Whether you're just getting a kennel to transport your dog or putting in a crate bed to make it a bedroom all its own, it's important that you choose the right size. Instead of relying on eyeballing it, follow a few preparatory steps before you shop, and then choose the kennel that fits your dog's size.
Measure Your Dog
If you're using a kennel or crate to train your dog, transport it, or give it its own room, it needs to fit your dog. A kennel that's too small can make a dog uncomfortable. A kennel that's too large can make a dog feel unsafe.
Grab a tape measure and measure your dog while standing, taking a measurement from the nose to the base of the tail for its length. For its height, have your dog sit and then measure it, as some dogs are taller while sitting. Add between 2 and 4 inches to both measurements for the ideal crate height and length.
If you have a puppy, you probably don't want to constantly buy increasingly larger kennels as it grows. Instead, buy a kennel that fits an adult-size dog of that breed. Use dividers or a box inside the kennel to temporarily reduce its size.
Kennels As a Play Place
If you're getting a kennel to give your dog an enclosed place to play, you can get whatever size you want, so long as it fits your space. Outdoor kennels are a fun choice for dogs if you have a yard but don't want them to run off, while indoor kennels are great for limiting dogs to a certain area of the house.
Kennels for Smaller Dogs
The smallest dog kennels measure about 24 inches, with slightly larger kennels measuring up to 30 inches. Keep in mind that each manufacturer is a bit different as far as kennel lengths and size categories go, so you can give or take a couple inches with the length measurement of each size.
These kennels fit smaller breeds of dogs that weigh fewer than 35 to 40 pounds, such as the Jack Russell terrier, Maltese, miniature poodle, and French bulldog, among other small breeds. These small kennels also work well for puppies, if you only plan to use the crate while your dog is a puppy.
If you're not sure what size to get, it's safer to go up a size. You can always put in a kennel mat or other small dog furniture to take up some room.
Kennels for Medium and Large Dogs
Medium-size kennels are around 36 inches long, and can accommodate dogs in the 40- to 70-pound range. Bulldogs, cocker spaniels, and American Eskimo dogs at a normal adult size all fit well in these size kennels.
Large-size kennels are around 42 inches long, and can accommodate dogs in the 70 to 90 pound range. If you have an adult Dalmatian, border collie, Labrador retriever, or golden retriever, it should be comfortable in one of these kennels.
Kennels for the Big Breeds
At the largest end of the kennel size range are extra-large and jumbo size kennels. Extra-large kennels are around 48 inches long, and can fit dogs that weigh between 90 and 110 pounds, such as Alaskan malamutes, German shepherds, and bloodhounds. Jumbo kennels are about 54 inches long and suited for dogs weighing over 110 pounds, such as Great Danes, Saint Bernards, and mastiffs.
While a plastic kennel or a soft-sided kennel is an option for smaller dogs, it's advisable to stick with a metal kennel for dogs that weigh 90 pounds or more. Non-metal kennels may suffer damage from a big dog getting excited or deciding to test its strength.