Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Linda Richard
If you’re just now getting your first Labrador Retriever, you may be wondering about its crate. What dog crate size for lab do you need – how big and what type should it be?
Dog crates can feel a bit controversial at first but there really isn’t much of a debate about them in the dog owner community. They are an amazing tool for training and looking after your lab, as well as keeping it safe in new environments. Some people view them as “cruel” but those are usually folks who haven’t tried them out. Of course, a crate can be used in a cruel manner but this isn’t the type of use we’ll be talking about.
So, exactly what dog crate size for lab should you get and how should you use it? Let’s discuss this below.
What’s The Right Dog Crate Size For Lab Dogs?
The ideal size of crate for any dog will be one that allows the dog to sit and to lie down properly. If your dog’s head touches the top of the kennel, then it’s too low. Likewise, if your dog can’t stretch when it lies down, then the crate is too short.
So, first, we should figure out what size kennel for lab is right by measuring your dog. Take a tape measure and check your dog’s length from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail. Add a few extra inches and that’s the length of the crate you’d want. The width can be a bit shorter – about 60% to 75% of the length.
As for the height, just measure your dog’s height in a sitting position. Don’t measure the standard shoulder height in a standing position, however. That’s because most dogs are actually taller when they are sitting down. So, measure the height of the top of your dog’s head and add a couple of extra inches. That’s the height of the crate you want.
For most adult Labradors, you’d want a crate that’s either 36 or 42 inches long (91 or 107 cm). The exact height and weight will vary depending on the model. For most larger male labs you should go with a 42’/107cm length while smaller and/or female labs can feel well in 36’/91cm crates.
Why Shouldn’t The Crate Just Be As Large As Possible?
If your home is spacious enough, you may feel the urge to get your lab a giant crate so that the dog can have lots of extra space. While this impulse is commendable, we’d advise against it. We’ll list all the uses of dog crates below but note that the main point of these items is to act as your dog’s “bedroom” – not as its “living room”.
Dogs are den animals and they love to sleep in small dens and holes in the wild. Such dens are naturally small and cozy – they are meant to protect your dog and to make it feel safe. So, if the crate is large enough, the dog won’t really perceive it as a den – it will just be a large confinement. So, the crate must be just large enough for your dog to fit comfortably but small enough for it to be cozy.
The idea is for the crate to be a place of rest, sleep, and peace – there shouldn’t be enough space for walking around, jumping, or playing with toys. Besides – most of the time the crate will be kept open so that the dog can go in and out freely.
What Size Dog Crate For Lab Puppies?
If your lab isn’t yet full-grown you may be wondering whether you should get a smaller crate. That wouldn’t just be a waste of resources, however, it will also partly defeat the purpose of getting your dog used to its crate from an early age.
Instead, the smarter way to go about it is to buy a large crate straight away. Just talk with your vet to figure out how your pup is developing and whether it looks like It’s growing into a large or a smaller lab. Then, choose between a 42’/107cm and a 36’/91cm crates based on that.
As for the several months before your dog reaches full-grown size – you can make the crate “smaller” by adding internal separators to its deep end. Many models come with such separators or you can fashion one yourself. That’s done for the same reason why the crate should fit your dog’s size – if it’s too big the pup won’t perceive it as a place of rest but as a place for playtime.
Learn more about: What Size Collar For Lab Puppy Should You Get And When?
What’s The Right Type Of Dog Crate For Labrador Dogs?
Labradors are large and powerful dogs that can have destructive tendencies when they get bored. So, while you shouldn’t keep your lab in its crate for so long that it gets bored, you should also still get a crate that’s sturdy and durable. Metal mesh kennels are the way to in almost every situation. Make sure that the crate is durable too as you want it to last for at least 15+ years!
As for its other characteristics, the most popular crate shape is the rectangular one. It’s easy to fit in almost any home and it works well for most dogs. Two-door models are increasingly popular as they can open from either the short or long side and are quite convenient.
How and What For Should You Use Your Lab’s Crate?
The main uses for dog crates/kennels include:
- Give your dog its own space and safe sleeping area
- Crate training teaches dogs to hold and strengthen their bowels and bladders as they instinctively try to keep their sleeping areas clean – this is great for housebreaking
- Kennels are a good way for introducing a pup into a new home and to new pets
- A crate can keep your dog from making a mess when you’re not around to supervise it
- Crates can be used to move your dog in extreme situations
At the same time, you should never ever use your dog’s crate for punishment or for prolonged isolation as that would indeed be cruel. Remember – the crate is supposed to be your dog’s safe space, not its jail cell.
In Conclusion – What’s The Right Dog Crate Size For Lab Dogs and Why Do You Need Such A Device?
The right size for a dog crate is similar to the right bed size for a human bedroom. It should be large enough for the canine to sleep and sit in it comfortably but not more than that. This will ensure that the crate functions as your dog’s den and its personal safe place to chill and rest.