazily lying around

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While the sheer amount that pitbulls sleep can be concerning for your average pitbull owner, this is perfectly normal. 

One of the big reasons for this is that pit bull-type dogs are normally polyphasic sleepers. This means that they tend to take many shorter naps throughout the day, often for around an hour or so, compared to the long monophasic sleep of their owners.

Pitbull puppies also need a ton of sleep to grow. It takes a lot of energy to grow from a tiny puppy to a large, muscular adult, not to mention all the energy it takes to play in the 4 hours that they are awake.

Older adult pitbulls will also sleep much more than younger dogs and may not have the energy to run around like they used to.

Older pit bulls may also suffer from joint pain, which can make getting a full night’s sleep difficult. If your pit bull suffers from arthritis or has recently had surgery, talk to your vet about managing their pain.

How Much is Too Much?

So your average pit bull loves and needs to sleep. But how much is too much? 

Too much sleep can be a sign of an underlying health condition. While 14 hours is a completely normal amount for a pit bull, more than that could be a sign of something concerning.

Lethargy and excessive sleeping can be a sign of infection or disease. If your pit bull has suddenly started slowing down or sleeping more, then it might be a good idea to check them for signs of illness or take them to a vet, especially if they aren't eating much either.

Some dogs may also suffer from sleeping conditions - such as canine narcolepsy. This condition can cause your dog to fall asleep at random moments, whether they are tired or not. While not necessarily dangerous on its own, it can lead to other complications.

Adult dogs, as well as seniors, can also get affected by sleep apnea, breathing obstructions, and allergies, which may mean that they're not getting good quality sleep…causing them to sleep more to make up for it.

If your pit bull is doing something in their sleep that you think is out of the ordinary, or if they have suddenly changed their sleeping patterns, then it may be a good idea to take them to a vet to get checked out.

a lazy pitbull having a nap


Other Factors…

If we heard of a human who was sleeping 14 hours a day, we would probably assume that there was something wrong with them or that they were very lazy.

But remember, a dog does not have all that much to do. Unless they are working or farm dogs, your average adult pitbull does not have much going on besides spending time with you and your family. So don’t judge them too harshly.

Excessive sleeping may also just be a sign of boredom. Like humans, dogs rarely get up and have a run around for the sake of it. They like to exercise with a purpose…such as when they are taking a walk with you or playing with a toy.

If your dog is being very lazy, maybe consider introducing a bit of extra stimulation into their life.  This may be as simple as buying them a new treat, getting them a lick pad for feeding time, hiding treats, or taking them in the opposite direction on a walk.

If you do not have much money or extra time for new toys or games, you can try rotating their toys out. Giving them the joy of a new toy without the need for one. Teaching them a new trick or a bit of obedience training can also be a source of entertainment. [3]

This is especially important if you only have one dog at home. In time, boredom can grow into frustration, which may come out in destructive tendencies, such as chewing furniture or separation anxiety. 

On the other hand, for a pit bull who lives in a very chaotic household, such as one with small children - a nap may be a welcome respite to get some alone time. Whether they actually need the sleep or not.

Entertaining Pit Bulls

Pit bulls, especially rescues, may find it harder to socialize with other dog breeds. They tend to be very protective of their owners and may become nervous in new environments, which makes life for owners with small homes and gardens more difficult.

This tendency may make it difficult to take them to places like the dog park, which is normally a great source of exercise and stimulation.

But hope is not lost. Pitbull owners can start taking their pitbull puppies to the park from a young age (Though after they have received their shots) to get them used to the idea.

Adult pit bulls might also benefit from doggy groups, where they can slowly socialize with bigger groups. Dogs are natural pack animals, and spending time with other dogs can really get them out of their sedentary funk.

a pitbull wearing a harness and leash from Sparkpaws

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Pit Bulls and Stress

If adding more activity and fun is not doing much to reduce the naps…then your pit bull may be suffering from mental issues.

Stressful situations, such as moving house, losing someone close to them, meeting a new dog, separation anxiety, and old traumas can really mess with your pitbulls sleep. 

While dogs process emotions and stress differently from humans, as in they don’t stay up all night worrying about an embarrassing high-school memory, this anxiety can still cause them to be hyper-alert and miss out on sleep, which will leave them tired.

You can combat this by crate training - since the smaller confined space is actually more soothing for dogs. You can also make sure they are comfortable at night, such as by wearing doggy pyjamas, as the swaddling effect can be soothing for them.

The Bottom Line

Dogs don’t lead terribly interesting lives. 

They need a lot of sleep to stay healthy and happy with adults needing up to 14 hours a day. Pit bull puppies especially need a lot of sleep and can sleep up to 20 hours a day. This amount is normal, if strange to a human.

However, excessive or unusual sleep can be a sign of an underlying health issue such as a hormone imbalance, pain, or infection. Take note if your pitbull sleeps too much or too little.

Excessive napping can also be a symptom of stress or anxiety, which may mean that your dog will need a little extra TLC and care…especially when going to bed at night.

a pitbull puppy sleeping

Other times, naps can be a sign of boredom. Try adding a bit of spice to your pup’s life by rotating or buying them some new toys, playing with them, exercising them, and by ensuring that they have some playmates to spend their waking hours with.

Most pit bulls are lazy because they're bored, but if you give them the option to spend more time playing with you, they will almost always choose you over a nap.

We want to spend as much time with our furry friends as possible, but as a pitbull owner, recognize that they need their sleep too.

Whether you want to introduce some more exercise to your pit bull’s life, or if you believe that they need a little extra soothing comfort, you can find whatever you need at Sparkpaws. We have a wide range of leashes and harnesses, jackets and onesies, ensuring that your dog always has what it needs.

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