A dog crate is one of those essential purchases pet parents should ideally make before their pup comes home for the first time, as a crate can be a great help when housebreaking a puppy, to him get him used to his new environment in general and - and this is especially true of a lively, energetic puppy or larger dog - to help you protect your home and furniture from puppy whirlwinds while also providing them with a space of their own.
To be clear, a dog crate is not a dog cage. It should never be used as a place a pup is sent for punishment or is forcibly confined to for long periods of time. Instead it is his home within the home, your fur kid's own bedroom within the house, and so it should be roomy, comfortable and suitable for your unique pup's size and needs.
Sizing a Dog Crate
Breed Size and Room For Growth
One of the most important considerations when shopping for a dog crate is sizing it correctly, and as many people purchase a dog crate when their pooch is a puppy this can be a little more challenging as it will need to accommodate him as he grows.
For example, the average Golden Labrador puppy is 25 lbs at three months, but will probably hit 50lbs, at least, before their first birthday, so their crate will need to be able to accommodate that growth.
While you won't be able to make an exact estimate of your pup's eventual size there are general guidelines available online for almost every breed, including mixed breeds, that can help you make a good guess.
Dog crate and dog cage sizing should not just be based on weight alone though, as a good dog crate should also provide plenty of headroom as well. If yours is a tall pup - or will grow into being one - this needs to be taken into consideration too.
If you don't know how to measure your dog's height it is actually easy. The official measurement of height - the one used by pet accessory manufacturers everywhere is one taken from the paws to the wither, the highest point of a dog's shoulder blades. While some people think they should measure to the head that is actually not the case.
Average Dog Crate Sizes
Although it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and it is something you should always check again before buying a dog crate the following is a good basic guide to dog crate sizing according to breed type and weight:
Miniature pooch – under 25 lb. Chihuahua, Terrier, Dachshund, Yorkshire Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, Pug, Boston Terrier and Shih Tzu. Dog crate size: 18” to 25”
Small Dogs – 35 lb to 40 lb Pit Bull Terrier, Scottish Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, Springer Spaniel, Shar-Pei, Fox Terrier, and Spaniel. Dog crate size: 30” to 36”
Mid-size dogs up to 80 lb. Airedale Terrier, Border Collie, Dalmatian, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Bull Terrier. Dog crate size: 36” to 45”
Large dogs up to 100lb. German Shepherd, Newfoundland, Bloodhound, Greyhound, Irish Setter and Akita. Dog crate size: 50” to 59”
Giant dogs 100 lb and up Great Dane, Irish Wolfhound, Bernese Mountain Dog, Siberian Husky, Mastiff, St Bernard and Scottish Deerhound. Dog crate size: 60” and up
Dog Crate Types
Once you have determined what size dog crate will best suit your pup your next choice will involve determining the type of dog crate you are going to choose.
Most dog crates are used indoors, so weatherproofing is less of a concern than it is when buying an outdoor dog kennel, but you still need to look for one that is sturdy, safe and, in some cases as chew proof as possible.
While there are other choices for an indoor crate metal or plastic tend to be the most popular choices, although a growing number of people who would prefer that the dog crate 'blend in' with their furnishings are increasingly looking at wooden options instead.
Metal dog crates, the ones that do look a little more like a dog cage, are often the best choice for larger dogs who like to chew. Although they can look a little plain they can easily be 'dressed up' with the right dog crate pad and the fact that they can still see what is going on in the world around them while in their crate is something that anxious pups often find very soothing.
Plastic dog crates - and they come in lots of different colors and styles - are also very popular. They are lightweight, very easy to clean, and are the approved choice if you are going to take the crate along if your pup travels by air. Many are also a little more attractive than a metal dog crate when placed in the average home, but if your pup is a big chewer that advantage may be outweighed by the fact that they may be able to chew up the crate in less time than you'd like.
Now that you are better informed about what to look for in a dog crate for your pup it's time to go shopping. We offer a wide range of dog crate options for you to choose from so you are sure to find one that's just right for your very special dog.