How to Determine What Size Dog Crate to Use

"Very funny Houdini, now let's trade places again."
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Dogs are pack animals who are descendants of wolves. As such, your canine friend enjoys a den to sleep in, where he can hide from others and that gives him a sense of security. A dog crate should be sized to allow your furry friend to enter, turn around, eat and sleep without enough room to go potty on the opposite end of the crate. A wolf will not soil his den and your dog does not enjoy a mess in his bedroom, either. The correct size crate enables crate training and results in fewer messes to pick up in the house.

Step 1

Measure your dog’s shoulder height. Have your pet stand with his weight evenly distributed on all four legs. Place the tip of the measuring tape on one front shoulder and measure down his leg to the bottom of his paw.

Step 2

Measure your four-legged friend’s length. Place the tip of a cloth measuring tape on the back of his neck at his collar area. Stretch the tape out along his back to the base of his tail.

Step 3

Add 6 inches to each of the measurements to determine his crate size for an adult dog.

Step 4

Purchase a crate that will accommodate a puppy after he grows to his full size, according to his breed standards for a purebred dog or an approximation from his mixture of breeds. Insert a divider panel into the door of the crate. Hang the panel with the hooks pointing to the back of the crate at a distance from the front that equals your puppy’s length plus 6 inches. Move the panel backward as your puppy grows.


  • Some local animal shelters rent crates. You can rent a small one for a puppy and then rent larger crates in incremental sizes until your puppy is grown.

  • Metal crates have larger openings for good air circulation and socialization of your pet because he can see you better than in an enclosed crate.

  • Choose light-duty dog crates for puppies, medium duty for older puppies and mild-mannered dogs and heavy-duty crates for highly active dogs.

Items You Will Need

  • Cloth measuring tape
  • Metal crate divider panel