Crates are the perfect space for your dog to relax and recharge, as well as an amazing training tool for your puppy. The best crates provide cosiness and a private, safe den for your dog to retreat to. However, a question we get asked all the time is ‘how big should my dog’s crate be?’ This blog will help you pick the perfect crate for your pooch.
Our top 3 things to know when picking what size crate to get
There are a few things to consider when picking a crate for your dog to make sure you get the perfect fit:
- Size is more important than weight – we often get asked ‘what size crate do I need for an 8kg dog’ but 8kg can look very different depending on the breed, an 8kg French Bulldog will measure differently from an 8kg Border Terrier for instance.
- The height and length of your dog – don’t worry we’ve explained below exactly how to measure your dog.
- If your dog is fully grown – we know we’re stating the obvious here but puppies are much smaller than fully grown dogs so their measurements would indicate that they need a much smaller crate which they will quickly grow out of. Carry on reading to see our recommendations on picking a crate size for your new puppy.
How to measure your dog for the correct crate size
When in doubt about which crate size to pick, measure! Your dog should be able to stand in their crate without their nose and rear end touching the crate and they shouldn’t be hunched or lowering their head past their shoulder blades when sitting or standing in the crate. Measuring will ensure that your dog can sit, stand, and lie down comfortably in their crate.
Length of dog
When your dog is on all fours measure them from their nose to the base of their tail. Make sure not to include the tail as this may mislead you into getting a bigger crate than you need, instead add between 2-4 inches to the overall measurement depending on the size of your dog to get the minimum length you will need for your crate.
Height of dog
Next, when your dog is sitting, you will need to measure them from the top of their head to the ground – make sure to measure from the tip of the ears if they have pointy ears. You will need to measure them sitting as some dogs are taller when they’re sat rather than when they’re standing, this will help you get the comfiest crate fit for your dog. Again, you will need to add between 2-4 inches to the overall measurement to get the minimum crate height so that they will definitely have plenty of room.
What Size Crate Does My Dog Need?
Once you have your dog’s measurements you can figure out what size crate you will need, their height and length measurements will just need to be smaller than the height and length of the dog crate to ensure that they will have plenty of room. Dog crates come in several different sizes, the most common being 24”, 30”, 36”, 42”, and 48” in length. Different brands may vary slightly, but most will offer these most common size options.
These are our size recommendations for each size of crate*:
|24" Crate (S)||Chihuahua, Jack Russell, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier and similar breeds|
|30" Crate (M)||Westie, Beagle, Standard and Miniature Dachshunds, French Bulldog, Border Terrier and similar|
|36" Crate (L)||Cockapoo, Springer Spaniel, Bulldog and similar breeds|
|42" Crate (XL)||Labrador, Dalmatian, Labradoodle, English Bull Terrier and similar breeds|
|48" Crate (XXL)||Golden Retrievers, Greyhounds, Bernese Mountain Dogs and similar breeds|
*These are our general breed size recommendations. When selecting your crate speak to your breeder to find out what crate size, they think will be most suitable. Not every dog of a particular breed is the same size. You might have or be expecting a particularly large Frenchie or a very dainty Cockapoo – use our recommendations as a guide and use this with your breeder’s knowledge of the litter for a more accurate size recommendation.
How big should a dog crate be for a puppy?
When picking a crate for your puppy things work a little differently, as your puppy grows the measurements you’ve taken won’t stay the same and they will soon grow out of their crate. We always suggest choosing a big enough crate for your puppy to grow into as an adult dog. This means you won’t have the expense of upgrading to a larger size later on and your dog won’t have to part with the den that has been their favourite private place for as long as they can remember! Look at our crate guide to see how to set up the perfect cosy den for your puppy so that their crate doesn’t feel too big for them!
We recommend having your crate set up ready for when you bring your puppy home so that they can get used to it from day one however this means you won’t be able to measure them beforehand. We do encourage prospective puppy owners to look at both the breed list above and see which category we’ve recommended as well as to consult their puppy’s breeder as they hold the specialist breed information.
Can a crate be too big for a dog?
We’ve looked at how a crate can be too small for a dog you may be wondering if it can be too big. It may seem like giving your dog as much space as possible is the best thing to do but this may create more anxiety for them. Smaller spaces actually feel safer and more secure for your dog as it replicates their dens in the wild where their priority is small spaces without too much exposure to protect them from predators.
How to tell if your dog crate is too big
Your dog will just need space to stretch out, lay down and sleep comfortably, any more space they may feel overwhelmed and unprotected. If your dog’s crate is too big, they may begin to seek out other places they feel safe in as a makeshift den, under the table, a bed, or behind the sofa are all popular choices for this!
Another thing to look out for is how your dog is using the crate, are they stretched out or mainly on one side? Are they using one end of the crate as a toilet? If they’re not utilising the whole crate or are using part of the crate as a bathroom it can be a sign that the crate is too big for your dog. Following our measuring guide above should help your find the right size for your dog!
If you’ve read this guide and still have questions about selecting the right dog crates, please get in touch with your dog's measurements and we will happily help, we love to help you purchase the perfect products for you and your pooch.