How Tall Should a Dog Fence Be? Keep Your Dogs HOME

Not only do fences keep your dog in your yard, they also keep them safe from outside elements.

But, how tall should a dog fence be to provide the proper protection, and prevent your furry friend from jumping over it?

The exact height of your dog fence is going to depend on the height of your dog’s shoulders. Your fence should be as tall as 3 lengths of your dog’s shoulder height.

However, there are multiple factors that should be considered alongside the height of your dog to determine the exact height your fence should be.

Determining How Tall Your Dog Fence Should Be

Determining How Tall Your Dog Fence Should Be
A 6-foot fence is ideal for larger dogs, particularly if they jump. A 4-foot fence is generally sufficient for small dogs.

Your fence needs to be at least 3 times taller than your dog is from its shoulder.

Larger dogs can require fencing up to 6 feet while smaller breeds generally only need a fence at about 4 feet of height.

No matter the size of your dog, if your dog is aggressive you should consider a higher, stronger fence.

Aggressive dogs need a fence that blocks your dog’s view from outside instigators and keeps them inside if they do become unruly.

Some dogs, no matter the fence or their age will try to climb a fence or find a way around it.

The best method for determining a good fencing option for your dog is to monitor them outside and watch its behavior.  

By doing this you will be able to easily cross off certain fencing options that would not be adequate for your dog.

For a quick visual look at breeds versus dog heights, refer to the chart below:

Dog Shoulder HeightDog Fence Height
9” – 11”3’
20” – 24”6’
30” – 32”8’

Different Types of Dog Fences

While you might be restricted on the height of your dog fence, you do not need to be restricted on the style.  

There are categories of fencing made from various materials all of which can be designed to meet the height needed for your dog. 

Those fencing options include:

  • Chain Link
  • Wood Fencing
  • Vinyl Fencing
  • Split Rail
  • Concrete or Stone Walls

Chain Link Fencing

Chain Link is less expensive than other fencing and lasts longer than wood.

The downside is that it’s see-through and will not prevent dogs from seeing animals or people on the other side.

Wood Fencing

Wood fencing is made to last on average around 15 years and is great for blocking your dog’s view from external stimulants.

However, wooden fences have a higher maintenance requirement with broken or old pickets needing replacement.

Vinyl Fencing

Vinyl fencing is similar to wood fencing while offering more stability than its wooden counterparts.

It also has a smooth surface that dogs cannot grip onto with their paws to push themselves over the top of the fence.

But, vinyl fencing does tend to be more expensive.

Split Rail Fencing

Split Rail is made from a fabric placed on the inside of an existing fence, making it difficult for your dog to get around it.

Dogs that are determined to get out of a fenced area will only be slowed down by this kind of fencing.

Concrete or Stone Walls

Concrete or Stone Walls are strong walls that can be built to any height or design you might need or want.

They are also completely solid, and fully block your pet’s view from the outside.

The downside is that they are expensive to build.

Invisible Fences

Invisible Fences are good replacements if you cannot have a traditional fence in your yard.

These fences give a shock to your pet when they reach the boundary line.  

However, they do come with their own issues.

Issues such as not blocking your pet’s view, not keeping outside animals or people out, dead batteries, and if there is a power outage – it can go offline rendering it useless.

BONUS: Coyote Roller

Coyote Rollers are placed on top of existing fencing. These installments aren’t stable, and will roll when any weight is placed on them.

This will not only prevent predators from jumping into your yard, but can also keep your dog from jumping out.

Take a look at this video showing a determined dog being stopped by a roller:

Budget Considerations for Dog Fencing

Budget Considerations for Dog Fencing
A typical wooden fence is expensive, whereas a wire or chain link fence is a less expensive barrier fence type.

As with any home improvement project, budget is an important factor to consider when getting a fence for your dog.  

Certain fence types will be more expensive than others because of the materials and labor included with installation.

For example, wood or steel fencing is going to cost more than a chain-link fence overall.

Below is a list of the current average prices per fence material:

Fence MaterialAverage Cost Per FootAverage Price of 300 LF
Wire Fence$4$1,200
Rail Fence$15$4,500
Privacy Fence$16$4,800
Wooden Fence$20$6,000
Chain Link Fence$20$6,000
Vinyl Fence$23$6,900
Metal Fence$28$8,400

Also, yards that are flatter and easier to access will more than likely have lower installation costs because the fencing will be easier to install.

To save money, you can put up the fence yourself if you feel confident enough.

This works best for smaller, flatter yards that require smaller amounts of fencing.  

Additional Dog Fencing Details

Height is not the only thing to think about when you’re looking for a fence for your dog.

Depending on where you live and the style of fence you want, there are several other things to think about before you make a final decision on a fence.

Picket Spacing

Some fences come with pickets that are spaced at different intervals.

If you have a small to medium-sized dog, consider the spacing between these pickets.

Certain sized dogs could slip out between them making the height of the actual fencing irrelevant.

Visual Barrier

Some dogs are motivated by visually seeing outside forces such as other animals or people.

When they see things on the other side they can become frustrated, and try to jump or break through the fence. 

Consider a fence that is a full privacy fence that blocks your dog’s view so they cannot see through the fence.

If you are upgrading an existing fence like a chain-link fence, you could add slats to block your dog’s view without having to replace the whole thing.

Neighborhood regulations

If you live in a neighborhood that has an HOA or bylaws, you might be restricted on the type of fence you can place in your yard.  

Things that your HOA might require of your fence include:

  • Height of your fence
  • Type of material your fence can be made from
  • Areas your fencing can be placed in your yard

In cases where you cannot put up a traditional fence as high as you need for your dog, an electric fence for dogs is a good second option.

Common Questions About Dog Fencing

Common Questions About Dog Fencing
If your dog leaps your fence, you may want to consider an invisible fence. However, very determined dogs can still run through electric fences.

Why Do I Need a Fence for My Dog?

Both you and your dog need a fence to keep them from wandering out to places they should not be.

Any dog, no matter how well trained, if motivated or bored has the potential to want to explore past their yard.  

Fencing is a barrier that keeps them safe from outside forces and vice versa.

Can My Dog Climb a Tall Fence?

You should consider the following:

  • Breed of your dog
  • Your dog’s age
  • If your dog is a climber

If a dog is motivated enough it can climb just about any fence. 

Dogs that are climbers will work their way over a fence by placing their paws into gaps in fencing and jumping their way over.

Materials such as vinyl or steel will prevent your dog from digging its claws into it and working its way up.  

Also, avoid placing anything near fencing that your dog may use as a springboard to get over your fence. 

Can I Replace My Traditional Fence With an Invisible Fence?

Invisible fences can be a suitable option for some dogs, however, they are not foolproof. 

Dogs can run through the invisible fence if they really want to, much easier than they can climb a traditional fence.  

Invisible fencing has the downside of not keeping out other animals or people.

They also rely on power so if you live in areas with frequent power outages this might not be the best solution.

What Will Stop a Dog From Leaping Over a Fence?

Smoother fencing options like steel or vinyl will keep your dog from clawing its way over the fence.

You should also not leave your dog outside alone for extended periods of time.

Likewise, bored dogs are much more motivated to find ways to get over or under fencing.

What if I Have Multiple Dogs? What Height Should the Fence Be?

For fencing meant to contain more than one dog, make the fencing high enough to match the largest dog’s height.

This ensures the fence will be more than tall enough to contain all your dogs.

Can my dog dig under a fence?

It is possible for your dog to dig under your fence no matter the fencing type.

The best way to prevent this kind of problem is to bury your fence into the ground a few feet. 

This will prevent your dog from being able to dig the whole way under the fence.  

You can also place other obstacles such as wiring under your fencing gap to deter your dog from digging.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, determining the height of your dog fence is not a one-step process.

Taking the time to get a quality fence will give you peace of mind, and your furry friend the protection they need so they can keep enjoying the great outdoors.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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