Scientific Reports 8, Paper 7109 (2018)

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DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-25546-x

Nóra Bunford1,2, Vivien Reicher3, Anna Kis2, Ákos Pogány1, Ferenc Gombos4, Róbert Bódizs3,5, Márta Gácsi1,6

1Eötvös Loránd University, Institute of Biology, Department of Ethology, 1117, Budapest, Hungary

2Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, 1117, Budapest, Hungary

3Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Department of Cognitive Science, 1111, Budapest, Hungary

4Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2087, Piliscsaba, Hungary

5Semmelweis University, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, 1089, Budapest, Hungary

6MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group, 1117, Budapest, Hungary


The domestic dog (Canis familiaris) is a promising animal model. Yet, the canine neuroscience literature is predominantly comprised of studies wherein (semi-)invasive methods and intensive training are used to study awake dog behavior. Given prior findings with humans and/or dogs, our goal was to assess, in 16 family dogs (1.5–7 years old; 10 males; 10 different breeds) the effects of pre-sleep activity and timing and location of sleep on sleep electrophysiology. All three factors had a main and/or interactive effect on sleep macrostructure. Following an active day, dogs slept more, were more likely to have an earlier drowsiness and NREM, and spent less time in drowsiness and more time in NREM and REM. Activity also had location- and time of day-specific effects. Time of day had main effects; at nighttime, dogs slept more and spent less time in drowsiness and awake after first drowsiness, and more time in NREM and in REM. Location had a main effect; when not at home, REM sleep following a first NREM was less likely. Findings are consistent with and extend prior human and dog data and have implications for the dog as an animal model and for informing future comparative research on sleep.

Keywords: neurophysiology, sleep