When it comes to providing a comfortable and safe space for your German Shepherd, choosing the right crate size is crucial.
German Shepherds, known for their large size, require a crate that not only accommodates their physical dimensions but also caters to their specific needs.
A German Shepherd requires a spacious crate, ideally around 48 inches long. The standard dimensions for this size are typically 48L x 33H x 30W inches. Such a crate offers ample room for a GSD to stand up, sit upright, comfortably turn around, and lie down naturally, including stretching out with extended paws.
In this guide, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when selecting the perfect crate for your German Shepherd, ensuring their comfort and security.
Whether you’re a new owner or looking to upgrade your current setup, understanding these considerations will help you make an informed decision for your furry companion’s well-being.
Let’s get started!
Selecting the Perfect Crate Size for a German Shepherd
When buying a dog crate, the consensus is that you should err on caution and opt for more space and a bigger crate.
Therefore, it’s better to size up when selecting a crate. German Shepherds are a large breed, weighing between 65-90 pounds (29-41kg) for a male and 50-70 pounds (23-32kg) for females.
However, you must consider that this is only a rough guide as all dogs are different, just like you and me. When you get your pup, it’s hard to know how big he’ll grow.
I can certainly vouch for that, as my female German Shepherd weighs a whopping 88 pounds (40kgs)! However, she isn’t overweight – she is just very tall.
But to do well with your new companion, you must also keep your dog’s age in mind.
A fully grown adult German Shepherd needs a 48-inch size crate. The full dimensions will be 48 inches long, 33 inches high, and 30 inches wide.
An 8-week-old puppy needs 3/4th that length and an increase of an inch a week until 12 weeks. You can use a sliding divider to increase this length.
You can ignore this guideline if your German Shepherd is bigger and weighs more than 110 lbs (50kg), such as the mighty King Shepherd. Ultimately, you want to give your dog enough room to stand and stretch.
If you physically measure your fully grown German Shepherd’s length when he naturally stretches, you’ll have a good idea of the correct crate size.
In terms of height, you want to make sure his head doesn’t push against the roof of the crate. Ideally, add four inches to the height and length of your dog.
With that said, it might seem the safest to buy as big a crate as possible and pop your puppy in there. Although that’s a great idea, unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. While erring on the side of spaciousness is good, you should do it within reason.
A significant driver of using a crate is giving your German Shepherd a sense of comfort and security and keeping him safe when you can’t watch him 100% of the time, such as when cooking. Crates also help with potty training, but too big of a crate can be ineffective.
So, what’s the bottom line?
Get a crate with a divider panel that allows you to make the crate bigger as your pup grows. This is why I recommend the MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate from Amazon. This all-inclusive crate comes with a handy divider, allowing you to increase the crate’s length gradually.
Note: Clicking the above link(s) will take you to Amazon or an online store where we have an affiliate relationship. If you make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
Read More: Best Dog Crates for German Shepherds
Use the Table Below as a Guide for Your German Shepherd Puppy’s Crate Size When Using a Divider…
|German Shepherd Age||Recommended Crate Size|
|8 weeks||36 inches|
|10 weeks||38 inches|
|12 weeks||40 inches|
|14 weeks||43 inches|
|16 weeks||46 inches|
|18 weeks||48 inches|
How To Choose The Perfect Dog Crate
If you’re purchasing a crate for the first time, there are a few pointers to remember. Most pet owners go by the suggestion of the pet shop in choosing the ideal size of the crate.
- Always go one size higher than what’s recommended for your German Shepherd. As these dogs grow faster and might need ample space to roam freely, it’s recommended to choose one or two sizes higher.
- Review the durability of the crate by checking reviews online and discussing it with other pet parents. This will allow you to get a first-hand understanding of the sturdiness of the crate and its value for money.
- Choose a metal crate over a plastic crate. The former is more durable and can withstand the mass of a German Shepherd.
- Some crates come with multiple doors to make feeding and maintaining them easier. Whether you’d like to refill food and water bowls or take your furry baby for a walk, it’s essential to use the respective door.
- The perfect crate not only implies the nature of the crate but also includes the package, including soft bedding, food and water bowls, and other toys.
These tips would enable you to find the perfect crate and set it up in your space for the little German Shepherd.
Here’s the one I purchased for my German Shepherd:
Pros and Cons of Dog Crating
If you’re considering buying a crate for your German Shepherd, the question of size is now answered. But there are other things you must know that go beyond the crate size.
Let’s consider the benefits and drawbacks of dog crating:
|Pros of Dog Crating||Cons of Dog Crating|
|Builds Discipline: Crating helps train the puppy to stay inside even when the door is open, fostering discipline and sociability.||Initial Guilt Feelings: Despite its benefits, crating can initially make owners feel guilty, as if they are imprisoning their dog.|
|Initial Guilt Feelings: Despite its benefits, crating can initially make owners feel guilty as if they are imprisoning their dog.||Easy to Misuse: Overuse of crating can lead to excessive confinement, turning the crate from a ‘home’ into a ‘jail’.|
|Helps With Potty Training: Puppies naturally avoid soiling their sleeping area, making crates effective for potty training.|
|Makes Raising the Pup More Convenient: Crates allow owners to leave puppies unsupervised for short periods, easing the training and raising process.|
Determining Safe Crate Time
With the advantages and disadvantages of dog crates established, we must look at timing. The duration you place your dog in a crate determines whether the practice is helpful or cruel.
That’s why you must know how long you can leave a German Shepherd in a crate at different ages.
You can leave a German Shepherd in a crate for a maximum of 1 hour up to the age of 10 weeks. From the 11th week, you can leave him in the crate for no more than three hours.
Depending on the personality of your GSD, you may be able to leave him for a maximum of 4 hours from 18+ weeks.
Remember that your dog’s time in his crate varies based on the individual dog, just like with size.
The general rule of thumb mentioned above is the aggregate of what most GSDs can handle and instinctively prefer. I advise getting your vet’s opinion on your dog’s crate time.
How do I measure my German Shepherd for a crate?
To measure your German Shepherd for a crate, use a tape measure to find their length from nose to tail, then height at the shoulder. Add 4-6 inches to length for comfort.
Note their measurements and compare them to crate dimensions. Consider height, especially since tall Shepherds need standing room.
Should I consider my dog’s height when selecting a crate size?
Yes, considering your German Shepherd’s height is important when choosing a crate size.
They need enough clearance to stand up and turn around comfortably. While length is a priority, the crate should accommodate their vertical space needs as well. Pay attention to height measurements versus listed interior dimensions.
Do German Shepherds Need a Crate?
German Shepherds need a crate for training and discipline, routine, shelter and safety, potty training, and for use in an emergency. If they don’t internalize crate discipline early, they can become ill-adjusted and require significant training from an expert to socialize and behave properly.
Do German Shepherds Like Crates?
German Shepherds don’t just like crates; they love them – as long as you raise them with proper crating from the get-go. Instead of confinement, they associate their crate with “home,” “bed,” and “security,” all positive associations that do not sadden your dog or harm your relationship with him.
A crate size of around 48 inches generally provides ample space for your German Shepherd to move comfortably, ensuring a safe and secure environment.
Remember, the right crate can be a sanctuary for your dog, fostering a sense of security and aiding in their overall development.