You might have a concern about the use of a crate for your dog, whether the purchase is for the house breaking process, discouraging chewing or aiding in travel with your pet. To address this concern we need to remember that by nature, the dog is a pack animal. S/he likes to run with companions showing they still have some qualities and characteristics of their ancestors. This ancestry characteristic includes the natural need of having a den. Do not be concerned that you are putting your pet in a “cage”. The crate resembles the shelter of a small den. In the natural environment, it was a shallow hole, narrow passage that was big enough to stand up, turn around, lie down comfortably, and be protected from predators. In present-day, your pet considers you and your family their running pack and the cage a private space which offers the shelter of a small den. So when considering the purchase of a dog crate, you need to consider all of the natural tendencies of your pet.
You will find many articles explaining how to measure your dog’s height and length, dog crate size guides, and breed standard suggestions for crate size. To measure your dog’s height and length, the points on your dog are the following: For the length of the crate, measure from the tip of the dog’s nose to the base of the tail when the dog is in standing position, then add 2-4 inches. It is not recommended to measure to the end of the tail because it will make the crate too long. However, if your dog has a thick or hard tail, you do need to measure some of the tail. For the height of the crate, measure your dog from the floor to the tallest point of their nose/head while the dog is in sitting position. Again you need to add 2-4 inches to the height measurement. This will give you the shortest height of the crate. If your dog has erect ears as found in Scottish Terriers, you need to include that height of the ears. The inches added to your measurement range anywhere from a suggested 2 inches to 6 inches. One wonders why there is such a large range of additions. Some say add 2 inches for smaller dogs and up to 6 inches for larger dogs. Others say add 10%. For example, if the dog’s height is 17 inches, then 10% would be 1.7. You would add 2 inches to your height measurement. This would make the minimum height of your crate 19 inches. If the length of your dog is 27 inches, then 10% would be 2.7. You would add 3 inches, making the minimum length of your crate 30 inches. The width of the cage will naturally be determined by the height and length you have selected.
You can also go online and consult the dog crate size guides from the manufacturer of the company that makes the crates you are considering, or you can consult dog crate size guides from dog breed websites. If you consider the dog crate size guide from the manufacturer, a 25 pound dog would require a crate that is 24″L X 20″H. If I were to consider the dog crate size guide from the Scottish Terriers breed chart, the site would suggest a crate that is 30″L x 21″ H. If you considered these two recommendations along with the 30″L X 19″H suggestion from your measurements calculated above, what would you buy? You might choose a larger crate. Using too large of a crate will cause your dog to section the crate into a restroom on one end and a sleeping area on the other end. It would be beneficial to remember that every dog is different, and you need to use all methods to make an educated decision by considering measurements and charts. Even within a breed, a female Scottie would weigh 18 to 21 pounds which would put her in a smaller crate than a male that averages 19 to 22 pounds. Then there are those that do not fall into that average range. Is dog size more important than weight? This may cause you to choose a dog crate that is larger or smaller than listed. Consult all methods and come to a consensus on the crate that would make your dog most comfortable and accomplish the task for which you purchased the crate.
In summary, remember the biggest mistake is buying a crate that is too large. The dog has a natural instinct to not soil their sleeping area; but if the crate is too large, the dog crate will not provide the feeling of safety and security. It is also unreasonable to keep upgrading your crate as your puppy grows into an adult dog. Buy a crate that fits the size of the adult dog and buy a divider to adjust the size to suit the growth of your puppy. Whichever method you chose to decide on the purchase of the correct size dog crate, opt for using and consulting all the methods, measurements, dog crate size guides and breed charts. This will give you an educated and more accurate “den” for your “pack” companion. Hopefully this article has helped you decide on the best method to use to determine the proper sized dog crate for you precious companion.