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What Size Crate for a Shih Tzu: (Know This Before Buying)

It’s super important to choose the right crate for your Shih Tzu for many reasons… But which size is best?

In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about finding the ideal crate size for your Shih Tzu, no matter their age.

I’ll also discuss the different kinds of crates available, their pros and cons, and offer guidance from other pet experts. So let’s dive in!

shih tzu crate size

Understanding the Importance of Proper Crate Sizing

Choosing the right crate size for your Shih Tzu is essential for several reasons:

  • Comfort: Your Shih Tzu should be able to move around comfortably and have enough space to stretch and turn.
  • Safety: A crate that’s too small could lead to injury, while a crate that’s too large may not provide the security your dog needs.
  • Training: A properly sized crate can help with housebreaking and provide a safe space for your Shih Tzu when you’re not around.

General Crate Size Guidelines for Shih Tzus

While individual preferences may vary, these general guidelines can help you find the right crate size for your Shih Tzu:

  • Puppy (8-16 weeks): 18-22 inches long, 12-15 inches wide, and 14-16 inches high
  • Adult (1-8 years): 24 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 21 inches high
  • Senior (8+ years): 24-30 inches long, 18-22 inches wide, and 21-24 inches high

It’s important to measure your Shih Tzu’s length (from nose to tail), width (across the shoulders), and height (from the floor to the top of their head) to ensure you choose the right crate size. You can refer to the AKC’s guide on crate sizing for more information.

Types of Crates and Their Pros and Cons

There are several types of crates to choose from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore them in more detail.

Wire Crates

Wire crates are a popular choice for many dog owners. They’re typically made of metal wire and can be folded for easy storage and transport.


  • Good ventilation
  • Visibility for your dog to see their surroundings
  • Removable tray for easy cleaning
  • Adjustable divider to accommodate your Shih Tzu’s growth.


  • Not as cozy as other types
  • May not provide enough insulation in colder temperatures
  • Can be noisier when your dog moves around

Plastic Crates

Plastic crates are another common option for dog owners. They’re made from durable plastic and usually have a wire door for ventilation.


  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Provides more insulation than wire crates
  • Offers a sense of security with enclosed sides


  • Limited visibility for your dog
  • Less ventilation than wire crates
  • Can retain odors over time

Soft-Sided Crates

Soft-sided crates are made from fabric materials, such as nylon or canvas, with mesh windows for ventilation. These crates are ideal for temporary use or travel.


  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Simple to set up and take down
  • Comfortable and cozy for your dog


  • Not as durable as wire or plastic crates
  • Can be difficult to clean
  • Not suitable for dogs that like to chew or scratch

Wooden Crates

Wooden crates are stylish and can blend seamlessly into your home’s décor. They’re often made from hardwoods like oak or maple and can double as furniture.


  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Can serve as a functional piece of furniture
  • Provides a sense of security with enclosed sides


  • Heavy and difficult to move
  • Less ventilation than wire crates
  • Can be expensive

Expert Advice on Crate Training and Sizing

Experts agree that proper crate sizing and training are crucial to your Shih Tzu’s well-being.

According to Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, a crate should be “large enough for the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably, but not so big that they can easily soil one end and sleep at the other.”

This is especially important for housebreaking your Shih Tzu, as they’ll be less likely to have accidents in a properly sized crate.

When introducing your Shih Tzu to their new crate, experts at VCA Animal Hospitals recommend making the crate a positive and comfortable space by placing bedding, toys, and treats inside.

Additionally, be patient and use positive reinforcement to encourage your Shih Tzu to enter and exit the crate willingly.

Frequently Asked Questions About Crate Sizing for Shih Tzus

To wrap up, let’s address some common questions about crate sizing for Shih Tzus.

Q: Can I use a larger crate for my Shih Tzu puppy and let them grow into it?

A: While it may be tempting to buy a larger crate to save money in the long run, it’s important to use a crate with a divider or choose a smaller crate initially. A crate that’s too large may encourage your puppy to use one end as a bathroom, which can hinder housebreaking progress.

Q: My Shih Tzu has separation anxiety. What type of crate is best?

A: For Shih Tzus with separation anxiety, a plastic or wooden crate may provide a greater sense of security due to their enclosed sides. However, it’s essential to work with a professional trainer or veterinarian to address the underlying issues causing your dog’s anxiety.

Q: Can I use a crate for my Shih Tzu during car travel?

A: Yes, a crate can provide a safe space for your Shih Tzu during car travel. A plastic crate or a soft-sided crate are suitable options, as they’re lightweight and easy to secure in the car. Just make sure to choose a crate that’s an appropriate size for your dog and the vehicle.

Last thoughts

In conclusion, finding the right crate size for your Shih Tzu is essential for their comfort, safety, and well-being.

By considering your dog’s age and size, evaluating the different crate types, and taking expert advice into account, you’ll be well-equipped to choose the perfect crate for your furry companion. Happy crate shopping!

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.