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How to Choose the Correct Size Crate for Your Dog

A few months ago, I spoke to a client about the importance of crate training. As a result, she went to a large chain pet store and asked a clerk to help her pick out a crate. She has a thirty-five pound dog and took home an extra large crate. The crate was so big that my client could crawl into it with her dog! She spent over a $100 on a crate that took up too much room in her home, wouldn’t fit in her car and was much too large for her dog! It infuriated me! How could someone that worked for a pet store give such terrible advice?

When you’re choosing a create, the rule of thumb is: Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around comfortably in the crate.

I’d like to add that if you can fit inside the crate with your dog, it’s too big!

chosing the correct size crate for your dog
Quincy is nine pounds, and this crate is a bit on the large size for her. But, when you have a small dog a crate that’s a little too big will still fit easily in your car.
chosing the correct size crate for your dog
By setting Quincy on top of the crate, you can see that it’s long enough for her.
chosing the correct size crate for your dog
From the side view, you can see that Quincy has plenty of room to move around in this crate.

Choosing a Puppy Crate

The rule of thumb is helpful if you have a full grown dog, not so helpful if you have a dog that’s under a year old. I’d advise starting a puppy with a medium sized wire crate or an inexpensive medium sized plastic crate. Then, once your dog is fully grown you can invest in a high quality crate that will protect her in the car in case of an accident, like Ruff Tough or Variocage.

chosing the correct size crate for your dog
One of the things I love about Ruff Tough Kennels is that two large crates will fit side by side in my Honda CRV. This way, I can safely transport two dogs in my car.
chosing the correct size crate for your dog
This large crate from Ruff and Tough is just large enough for Sherlock. This crate is another layer of protection in the car.

But, if you only want to buy one crate and use if for the life of your dog, the best way to predict her size is by looking at her parents, and/or asking the breeder what size crate to purchase. That way, you’ll have a crate your dog can grow into.

If you purchase your dog from an animal shelter, you may not know anything about the parents. In that case, you will have to guess on the size of the crate based on the breed of your dog. It’s better to end up with a crate that’s a little too big, so if you’re unsure, size up. I found this chart helpful when trying to determine the size of crate based on breed.

Suggestions

When you’re looking for a crate, take your dog with you to the pet store so that she can go inside the crate and try it out. Take a measuring tape and write down the dimensions. Then, you can shop around online for the best deal.

chosing the correct size crate for your dog
When you use a soft crate, the fit can be a bit tighter because the sides give.

You can also measure your dog in the standing position from nose to rear and add a couple of inches to determine crate length. Then, have your dog sit and measure from the floor to the top of her head, adding a couple of inches, to find the correct crate height.

chosing the correct size crate for your dog
Measure from rear to nose for crate length.
chosing the correct size crate for your dog
Measure from ground to top of the head for crate height.
chosing the correct size crate for your dog
Rook was a bit concerned about the tape measure!

If your dog is afraid of the tape measure, use a piece of string or twine to measure the dog from nose to rear and the floor to the top of her head. Then, simply lay the string along the tape measure for the correct dimensions.

When I ordered a Ruff Tough Kennel for Kinsey I knew I would not be able to ship it back, so I measured the length and width of her bed, and ordered a crate that fit those dimensions. Kinsey is sixty pounds, and the large Ruff Tough Kennel is perfect for her. The dimensions are:

35 inches in length
22 inches in width
26 ¼ inches tall

It’s important to pick a crate that is the correct size so that it doesn’t take up too much room in your home or your car, and so that your dog can be both safe and comfortable.

Take a few minutes and find the correct size crate for you dog! It’s worth the effort!

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