What size dog crate should you get and which type is best?

Dog crate size guide written above a gold man and question mark in front of dog crate

© / Ryhor

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:

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

  • 9 What Types Of Dog Crate Can You Buy?
  • 10 Wire Dog Crates
  • 10.1 Advantages of Wire Crates:
  • 10.2 Disadvantages of Wire Crates
  • 11 Plastic Dog Crates
  • 11.1 Advantages of Plastic Crates
  • 11.2 Disadvantages of Plastic Crates
  • 12 Soft-Sided Nylon Dog Crates
  • 12.1 Advantages of Soft-Sided Crates
  • 12.2 Disadvantages of Soft-Sided Crates
  • 13 Stylish Dog Crates
  • 13.1 Advantages of Wooden Crates
  • 13.2 Disadvantages of Wooden Crates
  • 14 So Which Type of Crate Is Best?
  • 15 Recommended Crates By Us!
  • 16 Conclusion
  • 17 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.

    Video: How to Find the Best Dog Crate Size

    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.

    Video: How to Select a Dog Crate

    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

    what size dog crate measuring lengthStep 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.

    What size dog crate measuring the heightStep 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.

    Video: Best Type Of Dog Crate To Buy

    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?

    42 inch dog crate next to a labrador silhouette on white background

    Vector dog icon © / kubanek

    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.

    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

    Midwest iCrate Pet Crate with dog inside on white bg

    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

    ellie bo dog crate for adolescents The series of crates by ‘Ellie Bo’ are in my opinion, one of the best quality and greatest value to be found in the UK.

    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!

    Click to learn more / Buy from Amazon


    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!

    More information:

    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:

    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 :-)

    Please be aware this page contains affiliate links and LabradorTrainingHQ receives a small commission if you make any purchases through any such links. This has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay and we are very grateful for your support.

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