Making sure our dogs are comfortable is a first step in getting the right size crate.
That’s why my 13 year old chocolate lab loves his and sleeps in it during the day as well as night. The door is always open and has been since he was about 4 years old.
So should a dog be able to sit up or stand in the crate? A full size dog should have enough room to sit up and stand in the crate, as well as being able to turn around and lie on his/her side to sleep.
We’ll explore below more about crate sizes, how much space a dog needs, how to measure your dog for the right size crate and what to do when you get a crate for a puppy.
Appropriate Dog Crate Size Guideline
First step is to measure your dog
To make sure you choose the right size crate for your dog, you will need to determine the height, length, and weight of your dog.
How to measure the length of your dog
Have your dog stand perfectly on all fours and measure from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail, not to the end of the tail, as this would make the crate too big.
Next add 2-4 inches to that measure and that will give you the length of the crate you need.
How to measure the height of your dog
Have your dog sit down and measure from the floor to the very top of the head.
Next add 2-4 inches to that measure and that will give you the minimum height of the perfect crate.
What about the width of the crate?
This is automatically determined based on the height and length of the crate.
Crate Size Chart
Here’s a quick crate size chart to give you an idea of the right size to buy so that your dog is able to sit up, stand, lie down and turn around in the crate.
|Breeds||Crate Size||Dog Weight||Dog Height|
|Extra Small||18″ – 22″||1 – 10 lbs||6″ – 12″|
|Small||24″ – 25″||11 – 25 lbs||13″ – 17″|
|Medium||30″ – 31″||26 – 40 lbs||18″ – 19″|
|Intermediate||36″ – 37 1/4″||41 – 70 lbs||20″ – 22″|
|Large||42″ – 43 1/4″||71 – 90 lbs||23″ – 26″|
|Extra Large||48″ – 49″||91 – 110 lbs||26″ – 28″|
|XXL – Giant||54″||over 110 lbs||29″ – 40″|
What happens if the dog crate is too small
If your dog is not able to sit up or stand it’s because the crate is too small.
Your dog will feel stress and anxiety. A dog can even experience claustrophobia. Being in a crate is supposed to be enjoyable and comfortable for the dog.
A dog might injure itself trying to get out, like pushing against the sides or the door with their nose.
A long time ago, we had adopted a 1-year old rescue and we didn’t know about his background, or what he had gone through. He was a pretty big husky-mixed dog.
We had to go out for about 2 hours the 2nd day we had him. I borrowed a crate from a friend, the plastic kind. I had to push him in…what a mistake! I didn’t know any better.
When we came home he had stressed so much that he had scraped the inside of the crate and his nose was bleeding.
From that day on, this poor dog never went in a crate again and never destroyed anything in the house. He was scared of my husband for a while but he became Momma’s boy.
It goes to show you that dogs can suffer from anxiety, and a crate too small would be a bad experience for him/her and you as well, because you would have trouble crate training him/her.
Never use the crate as a punishment! Instead make it a ‘room’ where your dog will want to sleep and relax.
How do you know if a dog is too big for the crate
If a dog’s nose and butt can touch at each end of the crate when he/she is lying down, the dog is too big for the crate.
If the dog’s head is hardly touching the top of the crate, but the dog can still turn around and lay down without touching the rest of the crate, it should be ok.
If you add a dog bed inside the crate, you’ll have to add the height of it when measuring your dog height.
What happens if the dog crate is too big
Remember that a dog crate should be a relaxing place similar to a den. It shouldn’t be cramped. Instead it should be cozy. In this case, bigger is not better.
If the crate is too big, it will make your dog feel unsafe.
Unless it’s for a puppy, which brings us to the next question…
Can you put a puppy in a large crate
Yes a puppy can be in a large crate as long as it comes with a divider which will help reduce the space the puppy has access to.
As the puppy grows, the divider can be adjusted until not needed anymore.
The benefit of buying this kind of crate is that it will save you money, since you won’t have to buy a small one and a bigger one.
Are you good at DIY projects?
Then you might want to try making a divider yourself.
I did some research and from the comments I found, it’s not easy, even I would say impossible for a plastic crate.
But if you have a wire crate, you could use plywood but it’s very important to sand down all the sides and corners so the puppy doesn’t get hurt.
Others suggested cardboard. If your puppy is a chewer though, I wouldn’t recommend it as his/her teeth are sharp and they like to use them. That cardboard wouldn’t last very long.
You probably can find tutorials on YouTube to help you with building one.
How big should a dog crate be for a puppy
Your puppy will grow and will eventually be snug in his/her crate.
In the meantime, getting a crate now that will fit your dog’s full size when he/she’s an adult is the best scenario.
As mentioned above, buying an adjustable one will be easy to make sure the puppy has enough room to move around and stretch to sleep, but no space where the puppy could decide to poop and pee.
Because if the puppy has enough room to lie down in one end of the crate and have his toilet at the other end, he’ll be a happy camper!
The initial purpose of crating a puppy is to train him/her to hold on until they can go do their business outside. And also not destroy your house.
Then eventually it becomes their safe place to enjoy and relax, even when they’re older like my chocolate lab.
The different kind of dog crates on the market
You’ll find 5 types of crates available. Some are best for small dogs or for travel, others are best for medium and large dogs and some are even furniture, which adds a nice touch to your decor.
The Plastic Carrier/Crate
These are mostly used when carrying small dogs or for travel in the car or flying.
The Metal Wire Crate
These crates are the most popular. You can get one that folds for easy transport. Some have only a front door, others have front and top doors. If you have a puppy, you could find a model that has the divider option.
The Heavy Duty Metal Crate
This kind of crate is suitable for large dogs and escapee dogs! It also has wheels for moving it around easily.
The Soft Dog Crate
A portable soft sided crate with mesh windows. Best for dogs who behave meaning not one who chews or claws as they can destroy the material.
The Wooden Dog Crate
These come in different colors and conveniently can be used as an end table. They do look better than the wire crates mentioned above, but again not for a dog who likes to chew or claw.
In the end
Make sure you measure your dog properly and choose the right size crate so your dog can sit up and stand in the crate and be comfortable.
As well, choose the type of crate that suits your lifestyle and the behaviour of your dog.