What Size Crate Should I Get for My Dog? Here’s How to Tell

By: Wendy Rose GouldPublished:

What Size Crate Should I Get for My Dog? Here’s How to Tell
Chewy Studios

What Size Crate Should I Get for My Dog? Here’s How to Tell

A dog crate is arguably one of the most important things pet parents can buy for their dog. For starters, it’s a place for your pooch to hang out when you’re not around to keep them out of trouble or harm’s way. It also quickly becomes your dog’s safe place—a sanctuary that’s all their own. Plus, dog crates can help with aspects of potty training and other types of dog training. So, how can you tell how big (or small) your dog’s crate should be?

Ahead, we’re teaching you how to figure out what size crate for your dog is best with easy, step-by-step instructions. And to ensure your dog’s crate becomes their refuge, we’re offering tips on outfitting it so it’s cozy and inviting for your pooch.

Why Your Dog Crate’s Size Matters

Whether you’re the proud parent of an adult dog or new puppy, a large breed or small dog, choosing the right dog crate size is essential for their safety and comfort. It’s a bit of a Goldilocks predicament: Your dog shouldn’t have too much extra space, but they also won’t be comfortable in one that’s too small, says Bradley Phifer, a certified dog trainer and behavior consultant in Fairland, Indiana.

  • Too-big crates give your pup room inside the crate to pee or poop, undermining your house-training efforts. Too much space could also allow your dog to jump around too much and injure themselves, Phifer says.
  • Too-small crates will be uncomfortable for your dog, which may prevent them from wanting to spend time inside it.

How to Measure Your Dog for a Crate: Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s how to find out exactly how to take your dog’s measurements and figure out which size dog crate is best for their size.

1Gather Supplies

For this process, you’ll need the following:

Zuke's Mini Naturals Chicken Recipe Training Dog Treats
$16.98
American Journey Peanut Butter Crunchy Biscuit Dog Treats
$3.13
True Acre Foods Thick Cut Bacon & Beef Dog Treats
$9.78
A woman measuring her dog's heightA woman measuring her dog's height

2 Measure Your Dog’s Height

Getting your dog’s height measurement for a crate is pretty simple. While they’re sitting, measure the distance from the base of one of their front paws to the top of their head. Make sure that the tape measure is pulled tight so you get an accurate measurement.

It’s helpful to write the number down or type it into your phone, so you don’t forget it and have to re-measure your dog—most pups will only tolerate being measured for so long!

Pro Tip: Have a wiggly pup? Use your dog treats to encourage them to stand still while you measure them. It’s helpful if they already know the “stay” command—here’s how to teach it.
A woman measuring her dog's lengthA woman measuring her dog's length

3 Measure Your Dog’s Length

Have your dog stand on all four legs. Measure in a straight line from the base of their tail (aka where your dog’s tail joins to their body) to the tip of their nose. Make sure to record this number, too.
Pro Tip: Although weight is sometimes included on dog crate size charts, the numbers you should really focus on are length and height. Weight can give you a rough idea of what size crate to buy your dog, but using your other measurements will be more accurate.
A dog laying comfortably in a crateA dog laying comfortably in a crate

4 Factor in Some Wiggle Room

Make sure to add some wiggle room to these measurements to ensure your dog feels comfortable in their crate. While you don’t want them to swim in empty space, they also shouldn’t feel cramped. A good rule is to add four inches to both their height and their length measurements.

After you open and assemble your crate, you can double-check that it’s not too small by letting your dog explore it. If your pup can comfortably stand up, lay down and turn around inside of it, it’s big enough.

A woman adjusting a divider in a dog crateA woman adjusting a divider in a dog crate

5 Consider Your Dog’s Growth

If your dog is still a puppy with room to grow, they may need different sizes of crates throughout their life. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy multiple crates! Many wire dog crates come with a divider panel that you can install to reduce the amount of space inside. (Dividers are less common in wooden or plastic crates.) Then, as your dog grows, you can move the panel to adjust the amount of space they have.

Not sure how tall your dog will get? Consider their breed. While every dog is unique, most dogs of a certain breed grow to roughly the same adult size. For example, here are the expected heights of a few popular dog breeds:

Dog Breed
Expected Height
Dog Breed

Beagle

Expected Height

13-15 inches

Expected Height

23-27.5 inches

Dog Breed

Boxer

Expected Height

21.5-25 inches

Dog Breed

Bull Terrier

Expected Height

21-22 inches

Dog Breed

Chihuahua

Expected Height

6-9 inches

Expected Height

13.5-15.5 inches

Dog Breed

Dachshund

Expected Height

5-9 inches

Expected Height

11-13 inches

Expected Height

22-26 inches

Expected Height

21.5-24 inches

Dog Breed

Great Dane

Expected Height

28-32 inches

Expected Height

10-15 inches

Expected Height

21.5-24.5 inches

Dog Breed

Maltese

Expected Height

7-9 inches

Dog Breed

Mastiff

Expected Height

27.5 inches or more

Dog Breed

Pomeranian

Expected Height

6-7 inches

Dog Breed

Poodle

Expected Height

Standard: Over 15 inches; Miniature: 10-15 inches; Toy: no more than 10 inches

Dog Breed

Rottweiler

Expected Height

22-27 inches

Dog Breed

Shih Tzu

Expected Height

9 to 10.5 inches

Expected Height

7-8 inches


Don’t see your breed above? We’ve got dozens more dog breed guides here.

Predicting your dog’s size can be trickier for mixed breed dogs. Talk to your veterinarian for advice.

Frisco Fold & Carry Single Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate
$49.43
FREE 1-3 day shipping
Frisco Fold & Carry Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate
$72.29
FREE 1-3 day shipping
Frisco Heavy Duty Enhanced Lock Double Door Wire Dog Crate & Mat Kit
$143.48
FREE 1-3 day shipping
A woman using a laptop computerA woman using a laptop computer

6 Find Your Dog’s Crate Size

Many brands offer a dog crate size chart to help you pick the right size crate. Compare your dog's sizes to the dimensions of each size of crate, and find the option that’s closest to those measurements without going under. If your dog is between measurements on height and length, always size up. Also, remember to factor in those extra four inches for wiggle room.

Types of Dog Crates

In addition to the size, consider these factors when shopping for dog crates:

  • Single door vs. double door: Depending on where you place the crate in your home, you may find it useful for your dog to have multiple exits from their crate. On the other hand, if your pup is an escape artist, it might be best to stick to one way in and out.
  • Crate material: Wire crates are common for dogs and often come with a divider that lets the crate grow with your pup. But you have other options too, like soft-sided crates with walls made of fabric; heavy duty crates made of sturdy metal; and wooden crates that double as end tables, blending in with your home’s decor.

Find out more about how to pick the best dog crate.

Make Their Crate Feel Like Home

Once you’ve picked the perfect crate for your pooch, you’ll also want to take some time to make it feel homey. We recommend adding the following:

  • Crate Pad or Dog Bed: Help them feel comfy-cozy in their crate by supplying your pup with a plush bed or pad.
Frisco Mocha Swirl Dog Crate Mat
$21.92
Frisco Quilted Dog Crate Mat
$18.21
Frisco Cooling Orthopedic Dog Crate Mat
$38.39

Temporarily out of stock

  • Dog Toys: Include crate-friendly toys that’ll provide your pup with some mental stimulation in moments when you’re gone or when you’re asleep. Chew toys—like the KONG Classic Dog Toy—are perfect. Just be sure your dog can’t chew off any pieces of the toy while you’re not supervising them, to prevent ingesting or choking on them.
Frisco Nylon Ring Dog Chew Toy, Chicken Flavor
$7.25
Frisco Chicken Flavor Tough Nylon Dog Chew Toy
$8.49

Temporarily out of stock

KONG Classic Dog Toy
$13.99
  • Crate Cover: If you’re using a wire crate with open sides all around, using a crate cover can create a more den-like atmosphere for your pup. Covering the crate can help calm dogs who experience anxiety or over-stimulation. A fitted cover looks polished and still allows air to pass through so your dog doesn’t get hot. Make sure to buy the size that matches your crate.
Frisco Crate Cover
$47.68

Temporarily out of stock

Frisco Faux linen Dog Crate Cover
$43.67
MidWest Quiet Time Crate Cover
$22.99
  • Personal Items: If your pet is experiencing some anxiety in their kennel, especially when you’re away, it can be helpful to include an item or two that smells like you, such as a shirt you’ve worn recently or a blanket from your bed.
Now that you can confidently answer the question, “What size crate should I get for my dog?” it’s time to brush up on crate training. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to crate train a dog.
Expert input for this story provided by: Bradley Phifer, a certified dog trainer and behavior consultant in Fairland, Indiana.

Share:

By: Wendy Rose GouldPublished:

BeSmart