How Big Should A Dog Kennel Be?

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Outdoor kennels are a great way to ensure that your dog spends enough time exercising outside & getting fresh air. They are easy to clean, easy to maintain, and also relatively cheap. 

However, deciding the correct size for your dog can be pretty confusing. Your pooch must have plenty of space to relax in his kennel. 

Here, we will discuss the perfect choice for you, depending on your dog’s breed and yard size.

How Big Should a Kennel Be?

Two saint Bernard dogs in breeding kennel

The size is one of the greatest factors in deciding whether or not your pooch will love its kennel. According to the American Kennel Club, the crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lay down comfortably. 

Remember, these are the minimum requirements. If your dog will be spending more time in their kennel, then it must be big enough to hold other things, like a bed, toys, and food & water bowls. 

Thus, your pooch will be able to get ample physical and mental exercise, even while spending time in their crate.

Factors That Influence Kennel Size

Kennel proportions are totally dependent on your dog’s preferences, your requirements, and your lifestyle. However, it’s essential that you choose the proper size for your pet. If you’re confused between 2 sizes, always size up.

Breed Size

Naturally, the breed of the dog matters the most when choosing the perfect size kennel. 

If the kennel has extra space to accommodate movement, your dog will feel calm & relaxed in there. Otherwise, they may avoid their kennel as they view it almost as a punishment. 

Of course, bigger dogs need larger crates. Refer to this table below to identify the perfect size for your dog. 

Dog Weight

Kennel Size (length” x width”)

Dog Breed

Dog Weight

Kennel Size (length” x width”)

Dog Breed

Dog Weight

Dog Weight

Dog Weight

Dog Weight

Kennel Size (length” x width”)

Kennel Size (length” x width”)

Kennel Size (length” x width”)

Kennel Size (length” x width”)

Dog Breed

Dog Breed

Dog Breed

Dog Breed

Dog Category

Dog Category

Dog Category

Dog Category

Dog Category

Dog Category

<10 Pounds

19″ x 11″

Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Bichon Frisé

Extra-Small Dog

10-20 pounds

24″ x 18″

Jack Russel Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Havanese

Small Dog

20-40 pounds

30″ x 22″

Cocker Spaniel, Bulldog, Corgi

Medium Dog

40-60 pounds

36″ x 26″

Pointers, Portuguese Water Dogs, Bulldogs

Large Dog

60-80 pounds

42″ x 34″ 

Labrador, Golden Retriever, Giant Schnauzer 

Extra-Large Dog

80-130 pounds

48″ x 42″

Newfoundlands, Rottweilers, Bernese Mountain Dog

Extra-Extra-Large Dog

Keep in mind that this table shouldn’t be taken at face value. For a more personalized selection, measure your dog and ensure that the kennel is at least a few inches larger than your dog’s width and length.

To measure your dog’s length, measure from the tip of his nose to the base of his tail, along his side. Ensure that your dog is fully stretched out when you do so.

To measure your dog’s width, measure across the widest part of his body, which is most often the shoulders. 

Furthermore, account for the fact that different dogs have different activity levels. If your dog is a couch potato, chances are he will need a smaller kennel where he can just lounge.

On the other hand, if your dog is always active & moving around, then he might do well with a larger kennel with room to play.

Medical Needs

Some dogs suffer from conditions such as joint pain or hip dysplasia. This is especially common in larger breeds.

These dogs will often have limited activity levels and range of motion, so that they would fair better with a smaller kennel. However, ensure that you give them plenty of exercise outside the kennel. 

Moreover, other dogs have issues where they must take medicines multiple times throughout the day. In this case, opt for a kennel that is large enough to fit both you and the dog.

This is because it is much easier to enter the kennel rather than to pull your pooch out of it a few times daily.

Thus, look for a kennel with a door height of about 5 feet to make it possible for most people to enter.

Sleeping Preferences

Multi Level Dog Kennels

While some dogs are totally fine with sleeping on the floor, other dogs can’t doze off without a warm & comfy bed. According to your pet’s preferences, you may need to add a bed into the kennel.

If you do so, you have to make sure that the kennel has lots of indoor space for your dog to play, eat, and urinate, apart from the bed area.

Dogs have the natural inclination to separate their living area by function. Therefore, they won’t relieve themselves in the same area where they sleep if they can help it.

So, giving them enough space to be able to divide up their kennel & stay away from their bed makes a world of difference. 

Toys

If you have a young puppy, you must give them tons of toys to stimulate their mind and body. A fun choice for entertainment is to add outdoor/indoor toys like a tire, a children’s slide, or a baby pool.

All these toys will prevent boredom in your pup & is also a practical choice, as they can help your dog entertain itself. 

Therefore, if you plan on adding lots of toys into your dog’s kennel, you need to make sure that you have enough space for them. A space that is overcrowded with food & toys will stress out your dog as they won’t understand where to sleep, eat, and relieve themselves.

Yard Shape

Dog House Kennel

If you have a pool or another large space consumer in your yard, you know how difficult it is to plan out your outdoor space. It seems impossible to install a suitable kennel for your dog due to the shape of your yard.

The goal should always be to maximize the space you have available. To do this, consider investing in a modular kennel.

This comes with just the panels, which you can connect in any way that you like. Therefore, you get so much more flexibility, and you can design the kennel how you want, based on the unique shape of your yard.

I’ve seen people have an hourglass shape, an L-shape, and a trapezoidal shape kennel, just to maximize the space. Don’t be limited by the traditional rectangular shape. Cool kennel shapes look great & will be loved by your dog!

If you find that you just can’t generate enough space for a decent-sized kennel in your yard, you can try installing a kennel in your side yard.

This creates more of a run-style kennel, as it is long and more narrow. However, a side yard can still provide lots of space for your dog to run around and is a great choice for dogs who are more active. 

Number of Dogs

If you are a breeder, or even just have more than 1 pet dog, then you must get a larger kennel. In fact, I would recommend separating your pets to give all of them a little alone time. In my opinion, dogs should live separately, whether they are of the same or opposite gender.

Forcing adult dogs to share their living space can get very frustrating. Hence, I would recommend getting a larger kennel and dividing it in the middle with a welded-metal wall.

This ensures that your dogs get a good night’s sleep. Also, having separate food & water bowls means that you can identify how much each dog is eating & if it is enough.

If your dogs are reactive & have a tendency to set each other off, I recommend covering the wire wall with a noise-canceling material. This prevents them from triggering each other too much and keeps your yard much quieter overall.  

If you have quite a lot of dogs, then you can build a very large, divided kennel with the back wall as the outer wall of your house.

This is known as an indoor-outdoor kennel, and it’s a great option to save money on materials if you need to make a very large kennel.

Also, you can design your outdoor kennel in such a way that you place doors in between the individual kennels. These can be opened during the day for playtime, where dogs can meet their friends & hang out together. 

Time spent in the kennel

German shepherd resting in its wooden kennel

If your dog will be spending a lot of time in its kennel, then you must ensure that it is very large & allows for physical activity.

Conversely, if you are only planning to keep your dog in the kennel overnight, then it can be smaller & only house a bed, a water bowl, and a few toys.

Exercise

It’s common knowledge that an exercised dog is a relaxed dog. This is especially true if your dog is a working breed. Dogs like german shepherds & border collies have tons of energy.

If they don’t expend it throughout the day with lots of exercise, then they will be restless the whole day and unable to sit still.

Therefore, if your dog doesn’t get enough exercise daily, then you must get them a larger kennel for them to play in. If they don’t have enough space for this, it may lead to negative behaviors like barking, banging on the kennel walls, and chewing the wire. 

Whelping

If you are a professional breeder, chances are you have a pregnant female or a dog you are planning to impregnate with a stud. 

In this case, you will need some kind of whelping area for the bitch. This could be a whelping box in the corner or a larger whelping area in the kennel. Furthermore, you should ensure that the kennel is large enough so that you can comfortably stand if you need to assist with the birth. 

You Might Also Like: Dog Breeder Kennel Ideas & Design

Can a kennel be too big?

As I’ve mentioned, it’s essential that the kennel is big enough to comfortably hold your dog. In fact, studies show that dogs in smaller pens even tend to be less interactive & engage in strange behaviors! 

However, you might be wondering if a kennel could be too big. Is bigger always better? The answer is no. Kennels can be too big for a dog, and this could lead to discomfort and dirtiness.

Kennels should be secure and cozy. Much like a den, dogs like to feel surrounded by the walls of the kennel. This helps them feel safe & helps to reduce their anxiety.

dedicated girl training dog in kennel

Moreover, as we already discussed, dogs have a tendency to divide up their living space. So, they assign one area for sleeping, one area for eating, and so on. Similarly, they will have a bathroom area and will typically keep the rest of their kennel sanitary.

However, if they have a very large kennel, then they will likely use an entire half of the kennel as a bathroom. This can become very hard to clean and is also a waste of space. If your dog refuses to play or eat in half of their kennel, what’s the point of such a large enclosure?

Therefore, we recommend choosing a kennel length that is less than two times the length of the dog. This is a good balance, which ensures you have a good-sized kennel.

Why should I get an outdoor dog kennel?

Concrete Dog Kennels

There are many benefits for getting an outdoor kennel, especially if you live in a temperate climate with tons of outdoor space. 

  • An outdoor kennel is great for leaving your dog at home alone. It’s impossible for your dog to rip up your pillows if he’s watching the birds outside!
    Plus, if you need to, you can easily ask someone else to fill up his water & food without having to enter your home. 
  • Kennels also allow for more fresh air. If you are a busy person, it can be hard to spend enough time with your dog outdoors. An outdoor kennel means that your dog will never be pent up indoors.
  • An outdoor kennel also means that you are able to leave your dog outdoors alone. Your dog will also become more mindful about hazards outdoors, so there’s no need to watch them like a hawk.
  • An outdoor kennel is much more like the wild, which they are better conditioned to. Therefore, an outdoor kennel can help make their potty-training process much easier.
    They are better able to identify that they should relieve themselves on the grass & sleep on the bed. 
  • Finally, leaving them outdoors provides them with tons of visual stimulation, from the birds flying above to the squirrels clambering up the trees. Therefore, they are less likely to get bored.
  • They are also able to expend their energy freely and run around without the risk of knocking a vase down!

In Conclusion

Outdoor kennels are a fantastic option, as they prevent boredom, give your dog tons of outdoor space, and help them with toilet training.

However, it’s essential that you consider factors like your dog breed & size, activity level, yard shape, and preferences to choose the most comfortable kennel size. 

Meet our writer

Anoushka’s love for animals began with taking care of the cows & chickens on her family farm. As she grew older, this love transformed into a love for dogs. She volunteers in a dog shelter, so she is well-versed in the care and comfort of all breeds of dogs.

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