Are you about to install a new electric dog fence using underground wire or considering this option? You may be wondering how much wire you’ll need for your underground dog fence.
In this article we’ll cover how much wire you’ll need for different sized yards and different electric dog fence layouts.
First we’ll cover layouts. Then we’ll cover how to measure the length of wire needed for your chosen option.
Note: If you click some of the links in this article we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Table of Contents
- Step 1 – Decide On A Layout
- Step 2 – Estimate The Length of Underground Dog Fence Wire
- What Else Do I Need To Know About Dog Fence Wire?
- What Grade Wire or Gauge Wire Should I Use?
- Does Wire Coating Or Quality Wire Matter?
Step 1 – Decide On A Layout
First you need to decide what kind of underground fence layout you want to use.
Will you use a simple single wire layout around your backyard using the twisted wire technique to connect back to your house? See simple perimeter loop example in the figure below.
Will you employ the double loop method allowing your dog unfettered access in and our of your house and even out to a backyard pond or lake? See the double loop lake access example below.
Or will you do an advanced double loop to keep your dog out of the pool or away from your chicken run? See the setup to protect pools, gardens, landscaping (or chicken runs) below.
Next we’ll cover how to measure how much wire you’ll need.
Step 2 – Estimate The Length of Underground Dog Fence Wire
There are a few methods for measuring how much wire you’ll need. The easiest is to use a table that matches property acreage to perimeter length then overestimate.
The best is to actually draw your layout in Google Earth Pro and use it’s measuring tools.
There’s a few online wire calculators as well.
Using Simple Tables
The table below will give you quick estimates of the linear length of your property’s boundary based on your acreage.
Keep in mind that different shaped properties even with the same acreage will have different perimeter length.
A circular property will have a shorter perimeter than a rectangular property. Square properties will be in the middle.
Rectangular properties will be all over the board. That’s why we included a range. The low estimate is for rectangular yards that are more square. The higher estimate is for long skinny rectangular yards.
Use this as a guideline. We strongly recommend you try and measure it in Google Earth Pro.
Using Wire Calculators
Petsafe has an online calculator you can use to help estimate the length of wire you need.
It simply converts the acres of your property into a perimeter length assuming you have a perfectly square property.
For instance if I enter 5 acres it says 1,867 feet. That’s the same thing you’ll see in our table above for a square 5 acre property.
If you have a square property and want to use their underground fence boundary wire calculator tap here.
Remember, it will be an overestimate if your yard is more circular and could be a huge underestimate if you have a rectangular yard that’s long and skinny.
Using Google Earth Pro to Calculate How Much Underground Dog Fence Wire You Need
Ideally we recommend you download a copy of google earth pro then draw in your boundaries and measure them from there.
For square or circular yards you can just use our table above.
For rectangular yards or complicated double loop layouts, it’s highly recommended you follow the steps below.
Here’s the basic steps:
- Download and install google earth pro.
- Use the search function to go to your address.
- Use the path/line function to draw a line where you plan to install the underground fence. Try and do this as a single path/line. It may take some practice. Draw the line as if you were actually laying down wire in your yard.
- Note that double loops should be traced twice as well as any twisted wire sections.
- Right click on the line and go to properties.
- Click the measurements tab and use the drop down to measure feet.
- Use that total measurement as an estimate of how much boundary wire you’ll need. Be sure to buy an extra 100 feet or so as google earth won’t be as accurate as measuring it in the field.
- Watch the two videos below.
How to Draw a Line in Google Earth Pro
Use this to draw your underground fence layout.
Measure the Length of the Line in Google Earth Pro
What Else Do I Need To Know About Dog Fence Wire?
It helps to see installation in action while measuring your fence length. See our article on installing an underground electric dog fence here.
Also, check out our article on crossing driveways with an in-ground electric dog fence.
What Grade Wire or Gauge Wire Should I Use?
We always recommend using a thicker gauge wire like a 14 gauge or thicker. It should also be solid copper wire not stranded copper wire.
You can buy generic wire for this or get branded Extreme Dog Fence wire. As long as you confirm it matches specs and has a strong coating you’ll be OK.
Does Wire Coating Or Quality Wire Matter?
Yes, wire coating is required to protect the wire from shorts, moisture, and make it last longer. Always use a coated wire for underground installation.