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What Size Dog Crate Do I Need? Here’s How to Choose

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Dog Brown in Crate

If you require a crate for your dog, you may be wondering what size you will need, right? There are so many options available, it can be hard to find the right one and figure out the exact dimensions. This is where we are going to help.

Although every dog is different, and every manufacturer has different sizes available, there are some easy steps to follow to figure out the right size for your pooch. In this article, we will share those tips, plus some other valuable information that will help you find the best space for your pet! If you’re wondering what size dog crate do I need, we’re here to help!

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The Importance of a Crate

There are many reasons to crate train your pet. First and foremost, it will keep them safe and secure when you are not available to watch over them and monitor their activity. Beyond that, however, most dogs come to love their crates as it’s their personal space to get away from it all.

They will use the kennel to sleep, relax, chew on their toys, or just be alone. They associate the crate with a safe place where they can be hidden away from stressful situations, as well. This is why it’s important to never use “crate time” as a punishment, especially if you plan to use the crate regularly.

For example, if you work outside of the home and wish to leave your pet in their crate for extended periods, you do not want to send them there when they have not behaved well. Every time you leave for work, they will believe they are being punished. Remember, your pup relies on you for their happiness, so spending hours thinking your humans are mad is not fun.

Besides that, crates can also help with behavioral issues. It can stop your pooch from destructive chewing and barking excessively. Again, be careful not to use the space as a punishment, but rather the normal routine when you leave the house.

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The 3 Different Kinds of Dog Crates

Before you decide on a size, you will also need to consider the type of crate you want. This can have a lot to do with your dog, your lifestyle, and needs.

1. Portable Soft Crates

boston terrier in soft side crate
Image Credit: JakubD, Shutterstock

If you have a toy breed and you travel a lot with them, you will want something portable. Soft crates are popular for small dogs and travelers.

2. Wire Mesh Crates

golden retriever puppy in crate
Image Credit: Parilov, Shutterstock

On the other hand, if you have a larger pooch that is strong and prone to escape, a wire mesh crate is a good option. They are sturdy and heavy-duty, yet allow a lot of air circulation. Not only that, but they also allow your pup to keep an eye on everything going on around them.

3. Plastic Dome Crates

dog in hard plastic crate
Image Credit: Budimir Jevtic, Shutterstock

You also have the plastic dome crates. This is another popular choice for medium-sized breeds. The benefit of this type is they can be used as a stationary option, and you can usually travel with them. They are easy to clean, as well.

These three options come in all different sizes, colors, and builds. There are also many other crates available such as decorative pieces that look like end tables or double up as dog gates. With all the possibilities, it’s important that you determine which type will work best for your pet.

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What Size Dog Crate Do I Need?

Your next consideration is going to be finding the right size. This can be tricky if you are not familiar with crates, or you are a first-time dog owner. That being said, there are a few rules that you want to go by when looking for the right size. Take a look at these tips below.

  • Walking In: When your dog enters the crate, you want to make sure that they do not have to bend their head lower than their shoulders to walk inside. If they do, or you notice they have to bend down to shimmy inside, the crate is too small. Not to mention, they will be uncomfortable. You should also make sure that the widest part of their body does not brush up against the door, either.
  • Standing Inside: When they are inside the crate, there are a few things you want to look at. First, your dog should be able to stand up in the space without having to crouch down or lower their head. They should be able to stand fully erect. They should also be able to turn around without an issue. Finally, their nose should not be touching the front (or back) of the kennel. Depending on your pet’s tail, it might brush up against the back, but it should only be the tip that touches the perimeter (fur doesn’t count). If it does, it’s too small.
  • Laying Down: You will also want to make sure they can lay down and stretch out. As a general rule of thumb, your pup needs to be able to lay on their side with their feet fully extended without touching the sides of the crate. They should also be able to roll over to reposition themselves without an issue.
  • Beds: You will also want to take into account bedding. Most pet-parents add bedding to their pet’s crate, so you will want to make sure the size accommodates them. Always go with the true sizing for your dog, however, as a space that is too big can also be an issue…which we will talk about next.
  • Not Too Big: Some people believe a bigger kennel is better. Let their pet have extra space to relax! Unfortunately, if there is more room than what is described above, your pup will use one side of the space to sleep, and the other size to use the bathroom. This is why you want to keep it comfortable, but without a lot of extra legroom.

Measuring Your Pet

corgi getting measured
Image Credit: PongMoji, Shutterstock

Even though you know what size your pet will need, it is hard to eyeball the size when you are in a pet store. It is even harder to do if you are buying your crate from online retailers such as Chewy.com. Your best option is to measure your dog, as the majority of retailers will provide sizing by measurement.

Now, depending on your pet’s temperament this can be a bit tricky but by no means impossible. First, you want to start by using a fabric tape if you have one handy. If you don’t, you can use a shoelace or other piece of string you can measure later.

Next, you want to find an appropriate time to get the numbers you need. For example, unless you are in the mood for a rumble in the living room, your best bet is to wait for your pet to be relaxed. Keep in mind, however, waiting until they are asleep can be just as difficult if they sleep curled up or at odd angles, your measurements will not be right.

Your best bet is to try it while they are eating or otherwise distracted. You will need to get three measurements.

  1. The first is from the highest point of their shoulders to the floor.
  2. Once you have those numbers, you want to add four inches to the second and third numbers. The first measurement is for the door, so it can pretty much stay as-is. Other than that, this will be the interior size you need.
  3. You may also want to get the weight of your dog. Depending on the brand, style, and type of crate, they can often have weight restrictions that you will need to pay attention to, as well.

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Finding the Right Size (Dog Crate Dimensions)

Now that you have your measurements and you know how your pup should fit inside, now you can look for the right size for your pet. Different brands may have different sizing, so using your info is going to be helpful. This is also important if you are switching brands.

You will also notice that different brands use different size charts and units of measurement for their crates. For example, they may come in small, medium, and large, or they might give you the space in inches. As mentioned, you may also see weight as a guideline. Remember, what is considered a small by one manufacturer could be an extra small in another.

Unfortunately, there is no universal measuring system, but there are some generalities that we can share to give you an idea. This is based on the crate size and weight of your dog, and the numbers are an industry-standard generalization. You will also note here that your dog’s stature can play a role, which is why you should have their height, as well as, weight.

Crate SizeApprox Weight
18”x18”Under 24lbs
18”x24”Under 30
24”x18”Under 30
24”x24”Under 38
24”x30”Under 40
24”x36”Under 40
48”x36”Up to 100lbs

Other Considerations

Besides the size, there are many other features of a crate you can take advantage of when you make your purchase. We have listed the most popular benefits below to give you an idea of what is important, and what is available.

  • Water and leak-proof
  • Extra Storage
  • Steel Frame
  • Easy setup
  • Easy to travel with
  • Folds down
  • Additional doors
  • Good ventilation
  • Escape proof locks
  • Easy to clean
  • Durability
  • Dividers
  • Aesthetics

These are only a handful of the additional options you will have. Some may be more important than others for you, but they give you a general idea. In the long run, however, the most important aspect of your pup’s crate is that it’s the right size.

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We hope the above info has helped you find the right crate size for dogs. These dog spaces are very beneficial to not only the dog, but their owner, as well. The most important aspect, however, is finding the appropriate size that will allow your pet to feel safe and secure while also being comfortable!

Featured Image Credit: PourquoiPas, Pixabay

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