5 Things to Consider When Getting a Fence for Your Big Dog

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Fences for large dogs

Everyone who has a big dog with tons of energy knows how hard it can be to contain your best friend. After all, many breeds of large dogs want to get in touch with their wild side and chase the neighborhood squirrels or bark at cars. If you have a big, strong, energetic dog, you should think carefully about the type of fence you need before adding it to your yard. The trick is to find a fence that satisfies your budget and aesthetic desires while stopping your furry pal from going on the adventure of his doggy dreams. Here are five factors to keep in mind when choosing the perfect big dog fence!

(Have a small dog? We have a post about fences for small dogs too.)

1. Big dogs need big fences…because they can jump!

A four-foot high fence is unlikely to deter a Husky, Golden Retriever, or Labrador, so you should look for a fence with a height of five or even six feet. For most breeds, six feet should be sufficient. Some owners start adding extensions to make their fences higher and higher. However, if you do this, your dog will learn how to jump a little higher each time! Your best bet, in this case, is to tear down your old fence and install a new six-foot fence rather than making additions. Height isn’t the only factor at play—a big dog is also a strong dog. High-quality wood and vinyl or composite materials can resist charging and chewing better than cheaper, lower end materials.

2. Make that fence impossible to climbLook how easy it is for this Husky to climb this chain link fence!

No matter how high your fence is, a clever dog will still try to get over it somehow. Even if he can’t actually jump it, he may be able to climb. When choosing a fence, it’s crucial to make sure the design of the fence itself is totally climb-proof. Chain link fences are a bad idea for climbers—they provide your dog with easy footholds! A solid panel fence, on the other hand, has a flat surface without anywhere for your dog to stick his paws.

Once you have your climb-proof fence, make sure there’s nothing your dog can use to give himself a boost. Don’t place a planter or a birdbath or anything else your dog can climb onto alongside the fence.

Our recommendations for big dog-friendly fences:

Learn More: Protection Fencing for Children, Dogs, and Other Pets

3. Give your dog a little privacy (or, rather, give the squirrels on the other side privacy)

Okay, your dog may not care about privacy at all, but a wooden or vinyl privacy fence is a great option for his (and your) peace of mind. Aside from their climb-proof nature, solid panel privacy fences are great because your dog can’t see what’s on the other side. If he can’t actually see squirrels and other dogs and people and everything else he loves to bark at, he’ll be a lot calmer. He won’t be visible to other dogs on their walks either, who may get distracted and start barking.

Chain link fences drive dogs wild because they can look right through and see exactly what they’re missing! Privacy fences are also much more aesthetically appealing than chain link. Ultimately, choosing the best fence for your large dog depends on how your dog behaves and reacts to the outside world. So take some time to consider what will best suit your four-legged companion before making a decision.

Check out the 10 Reasons Your Dog Needs a Privacy Fence (It’s a list of silly dog gifs!)

4. Think before getting an invisible fence

You may ask, what about invisible fences? Some owners may just want to put up an invisible or electric fence for their big dog and be done with it. If local laws prevent you from installing a high enough fence for your big dog, this may be your only option. However, it is possible that invisible fences worsen behavioral problems in dogs. Think about how you would feel if you got shocked every time you crossed an invisible line!
Ultimately, you have to decide on the method that is right for your dog. Check out this article weighing the pros and cons of invisible fences before getting one in place of a traditional dog fence.

5. Make your dog not WANT to escape!A fence for fido

Dogs don’t usually like being restricted, whether it’s a physical or invisible barrier. Boredom is a major factor that tempts dogs to try to escape your yard. If your dog requires a lot of exercise but isn’t being walked regularly, putting up an adequate fence will not be an easy fix to your problem. Maybe you’ll be able to prevent your dog from escaping, but your dog won’t be very happy—and an unhappy dog makes an unhappy owner. If you own a large breeding, working, or herding dog, exercise is not likely to be optional—these kinds of dogs simply don’t thrive when they are cooped up in a little yard.

A fence is necessary to keep your dog in your yard, but as a behavioral fix, it’s only a starting point. Creating a dog-friendly yard is one way to keep your dog entertained between the fence walls.

Not everyone has a spacious yard or the ability to provide a large dog with ample exercise. That’s exactly why big dogs aren’t for everyone, but the right fence does go a long way in terms of keeping your dog safe and secure. Managing massive dogs can be a massive challenge, but for owners that are able to take that challenge, it’s worth the effort so you can keep your dog around for massive cuddles.

Need a fence for your large pup in West Chester, PA and the surrounding Delaware Valley? Shop our Fence Styles & Solutions and Request your fence quote today!

How do you keep your big dog from getting out of your yard? Have you made any special modifications to your backyard fence? Leave a comment with your experiences and suggestions with other dog owners!

46 Comments

  • Fred Gerke says:

    Fence heights for labrador.

    • Fence Authority says:

      Hi, Fred! We’d suggest a five or six foot fence for your labrador. We’re here if you need anything. Let us know how you make out!

  • Derek Mcdoogle says:

    In your article, you stated that when choosing a fence, it’s crucial to make sure the design of the fence itself is totally climb-proof. My wife brought home a new dog for my birthday and then we realized that we don’t have a fence. I wonder which fencing material might be more durable and be able to keep a pet in the yard.

    • Fence Authority says:

      Hi, Derek! High quality wood and vinyl or composite materials can resist charging and chewing and a solid panel fence has a flat surface without anywhere for your dog to stick his paws. Thanks for reading and reaching out!

  • Jade Brunet says:

    I am happy to have found this information about finding the right fence for your big dog. It is good to know that one should invest in a fence that is impossible to climb. I did not realize that chain link fences were not the best choice for climbers. I have also heard that it is a good idea to learn about how to maintain the fence before installation.

  • Leviticus Bennett says:

    The tip I like most is your last one–make your dog not want to escape. I just bought my niece a puppy great dane. It looks just like scooby doo, but will probably grow up to be huge, so we’ll need a fence.

  • Dawn says:

    We have a LARGE Belgian Shepherd who just lays on the fence and squishes it enough to step over. We’re thinking about an electric fence but know that the invisible ones will not work. What about the “livestock” electric fences placed at the top of the existing fence which is 4′ high?

  • Deb W. says:

    I have a Bassett who likes to head butt my thin stockade fence in attempt to play with my neighbors 3 dogs. Two of the neighbors dogs are pits and one has acted out aggressively toward my dog as mine tries to break through to him. I’ve Been Told by my neighbor his dog is able to break vinyl fencing. I need a strong fence to keep them from seeing each other and unbreakable. I’m willing to pay more to get positive results. Any suggestions? I Also Have a daschund. Thanks!

    • Brett says:

      I have a Bassett as well, I just had (what I thought was a 4 foot panel fence. but its actually 3.5, its being addressed) installed and he climbs the support panels. Bassetts are climbers and have strong hind legs, 4 feet will stop the jumping but not the climb, even on a panel. YES DOGS BREAK VINYL. Most vinyl is only cemented at the bottom of the supports to keep it in place. It looks nice but it is weak. Please consider a 6 foot fence or 5 foot (hard to find, have the 6 foot panel cut at the bottom below the support at home depot) so you can still see your neighbors and talk over it.

  • Ellen F. Chadwick says:

    Very very interesting article. I have learnt many things form your article. Your blog become one of my favorite. I want to gather more knowledge regarding this. Please keep sharing…

    thanks alot!!
    🙂

  • Judy says:

    I left my 35# mixed mutt (largely Terrier) with kennel. She got out and ran onto the highway and my precious Maggie is gone. Owner says she jumped 5′ fence….we don’t buy it. She’s not a jumper – ever- so well behaved, she won’t jump on me. Besides she’s stayed at kennel before. She is far from being hyper – just the opposite – very laid back. We have our theory as to how she got out, but that’s irrelevant. There’s nothing we can do about it now. Any thoughts about her jumping the fence (when she’s never tried it in the many times she’s been boarded)?

    • Julia says:

      Not all pitties are bad. I hate to see any dog chained up though. I understand your hesitation and do not have all the facts. Just hoping you aren’t judging the pup purely on his breed. A six foot privacy fence made from quality wood should keep the dog out of your yard. If you are concerned about digging under you can place cement or cinder blocks below the fence. I hope this helps. I hope the pup is in a good home too. I dislike dogs being chained.

  • Alicia says:

    Any suggestions on what type and how high a fence for a Pitbull we want to keep OUT of our yard? New neighbors have a Pitbull they only chain outdoors and we have small children to keep safe. Any suggestions would be helpful. We have 400ft of backyard against their yard.

  • Jane Ambrose says:

    My kids recently convinced me to agree to get them a dog soon, and considering our backyard doesn’t have a fence around it, I thought I would do some research on how to go about getting the best fence possible put in. I had no idea that chain link fences can drive dogs crazy because they can see everything going on right outside of it. While we don’t know how the dog will react to things yet, it seems like a good idea to be proactive and maybe give him a little more privacy. I’ll be sure to share this with my husband!

  • Hexner and Writing says:

    Thanks for the great tips in choosing a fence to install to keep my big dog in the yard. He’s escaped way too many times and the neighbors are starting to complain. No matter what fence we choose, I love your advice to make sure that the fence is super tall and impossible to climb. Hopefully, by following your tips, we’ll be able to keep him in the backyard for good.

  • Barbera Peters says:

    I recently got a new puppy that is bound to grow up in the next year to be three times larger than he is right now and I will need a fence before that time comes. You mentioned to get a fence that is too high for them to climb or jump so that he won’t try to escape. It was also great that you mentioned not putting plants or anything else they can boost on. Thank you for the great information on fences for big dogs.

  • Marie Taylor says:

    What about a dog that likes to dig? Any recommendations about securing the bottom of a fence?

  • Katie Dunn says:

    I just adopted a large dog, and so I really like your idea about making the yard dog-friendly. The fence that I have installed around my yard is large, and I don’t think that he’d be able to climb it. However, I definitely agree that making the yard a place where the pup wants to be is a good start when it comes to keeping him in the yard. I think that I’ll put more toys and perhaps a mini obstacle course in the backyard to make it more suitable for him.

  • Brayden Brade says:

    I didn’t know that some dogs can climb fences. That’s really helpful to know as I look for a fence. I’ll definitely try to find one that I know he can’t climb. Thanks for the helpful tip!

  • Carol Barnett says:

    We have a large dog daycare and boarding facility. We want to replace our current wrought iron fences that rust with vinyl fencing but I want to know if it is sturdy enough and what will happen when the dogs urinate on it all the time – will it yellow? We have about 80 big dogs and 40 small dogs every day in a 16,000 square foot outdoor area. Big and small dogs are separated. We have artificial turf with fences separating certain areas. How do vinyl fences and gates hold up under these intense circumstances. Our external fence is 8 feet high of stone so no issue there but the internal yard fences need to be replaced and I am looking a vinyl.

  • Ernest London says:

    I like that you mentioned that a vinyl fence would be a good option because your dog can’t see what’s on the other side. That will make him less likely to get agitated by something on the other side. My wife and I want to get a fence installed so our dog can have a safe area to play in. I will definitely keep these things in mind as we look for the right fence, thanks.

  • Cameron Bennett says:

    I like that you mention that chain link fences may not be a good idea for dogs because they can provide footholds for them to climb out. I’ve never really liked the look of our chain link fence, so my husband and I are thinking about replacing it. It really doesn’t provide much of a problem for our dog in terms of him trying to escape, but I want to look into different options. I”m glad that you brought up vinyl because that is an option that we are considering.

  • Khrystal J says:

    Hello, we are getting a pitbull puppy. He will grow to be large as we bred him with 2 large dogs. We were thinking of a chain link fence with the privacy weaving. What are your thoughts on the best fence for our dog?

  • Oscar O'Malley says:

    I didn’t realize a chain link fence would be ideal for a dog that likes to climb! I like that you mentioned that dogs probably don’t like them because they can see everything that’s going on on the other side of the fence. I’ll be sure to keep that in mind as I try to figure out which fence would be best for my yard and my dog in my new home.

  • Dione says:

    What is the strongest gauge fencing or kennel panels can I find for a Malamute/Wolf mix and a super sized Pit Bull? They have chewed out of a wooden fence and a chain link fence. I need super strong.

  • Derek Dewitt says:

    My wife and I are wanting to build a fence for our yard soon, so thanks for sharing this helpful guide. I like that you mention how chain-link fencing can give your dog a foothold to jump over it. We’ll be sure to stick with solid, flat surfaces like you said.

  • Amanda Drew says:

    My dog, Tobias, is a Labrador, and he’s currently a mostly inside dog. But I think that he would have fun if he were able to run around in my yard without me there to supervise him. You point out that a privacy fence or something like a chain-linked one will work depending on how your dog interacts with the outside world. I’ll have to think about that and find someone who could put in a fence for me and see what they suggest too.

  • jan says:

    Hi I have a 2.5 acre property that is fully fenced with 4 foot chain link, I was thinking if I added a 45 degree barb arm to the fence line with plain wire running through it do you think it would prevent a dog from climbing over. I feel that it I raise the fence a dog who was going to climb would just climb higher? Is the barb arm a good option?

  • Amanda says:

    Our fence is 4ft but the drop on the other side is 3 metres. Will a dog jump over something not knowing what’s on the other side?

  • Susana says:

    We have a fenced area that we use to play with our dogs off leash. It’s a pretty sturdy chain link fence that we thought could contain them. The fence has held up to our rottie mix. Our Dogo Argentino has never tried to jump it or dig under it so we thought we were good, we were wrong. When our neighbors dog got loose our Dogo Argentino barreled right through the chain link fence. So now we need advice. Obviously chain link won’t hold him. He’s 120lbs or determined muscle and we need a safe solution. We were able to command him to sit and stay and the neighbors dog was unharmed, this time. Any suggestions?

  • Jeremiah says:

    The six foot fence didn’t even make my pitbull think twice..with one leep he can clear it without a problem!Now this is a problem for me considering I live next to a park and people are usually retarded and think all pitbull want to rip your face off! Not a big concern of mine considering he wouldn’t hurt a fly but the parents actions is what’s getting on my nerves. Is there anything to keep him from jumping over? (The fence is built so that it is all flat no edges for him to brace on) I need help asap!

  • Cyn says:

    Pic fences are the best..I have 3 dogs one is a Catahoula leopard Cur/ Mastiff..155 lbs..Boxer/ Cur 80 lbs..and a little pit bull 60lbs I’ve not had one problem in 3 years

  • Sandra Beckingham says:

    Is there bylaws that state how high your fence can be?

  • Lillie Wasson says:

    Thank you for the information. We have 9 Siberian Huskies and haven’t had a problem with an escaper until Momma had a litter of puppies. She climbed the fence like a monkey. Sadly, she got hit by a car. Her daughter is just a bad but whole lot faster at scaling the fence we have now. We are going to put in a new fence but need to be sure of what we should put in. Your blog has given me a direction to go in.

  • Rhonda Hern says:

    I have found that it is cheaper to buy 3 dog kennels, 6 ft high for a chain link fence for my Sassy dog, what is the pros and cons of this idea. Each panel is 5 ft wide, what are the chances of this failing

  • Meghan says:

    What would you suggest for a pitbull black lab breed. Would a 6ft. wooden fence be good enough to keep the dog in the yard? We are moving onto a street that is a major road.

  • John says:

    I never considered that a 4 ft high fence wouldn’t stop certain dog breeds. I guess some animals have a high vertical. I know my golden retriever is rambunctious, so I’ll get a tall fence.

  • Lilia Robberts says:

    Me and my husband are awaiting a baby golden retriever. I want to make sure I get the right type of fence for him. Having a dog run away just makes my heart hurt. Thank you for sharing that dogs can CLIMB fences! I just thought they could jump them. Now I know what I am really up against. I need to make sure I choose a really good fence to prevent any harm to my dog.

    • Fence Authority says:

      Hi Lilia! Definitely consider the climbing aspect, as some dogs are definitely climbers! Best of luck with your new pup!

  • Ashley says:

    Me an my husband aren’t sure what type of fence to have for our pit bull mix, our new home currently has a fence ( wood & kinda old ) last Sunday she charged at it like a line backer an cracked one of the 4x4s! So we were thinking of doing a aluminum 5ft fence, but I’m not sure if it will be strong enough!

    • Fence Authority says:

      Hi Ashley! It sounds like an ActiveYards vinyl fence might do the trick for you. ActiveYards vinyl fences are made with GlideLock technology that will keep the fence sturdy even if your dog charges at the fence. Definitely check out ActiveYards vinyl on our site here: https://www.fenceauthority.com/vinyl

  • Ellie Davis says:

    My husband and I just bought a husky puppy and are wanting to install a fence in the backyard to help keep him contained. Thank you for suggesting that we should try getting a fence that is around five or six feet. I’ll have to look into the best fencing companies to come and install a fence for us.

  • Marilou Borromeo says:

    Was just planning to put up a waist high fence to prevent our husky from going to the garage as he damaged (scratched) the car fenders 🙁 good thing i found this site so i have better idea with the type of fence to put up. Thanks so much!!

  • Mark Murphy says:

    I really appreciate your tip to train your dog so they won’t want to escape your yard! My sister has a really large dog, and she has been thinking of getting a perimeter fence so her dog won’t get lost! I will be sure to tell that she should also train her dog to stay at the house no matter what!

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