How Are Dogs Measured?

Your dog's collar should fit snugly, but not tightly around her neck.
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Many dog-related purchases require knowing the exact size of your dog. Your dog will not be happy in a crate that is the incorrect height or length for her, and items like collars, harnesses or clothing items are made less useful -- or even useless -- if they are too large or too small for her body. Fortunately, with a couple of treats and the proper equipment, measurements are relatively easy to take.


A dog’s height is determined by her shoulders, not by her head. Stand your dog on a flat, solid surface. If you have a small dog, you should consider standing her on a counter or table. Make certain her legs are perpendicular to the floor; that is, her legs should form a 90-degree angle to the surface. Run your hand over the back of her neck to her back. The highest point over the shoulder is the point of the withers. Use a tape measure to find the distance from this point in a straight line to the floor.

For a Collar

Most collars are intended to fit around the middle of your dog’s neck. Place a tape measure right above your dog’s shoulder blades at the back of her neck. Bring the tape measure forward to the point of her breastbone and around her neck. Pull the tape measure so that it is snug, but not tight. Add two inches to this measurement. If the measurement is between two different collar sizes, purchase the larger size. Some specialty collars require different measurements. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for measuring your dog when purchasing these collars.

For a Coat

Measure your dog’s chest size as you would for a harness. Measure her topline by placing the measuring tape at the base of her neck at the top of her withers and bringing it along her spine to the base of her tail.

For a Crate

Obtain your dog’s height by measuring from the point of her withers to the floor. Measure your dog’s length by placing your tape measure at the point of her breast bone and pulling it to the point of the bony protrusions below the base of her tail. Add enough length and height to these measurements for your dog to stand with her head erect and for her to lie down in a fully extended position. If you are shipping your dog by plane, you may be required to have a crate tall enough to provide a certain distance between the top of the crate and the top of her head. Measure your dog from the bony point at the back of your dog’s head to the floor with her standing in a normal position.