What Dog Fence Height Should You Choose? (German Sh.+More)

Installing a dog fence and trying to figure out if your dog will escape? How high should it be? How high can my dog jump? In this article, we’ll cover what dog fence height you should choose.

First, we’re going to cover all aspects of fence building for dogs. You’ll need to consider your dog’s height and weight, temperament, training, and goals are for the fence.

Then we need to see what your current setup is. Do you already have a chain-link fence? Can we add to it? Would it be easier just to add training?

What about an invisible or wireless fence? Would that solve your problem easier?

Without further delay let’s jump right in.

Note: If you click some of the links in this article we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

How Big is Your Dog?

First off let’s figure out how large your dog is. You’ll need two measurements:

  • Your dog’s weight
  • Your dog’s height – measure this from the bottom of the front paws to the top of the front shoulders

How High Can Dogs Jump?

Dogs can jump at different heights based on their size and breed.

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Short-legged dogs like Korgis aren’t going to clear a six-foot-tall fence.

In fact, most dogs will be fine behind a six-foot-tall fence. Even four feet is fine for most small dogs less than 30 pounds.

The Guinness Book of World Records lists the highest dog jump as 75.5 inches (6.29 feet). This was accomplished by a two-year-old greyhound named Feather in 2017 (source).

Next, we created a simple chart of different breeds and dog sizes compared to average jump height.

How High Your Fence Should Be Just Based on Dog Sizes and Average Breed Jumping Height

Rule of Thumb – Most dogs can jump at least twice their height. For a minimum fence height, simply double your dogs height and add a foot. For example, a 12 inch tall Yorkie could jump 24 inches. Choose a minimum 3 foot fence. As a second example an average German Shepherd is 24 inches tall and can jump at least 4 feet high. Choose a minimum 5 foot fence if not a 6 foot fence.

Screenshot 2020 08 21 at 4.29.02 PM

Has Your Dog Been Trained to Stay In Your Yard or Inside a Chain Link Fence or Privacy Fence?

This is the magic to reducing fence size. Teach your dog not to jump or to stay in the yard and you can get away with a magically smaller fence.

Check out the following articles:

When Let Outside Does Your Dog Try to Escape and Run Away?

If this is the case you have a few options:

  • Build a tall enough fence that they can’t jump over – This is the highest cost option
  • Train them to stay in the yard using normal training
  • Install a wireless fence (aka invisible fence) or underground fence and train them to use it
PetSafe Wireless Dog and Cat Containment System – from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand – Above Ground Electric Pet Fence
Wireless Fence Kit
  • Underground fences work just like wireless fences. The difference is the “transmitter” is actually a buried underground wire that forms the invisible fence line. This allows you to build it for long or weird-shaped yards that don’t follow a rough circle. When the collar receiver gets near the underground wire it creates the same beep, vibration, or electric shock.
Underground Electric Dog Fence Premium - Standard Dog Fence System for Easy Setup and Superior Longevity and Continued Reliable Pet Safety - 1 Dog | 500 Feet Standard Dog Fence Wire
Underground Fence Kit
  • Next, you can install an electric fence via an electric wire along the top of an existing fence.
Patriot PE2 Electric Fence Energizer Plus 250-Feet Made in U.S.A. 17 Gauge Spool Aluminum Wire for Containing Pets and Keeping Out Small Nuisance Animals
Electric Fence Kit
  • Lastly, you can install a jump barrier at the top of a fence. See the picture below. This was originally intended for cats but it works for dogs as long as the total height is below their full jumping height. See the table above for jumping heights.
Kitty Corral Cat Fence Conversion System 100'
Jump Barrier for Cats and Dogs

What About An Existing Wood Fence, Picket Fence, or Chicken Wire Fence?

Already have an existing fence? If so you have a few options.

First, consider the type of fence materials. Is it a wire or wooden fence where it’d be easy for your dog to actually climb up the side or firmly grip the top to jump over?

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Most times this is something you want to avoid as it’s possible for your dog’s feet to get caught and they can get pretty hurt if they get stuck.

Option 1 – Train Your Dog to Stay in the Fence

There’s a lot of options to train your dog to stay inside. We cover them more fully in one of few articles:

Option 2 – Install a Wireless Fence (Invisible Fence)

Use the training described above in combination with a wireless fence kit. The kit uses a transmitter to create an invisible sphere around your property. You can adjust the size so it matches the size of your yard.

The kit comes with a receiver collar. When the collar is near the boundary of the invisible fence it creates a beep, vibration, or electric shock. This is used as a signal to get your dog to turn around.

Training for this kind of system is still required. See link to training above.

PetSafe Wireless Dog and Cat Containment System – from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand – Above Ground Electric Pet Fence
Wireless Fence Kit

Option 3 – Install an Electric Fence Wire Along the Top of the Existing Fence


Option 4 – Add a Privacy Fence Jumping Deterrent Kit

You can extend the height of your fence line using commonly available jump deterrent kits. Just make sure the total height installed is higher than the maximum jump height of your dog.

Kitty Corral Cat Fence Conversion System 100'


Can a German Shepherd jump a 6-foot fence?

Not usually but a GSD can jump a 6-foot fence. If you have this problem you can install extensions, jump deterrent netting, an invisible fence wire along the top of the fence, or simply train your dog not to jump the fence.

How high should my fence be for a German Shepherd?

German Shepherds can easily jump 4-feet so a 6-foot fence should be the minimum for your GSD. It’s possible they can get traction with their feet on the top of the fence and pull themselves over so be mindful of the type of fence you choose.