This is the 4th installment in the 8 part series ‘Crate training – the complete guide‘.
This dog crate size guide will help you to make the correct decision when buying a crate by answering the all important questions:
What size dog crate should I buy? And What type of dog crate should I buy?
After reading the last two articles in the series that explained why you should use a dog crate, followed by how and when to use a dog crate, you should be convinced how beneficial they are, know how and when to use one correctly and are now ready to buy a crate before moving on to learning crate training.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- How To Choose A Dog Crate
- What Size Dog Crate Do You Need?
- Save Money, Buy An Adult Dog Crate And Re-Size It For Your Puppy
- How To Measure A Dog For A Crate
- What Size Dog Crate Should You Get For A Labrador?
- What Size Crate Should You Get For A Labrador Puppy?
- What Size Dog Crate Should You Get For A Labrador Cross?
- Dog Crate Sizes – A Guide for All Popular Breeds
- What Types Of Dog Crate Can You Buy?
- Wire Dog Crates
- Plastic Dog Crates
- Soft-Sided Nylon Dog Crates
- Stylish Dog Crates
- So Which Type of Crate Is Best?
- Recommended Crates By Us!
- More information:
How To Choose A Dog Crate
In line with the sites focus, most people reading this series will be looking to buy a crate for a Labrador Retriever, but I have received questions from owners of Labrador crosses and other breeds, so I’ll address buying crates for all dogs, not just Labradors.
There are a few things you need to consider before buying a crate and we will cover all those points in this crate buying guide. The most important point being the size you buy to ensure it’s fit for purpose.
But there’s also different types, the material they’re made from, and the place you wish to put it to consider as this may affect your final decision on the design.
Dog crates aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing of things but there are some ‘stylish’ options and covers for the wire versions to make them look less of an eyesore :-)
What Size Dog Crate Do You Need?
It must be big enough to allow your dog ample room to move around without offering too much space.
Your dog needs to sit up straight without banging their head on the ceiling, be able to turn around with ease and lay down on their side with their paws stretched out without being cramped.
Possibly the biggest mistake people make when buying a crate is to buy one too large, thinking they’re doing their dogs a favor by buying them extra room.
But to use a crate for house training, to take advantage of the natural instinct to not soil their sleeping area, it mustn’t be big enough for your dog to use one end as a bathroom and the other as a bedroom.
Also, If the crate’s too large it won’t provide the feeling of safety and security that your older dog would enjoy in a properly sized crate. They’ll feel more like they’re rattling around in a big empty room. Again, this kind of misses the point of a crate.
So what size dog crate do you need? Before getting to that, there’s one important money-saving tip we should discuss first.
Save Money, Buy An Adult Dog Crate And Re-Size It For Your Puppy
Your puppy will need a much smaller crate than a full-grown adult dog, though they will eventually become a full-grown adult dog.
But it’s unreasonable to think you can keep upgrading your crates for larger ones as your puppy grows. This could get expensive very quickly.
So when you buy one, it’s best you do to fit the size of an adult dog and buy a divider to reduce the size of a larger crate to suit a puppy.
Dividers are temporary and removable wire or wooden panels you insert into the crate to adjust the size available. Or a wooden board or sealed cardboard box will suffice to reduce the space.
This way, you only need to buy a single crate you can increase the available size of as your puppy grows and not buy many sizes to suit your growing dogs proportions.
How To Measure A Dog For A Crate
Step 1: With your dog standing tall and proud on all fours, take measurement A, from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail. I stress to the base of their tail, NOT the tip as this would make the crate too large!
Now add 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10cm) to A and you’ll have the perfect length of crate for them to stretch out and move around without having too much space.
Step 2: Next, because some dogs are taller in a seated position than they are standing on all fours, sit your dog down so they’re sitting proud and upright.
Now, referring to the image take measurement B, from the floor to the tallest point of their nose head.
Again, add 2 to 4 inches to this and this will give you the shortest height the crate should be.
Armed with these measurements you’ll now be able to buy the correct size crate for your Labrador…or any other dog for readers of Labrador crosses or other breeds.
You need a crate that is A + 2 to 4 inches long, and B + 2 to 4 inches high. The width will be in proportion to these measurements and you don’t need to worry about this.
What Size Dog Crate Should You Get For A Labrador?
In the majority of cases, a 42 inch crate is the perfect size for an adult Labrador.
But there are size differences between Labradors: English labs Vs American labs, and male Vs female, so if you’re buying for an adult Lab it’s always best to take the measurements as described above to find the correct size.
When you shop for a crate, the sizes are usually given as a length and weight. For example, 42 inch and suitable for dogs between 70 and 90 pounds.
With a 42 inch crate, the other dimensions are designed to suit and are almost always correct. However, please do check the height and compare to the measurement taken above to be absolutely sure. Especially if buying an unconventional or custom-made one.
You can see a handpicked list of the best dog crates available for Labs by clicking here.
What Size Crate Should You Get For A Labrador Puppy?
To buy the correct size crate for a Labrador puppy, you want to estimate the size they’ll be as an adult dog and buy one large enough for that, along with a divider to make it smaller until your puppy grows.
You could buy a smaller crate and upgrade later on, but I think that’s just unnecessary spending.
For a Labrador puppy, buy a 42 inch crate and a divider.
This will almost always be the correct size for them when fully grown.
The same applies if you have a Labrador cross puppy or one from another breed. Find out the size you need for your adult dog, purchase this and a divider to cut down the size for your puppy until they grow into the full size crate.
For a list of highly recommended crates suitable for Labrador puppies, please click here.
But this begs the question…
What Size Dog Crate Should You Get For A Labrador Cross?
This isn’t an easy one to answer. If a Labrador is crossed with another breed, their final size will vary greatly depending on the other breed(s) in the mix.
The best you can do is research how large they will grow by asking other owners in online forums, or make an educated guess going by the breed types that make up your dog.
Dog Crate Sizes – A Guide for All Popular Breeds
Because I get a lot of questions and comments regarding dog crate sizes for all breeds – not just Labradors – I’ve decided to update this guide with advice for all the most popular breeds.
Below you will see listed all the commonly found dog crate sizes, a little information about the size and weight of dog they are suitable for, along with a list of the breeds they suit, listed in alphabetical order.
Once you’ve found your breed, I’ve then added a link at the end of each section that will take you to a page listing the best quality and highest value crates perfectly sized for your exact breed of dog.
I hope this proves useful!
18″ – 22″ Dog Crate Sizes for Extra Small Dog Breeds
Extra small is the best size dog crate for:
Extra small crates are for dogs weighing under 25 lbs, up to 20 inches in length from nose to base of tail and up to 14 inches from floor to top of head when sitting.
Extra small crate dimensions include: 18″ L x 12″ W x 14″ H; 22″ L x 13″ W x 16″ H; 19″ L x 12″ W x 15″ H.
Click here for a list of the best crates for extra small breeds.
24″ Dog Crate Size for Small Dog Breeds
Small is the best size dog crate for:
Small crates are perfectly suited to dogs under 30 lbs in weight, up to 22 inches long from nose to tail and up to 19 inches tall measuring from the floor to the top of their head when seated.
Small crate dimensions include: 24″ L X 18″ W X 21″ H; 24″ L x 18″ W x 19″ H; 24″ L x 17″ W x 20″ H.
Click here for a list of the best crates for small breeds.
30″ Dog Crate Size for Medium Dog Breeds
Medium is the best size dog crate for:
Medium sized crates are good for dogs under 40 lbs, up to 28 inches from base of tail to tip of the nose and up to 23 inches from floor to top of forehead when measured in a sitting position.
Medium crate dimensions include: 30″ L x 19″ W x 21″ H; 30″ L x 21″ W x 24″ H; 30″ L x 19″ W x 22″ H.
Click here for a list of the best crates for medium breeds.
36″ Dog Crate Size for Large Dog Breeds
Large is the best size dog crate for:
Large crates are perfectly suited to dogs that weigh under 70 lbs, are 34 inches or less from nose to base of tail and measure 25 inches or less from top of forehead to the floor when they are sitting.
Large crate dimensions include: 36″L x 24″W x 27″H; 36″L x 23″W x 25″H; 36″L x 23″W x 26″H.
Click here for a list of the best crates for large breeds.
42″ Dog Crate Size for Extra Large Dog Breeds
Extra large is the best size dog crate for:
Extra large crates suit dogs weighing under 90 lbs, up to 40 inches from nose to base of tail and up to 29 inches from floor to top of head when sitting.
Extra large crate dimensions include: 42″ L x 28″ W x 31″ H; 42″ L x 28″ W x 30″ H; 42″ L x 29″ W x 31″ H.
Click here for a list of the best crates for extra large breeds.
46″ – 72″ Dog Crate Sizes for XXL Giant Dog Breeds
Extra, extra large is the best size dog crate for:
XXL crates suit giant breeds that weigh from 90 lbs up to 150 lbs, from 46 to 68 inches from nose to base of tail and up to 44 inches from floor to top of head when sitting.
XXL crate dimensions include: 46″ L x 30″ W x 33″ H; 54″ L x 37″ W x 45″ H; 72″ L X 45″ W x 48″ H.
Click here for a list of the best crates for giant breeds.
What Types Of Dog Crate Can You Buy?
There are many different styles and types of crates available and each variety has advantages and disadvantages.
The one you choose depends on how you wish to use it, how destructive your dog is and whether you’re trying to get a certain style to fit with the theme of your home.
The 4 main types available…and there are many more…are as follows:
- Wire crates
- Plastic crates
- Soft-sided crates
- Stylish crates (wooden, rattan.)
Wire Dog Crates
Wire dog crates are possibly the most used, the most commonly seen and generally speaking what people think of when you mention a dog crate.
They come with a single door as standard, but some models have multiple doors (side and roof) for greater access.
Advantages of Wire Crates:
- Very easy to keep clean.
- Allows the greatest airflow of all crate styles which is particularly nice in hotter climates.
- Allows the dog inside the greatest visibility which is good for those that need to still feel a part of things and know what’s going on around them…Some Labradors are like this!
- Many models fold flat for portability.
- Can come with divider panels for adjusting the crate size to suit a growing puppy.
- Most models have a slide out tray for ease of cleaning.
Disadvantages of Wire Crates
- For some dogs, instead of comforting them being able to look around and see the family, the visibility can cause whining and stress. Some dogs are best covered over…but you can of course cover a wire crate.
- Can feel exposed, offering little shelter in colder climates.
- They may be collapsible for portability, but they can also be quite heavy!
- The noisiest of crates when dogs move around a lot.
- The easiest of crates to escape from for determined and intelligent dogs.
To See a handpicked list of the best quality and value wire dog crates, please click here.
Plastic Dog Crates
Plastic dog crates are the most often used for travel, particularly air travel. When you purchase a plastic crate, the documentation will say whether it’s ‘airline approved’ for this purpose or not.
The majority are marketed as ‘pet carriers’ or ‘transport’ crates because they’re often bought as a second crate just for this use. But they’re fit for more permanent and day-to-day use too.
Advantages of Plastic Crates
- Lighter and hence more portable than wire, metal ones.
- Bottom of crate can sometimes be used as an open dog bed if the crate is no longer wanted.
- More sheltered, offering better insulation in colder climates
- Better for those that whine and cry if they can see activity and want to be a part of it. Less visibility better for easily distracted dogs and a greater feeling of security for a dog.
- Many are ‘airline approved’ so can be used for air travel (wire crates aren’t.)
- Some models have attachable / removable food and water dishes.
- More difficult than most wire crates for escape artists to get out of.
Disadvantages of Plastic Crates
- Enclosed nature can stress some dogs who prefer visibility of their surroundings (cure this with crate training!)
- Harder to clean and therefore harder to keep fresh, and plastic can hold odors over time that become hard to eliminate.
- Cannot fold flat so need more storage space than wire crates.
- Reduced ventilation can cause overheating in places with a hot climate.
- Not very attractive, although people have different tastes.
For my pick of the best plastic travel crates, please click here.
Soft-Sided Nylon Dog Crates
Soft sided crates look a little less intimidating for first time users than imposing wire ones and I think they can be a good choice for crate-averse people who often find them easier to use as they look less ‘like a cage’.
Way more practical for travelling types too, as can be folded flat and and weigh next to nothing, making them a highly portable option.
Advantages of Soft-Sided Crates
- Extremely light and portable, most coming with a carry bag.
- Extremely easy to store when not being used and folded.
- Soft and flexible, they are more comfortable for the dog inside compared to most crates
- Great to use when out camping due to being extremely easy to put up and take down.
Disadvantages of Soft-Sided Crates
- Not the most durable and long-lasting.
- Destructive dogs can literally claw and chew their way out, destroying the crate in the process.
- Difficult to keep clean after using for any length of time – especially if your dog has any ‘accidents’ in it.
- Some dogs can learn how to unzip and open the doors.
- Personally I think they’re the least attractive and ‘cheap’ looking. But again, it’s personal preference.
For my pick of the best, most highly recommended soft-sided crates, please click here.
Stylish Dog Crates
There are many styles of crate to suit those people who simply cannot stand the look of a wire or plastic one in their home, or are looking for something a little more stylish.
Available in many different styles, with options for various traditional furniture hardwood materials, there’s many options to provide your dog their own space, without having to compromise on the look of your home.
There are crates made from rattan or a variety of finished wood crates available.
Advantages of Wooden Crates
- Can more easily fit into the look of a home and its decor.
- Can double up as a shelf or end table to offer a usable surface.
- Huge number of styles available.
Disadvantages of Wooden Crates
- Not good for destructive dogs who can really damage wooden crates.
- Not good for the house training process as any accidents will leave stains, possibly hard to remove odors and be hard to clean thoroughly.
- Expensive when compared to the others!
For a small selection of high quality, stylish, wooden furniture style crates, please click here.
So Which Type of Crate Is Best?
In my opinion, until your dog is house trained and completely over their destructive chewing stage, the most practical crate is without doubt a collapsible wire type dog crate. It’s the most sensible choice of crate you can buy.
You can see our pick of the best collapsible wire crates available by clicking here.
Compared to other styles, a wire crate is by far the easiest to clean if there are any accidents, are highly durable and is the only one that cannot be damaged by the scratching and chewing of a destructive dog…and many Labradors love to scratch and chew!
They aren’t the most portable when compared to plastic crates, but can be folded flat and transported if need be, it’s just a little heavier but still manageable.
They may not provide as much privacy and the ‘den feeling’ of safety and security that other types offer, and they may offer little in the way of insulation in colder climates, but these problems are easily solved with the addition of a crate cover.
Finally, they’re reasonably inexpensive and due to them being so tough, will outlast most other styles of crate.
Recommended Crates By Us!
With so many crates available to choose from, making the right choice is no easy task. So to help with this we’ve done the research for you:
To see a selection of the very best quality and highest value crates available from Amazon, please click here.
Or if you prefer, you can see our ‘Top-Pick’ of the recommended crates below.
These are the most popular crates with the highest feedback and most satisfied customers you can find. Quality and value proven by the feedback from many, many previous buyers:
My Top Recommendation For US Readers: – Midwest iCrate
This is – in my opinion – the best value for money crate available and with extremely good customer feedback to be found all over the web, many would agree.
It’s a strong, durable, easy to clean crate available in all sizes from 22″ up to 48″ to suit all breeds, with the 42″ being perfect for Labrador Retrievers.
With a divider included free of charge, this single crate bought for a new puppy can be resized to provide increasing room and still fit them as an adult. So it’s one crate for life.
This is one crate you should definitely shortlist and compare to any others you may be considering.
My Top Recommendation For UK Readers: Ellie-Bo Folding Crate
They have a huge amount of extremely good customer feedback and receive high ratings from previous buyers everywhere they are for sale on the web.
2-doors for easy access, highly durable and long-lasting, they come pre-assembled and are easy to fold down and put up again when needed. It would be extremely hard to better value in the UK for the money, so is definitely one to consider!
In order to get the right size dog crate for your Labrador (or any other dog) you should follow the measuring guidelines detailed above and buy the perfect fit.
But if you have a puppy, buy a crate for the size of adult dog they will grow to become and use a divider to reduce the size of this larger crate to suit them. For Labrador Retrievers this will be a 42-inch crate.
A metal wire crate is the most practical and best value choice for a number of reasons as detailed above.
But for transporting in a car or by air, a plastic crate would be the best choice. If you can afford to, I would suggest a permanent metal wire one for the home and a plastic one for travel.
For those that would like to preserve an overall look to their house there are many stylish finished wood crates available and I think these can really look good in some houses. But I wouldn’t buy one until you know your dog is fully house trained and over their destructive chewing stage, otherwise a wooden crate isn’t going to last very long!
This was part 4 in an 8-part series that details everything you need to know about the use of a crate and crate training your puppy. The information applies equally well to dogs of all breeds and not just Labradors.
The Entire series is linked to here:
- Part 1: Crate training – The complete guide (introduction)
- Part 2: Why use a dog crate – and is it cruel to crate a dog?
- Part 3: How to use a dog crate – When and when NOT to crate a dog
- Part 4: What size dog crate should you get and which type is best?
- Part 5: What to put in a dog crate, where to put it, how to get it prepared
- Part 6: How to crate train a puppy: Day, night, even if you work
- Part 7: How to crate train an older dog – Yours or adopted
- Part 8: A List Of Dog Crates Highly Recommended By Labrador Training HQ
I’ve tried to cover literally every question I could imagine on dog crates and crate training in the article series above, but of course it’s hard to cover every question that people may possibly have.
So if there’s anything you need to know but cannot find an answer for above, please feel free to leave your questions in the comments section below and I will happily give all the help I can :-)
Product image credits: © Amazon.com and midwesthomes4pets.com
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