Dog Kennel Heights. How High Should They Be Off the Ground?


When choosing the height for a dog kennel, there are several important factors to consider to ensure the health, safety, and comfort of your canine companion. The ideal kennel height depends on elements like the size of your dog, ventilation needs, weather protection, accessibility for cleaning, and preventing escape. Taking the time to evaluate these elements will help you select an appropriately sized kennel height for your dog’s needs.

In general, the kennel should be tall enough for your dog to comfortably stand, turn around, and lie down inside. Bigger dogs need taller kennels. The height should also allow adequate air flow for ventilation, while still providing a cozy, den-like enclosure. Accessibility, weather factors, and safety from escape should be balanced with meeting your dog’s spatial needs inside the kennel.

This article provides an in-depth look at how to determine the optimal height when selecting or building a dog kennel. It covers all the key considerations in choosing a height that promotes your dog’s health and contentment.

Kennel Size

The ideal kennel size for a dog depends on the dog’s height and weight. According to Pet Crates Direct, medium sized kennels that are 30 inches long are recommended for dogs weighing 26-40 lbs and measuring less than 30 inches long and 18 inches tall. For larger dogs over 40 lbs, a kennel over 36 inches long is usually required. The kennel should be tall enough for the dog to stand up without hitting their head, with a few extra inches for comfort. A good guideline is that the kennel should be around 6 inches taller than your dog’s height at the shoulder.

It’s important not to get a kennel that is too large, as this can be dangerous if the dog has enough room to build up speed and momentum before hitting the sides. The kennel should provide some confinement while allowing the dog to lie down, stand up, and turn around comfortably. Checking the specific breed recommendations for kennel size can help choose the ideal dimensions.

Dog Size

measuring the dog's height at the shoulder to determine appropriate kennel height.

The height of the kennel should be determined by the size of the dog. Here are some general guidelines for kennel height based on dog size:

For small breed dogs under 20 pounds, the kennel should be at least 22-24 inches high. Small dogs include breeds like Chihuahuas, Toy Poodles, and Pomeranians. Having the kennel at least 6 inches taller than their shoulder height allows them to sit and stand comfortably.

For medium breed dogs 20-50 pounds, the kennel should be 26-28 inches high. Medium dog breeds include Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, and Bull Terriers. The extra height gives them enough room to move around.

For large breed dogs 50-90 pounds, the kennel should be 30-32 inches high. Large breeds include Labs, Collies, and Boxers. The additional height accommodates their taller stature and allows them to fully stand.

For extra large breed dogs over 90 pounds, the kennel should be at least 36 inches high. Extra large breeds include Great Danes, Mastiffs, and St. Bernards. The increased height provides ample room for them to maneuver inside the kennel.1

Customizing the height based on your dog’s size and breed will help ensure they have a comfortable space.


Proper ventilation is crucial in a dog kennel to allow for adequate airflow and temperature regulation. The kennel should have openings on at least three sides to allow for cross-ventilation. The ventilation openings should comprise at least 16% of the total kennel floor area, according to USDA regulations (source).

The kennel height plays an important role in enabling ventilation. For adequate airflow, the interior height should be tall enough for the dog to stand fully erect with space above its head. A minimum of 6 inches clearance above the dog’s head when standing is recommended by kennel manufacturers (source). The increased interior height improves air circulation and prevents heat accumulation.

Proper kennel height allows rising warm air to flow out through upper vents while cooler air enters through lower openings. It also allows any condensation to dissipate rather than dripping down on the dog. Adequate overhead space is especially important for large, hot-climate breeds that release a lot of body heat.


Proper drainage is crucial for any outdoor dog kennel to prevent standing water and excess moisture. The kennel should be elevated high enough off the ground to allow water to drain away effectively. Experts generally recommend having at least a 6 inch gap between the bottom of the kennel and the ground. This allows water to freely flow underneath the kennel structure.

elevating the kennel floor off wet ground to allow water drainage underneath.

Having adequate drainage prevents puddles from forming, keeps the interior dry, and reduces mold/mildew growth. It also helps minimize foul odors that can occur when water pools and stagnates under the kennel. Drainage trenches or trench drains can be installed around the perimeter to divert water away from the enclosed run area.

Some key factors to consider for drainage include:

– Grading the ground to slope away from the kennel on all sides

– Installing a gravel or pea gravel base under the kennel to facilitate drainage

– Leaving enough space between the kennel floor and ground for water flow

– Using porous materials like concrete blocks or wood slats to elevate the floor

– Directing gutter runoff away from the kennel area

Proper planning for drainage when constructing an outdoor kennel ensures a healthy environment and reduces issues like mud accumulation, standing water, and soggy dog runs.


An adequate height for a dog kennel is crucial for easy accessibility, especially for cleaning. According to some sources, the height of the dog kennel should allow the human caretaker to comfortably reach inside to clean without excessive bending or stretching.

having adequate kennel height for a person to comfortably reach inside for cleaning.

One study on ergonomics for animal care positions recommends a minimum door height of 90 inches for kennels, with a preferred height of 96 inches. This allows caregivers to access the kennels without excessive strain on the back and shoulders when cleaning inside the enclosures.

Similarly, other guidelines suggest the kennel should be a few inches taller than the height of the dog when standing, to allow easy human access. For small dogs, aim for 2 inches clearance, and for larger breeds, 4 inches of extra clearance above the dog’s height is ideal.

Following ergonomic height recommendations helps make repetitive kennel cleaning duties safer and less taxing on the human body over time. An accessible interior height simplifies cleaning and maintenance inside the kennel.


When selecting an appropriate height for a dog kennel, safety should be a top priority. The kennel needs to be tall enough to comfortably contain the dog and prevent escape. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s guidelines on animal enclosures, kennels should be constructed and maintained to safely contain dogs.

For most dog breeds, a kennel height of at least 6 feet is recommended to prevent dogs from jumping out and potentially injuring themselves. Some active, athletic breeds like Labrador Retrievers may require a taller kennel of up to 7-8 feet. Giant breeds like Great Danes need extra tall kennels, sometimes up to 10 feet high. The kennel should be tall enough so that the dog cannot touch the top when standing on its hind legs.

The proper kennel height helps keep dogs safely enclosed when unattended. It also prevents loose dogs from wandering off and reduces injury risks from jumping. Following size and safety guidelines when selecting dog kennels helps create a secure environment.

tall enough kennel walls to safely contain dogs and prevent escaping.

Weather Protection

One of the most important considerations for kennel height is protecting your dog from inclement weather. The kennel should be tall enough to shield your dog from wind, rain, and snow. According to Dog Kennel Cover – WeatherGuardTM Small All Season, a gable roof design can easily shed rain, snow and ice from the inside of the kennel, keeping your dog warm, cool and dry.

To protect from wind, the kennel walls should be high enough so wind does not blow rain or snow inside. Per Lucky Dog® Kennel Covers, adding 2 feet of height at the peak of the kennel roof provides substantial weather protection. For heavy snow, the walls may need to be even higher to prevent snow drifts from accumulating inside the kennel.

In summary, the ideal height for weather protection depends on your climate, but making the kennel tall enough to mount a gable roof and fully enclose your dog can provide excellent shelter from rain, wind, and snow.


Regular cleaning and disinfecting of dog kennels is crucial for maintaining hygienic conditions and preventing the spread of disease. When it comes to cleaning height, you’ll want the kennel elevated high enough off the ground to allow easy removal of waste, dirt, and debris.

According to Kaivac, kennels should be 12-18 inches off the ground. This provides sufficient clearance to sweep or vacuum under the kennel without excessive bending or discomfort.

Elevating kennels also allows liquid waste to drain away rather than pooling around the kennel legs. Hard surfaces under kennels such as concrete or vinyl flooring can be readily hosed down or mopped to eliminate grime and odor-causing bacteria. Proper drainage and height for easy underside access makes the whole cleaning process quicker and more effective.


When determining the ideal height for a dog kennel, there are several key factors to consider:

Kennel size should be based on the dog’s size – small dogs need 24 inches, medium dogs need 30-36 inches, large dogs need 36-42 inches, and giant breeds need 48+ inches. Allow for adequate ventilation by leaving space between kennel walls. Raise kennels off wet ground for drainage and cleaning access. An elevated kennel should have a non-slip ramp and be low enough for easy entry/exit.

The kennel height should provide weather protection and still allow the dog to see out. For outdoor kennels, the roof should be sloped to prevent rain accumulation. Indoor kennels can be lower. Overall, balance the dog’s needs for comfort, visibility, accessibility, safety and weather protection when determining the ideal kennel height.

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