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Choosing the Right Crate Size for Your Dog

When used correctly, crates are a great addition to your dog’s life. It can provide a secure, cozy den where your dog can rest comfortably.

Crates come in different styles and materials so that you can choose the right one for your dog. But the most important factor to consider is what size crate your dog needs.

To find the right crate size for your dog, measure their height from the floor to the top of their head. Then measure their length from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. Add 4” to these measurements and you’ve got a good idea of what crate size you need!

For instance, golden retrievers are on average 21” tall and 32” long. For this size, a 36L x 23W x 25H crate would be perfect. No need to worry if your dog can’t fully sit up in the crate (as this makes them a little taller than standing height), so long as they can stand comfortably. Also, check that your dog can get in and out of the crate without crouching.

When choosing the right crate size for your dog, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:

  • How big your puppy is going to get
  • How long your dog will be in the crate
  • The purpose of the crate
  • Your dog’s temperament
dog using wall entry pet door

Account for Growth

If you are adopting a puppy and want to crate train them, it might be a good idea to get a crate large enough to accommodate their predicted adult size.

You can also find crates with divider panels so that it is not too roomy for your puppy and provides a sense of security. The dividers can be removed as they grow.

Check out how to predict your puppy’s adult size by their paws here.

Length of Time in the Crate

If you need to leave your dog for extended periods of time, a crate might not be the best option.

In this scenario, you could look into doggy playpens where your pup can stay when you are away. This way the pen can have a bed, toys, water bowl, and anything else your dog might need if you leave them for more than a couple of hours, such as during the workday.

Another great option is adding a pet door to your home. This allows your dog to come and go from the yard while you’re away, freeing up your time and allowing them ample exercise throughout the day.

A high-quality pet door can make a world of difference in your dog’s life, and yours too!

Purpose of the Crate

If the crate is just going to be used for short trips—the vet, the dog park, etc—it probably doesn’t need to have as much wiggle room as a crate that your dog will be in for a couple of hours at a time. In this scenario, going for the minimum size is a good option.

However, if the crate is for long hours in the home or long car rides, your dog might appreciate a couple of extra inches to sit up and look around. You can even use a crate for a safe road trip with your dog.

dog standing by door

Your Dog’s Temperament

Consider your dog’s personality too. Anxious dogs may benefit from a crate that is just the right size for them to feel more secure and cozy. A more confident dog might like a slightly larger crate that they can sit up in.

Try to keep your dog’s crate in a very accessible location. This can be very helpful in the event of an emergency such as an earthquake or wildfire where you may need to get out with your dog and their crate in a hurry.

Curious about your dog’s sleeping positions in their new crate? See what you can learn about your dog from their sleeping habits.

Elizabeth Muenzen

Written by

Content Specialist

Pets: My dog Benji is mixed Yorkie, Poodle, Chihuahua, and MaltiPom (YorkiPooChiMaltiPom?), yet he mysteriously bears no resemblance to any of these breeds.
Fun stuff: I love to cook!

Content Specialist

Pets: My dog Benji is mixed Yorkie, Poodle, Chihuahua, and MaltiPom (YorkiPooChiMaltiPom?), yet he mysteriously bears no resemblance to any of these breeds.
Fun stuff: I love to cook!

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