I have a friend who has a 6-7 month old working Golden Retriever pup. He’s still quite a small dog as he is young. She has been informed that she has had a complaint from a neighbour to the police and local dog warden that it the crate she has been using for transportation is too small for him.

I’ve seen the crate myself and it looks fine, he can lay down and sit in it (albeit his head is lowered a little) with no discomfort and has space to move to different comfortable positions and generally sleeps in it while travelling.

However they have not told her what the legal acceptable size is.

My questions are:

  1. Is there a legal ground for this in the UK?
  2. If so what is the legal size dog crate she should be looking for?


I have a photo of him in the crate enter image description here

The crate is 30” long

And a bit more context: He is in this until her car is finished being repaired after a car accident so can’t buy a new crate until she is able to measure her actual car. She has a rental right now.

  • I realise this crosses into Law a little bit as it’s predominantly pet focussed I’ve put it here.
    – UIO
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 18:26
  • 3
    I cannot answer the law-related question, but if the pup is not fully grown yet but touches the top of the crate while sitting or standing, it's probably time to get a bigger crate.
    – Elmy
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 19:38
  • 1
    That crate is already too small for him. He is forced into a kind of ducking posture, which causes strain in the neck and spine. Legally it should be enough to explain her situation with the car and her intention of replacing the crate with a bigger one.
    – Elmy
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


Here is an excerpt from the RSPCA guidelines

As a minimum your dog must be able to sit and stand at full height, turn around, stretch out and lie down in a natural position. Document downloadable from here

It might be argued that for a short journey, say a visit to the vet, a slightly smaller crate would be okay but in my opinion for regular travel and certainly for long-distance travel the full size crate should be used.


The dog is going to grow a lot. If he is finding the crate on the small side now, he will find it unpleasant when he gets older and bigger.

If your neighbour likes the current crate because it is more compact in the car then what will she do when she has a big dog?


It's time to get a crate that will fit a full-size Golden Retriever. What's the point in waiting - it will be inevitable soon anyway.


You haven't stated why she is using the crate rather than, say, a dog barrier fitted to the car. I'm guessing behaviour issues. Is that right? There may be other options rather that a crate.


enter image description here

Example of inexpensive dog barrier

  • maybe you could add a aprox. size. If the owner has no relation to what a size her/his dog will grow, it would be helpfull to know the end-size. Then one could buy ONE crate that fits the grown up size and do not need to buy four or five and the pup is growing out of all. Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 5:15
  • 1
    @Allerleirauh - This is a good question. Male goldies are large dogs - larger than the females. I think this deserves a separate question. Probably the best source of information about height is the breeder. There are also growth charts online. The most important thing to know is that some people refer to the height at the withers (shoulders) whereas for a crate, the height should be to the top of head when sitting with some space to spare. Best to start a new question just with respect to the sitting height of a male goldie. Also there are other options for travel arrangements. Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 10:25
  • To "why use a crate instead of dog barrier": a pup will look very lost in such a big space I assume ^^ Additional option:In Germany it is possible (means allowed) to belt on a dog on the backseat with its harness. There are fitting adapters with a hook on the harness side and a fitting "metall key" for the belt "keyhole" Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 13:06
  • @Allerleirauh - Yes. I think we need more information to know the precise situation. I'm sure that the OP does not know all the details that the owner knows. Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 13:11
  • I have added a photo for more context
    – UIO
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 12:32

I think the Animal Welfare Act 2006 would be the legal document ruling the treatment and housing of dogs.

Section 9 "Duty of person responsible for animal to ensure welfare" states:

(1) A person commits an offence if he does not take such steps as are reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal for which he is responsible are met to the extent required by good practice.

(2) For the purposes of this Act, an animal’s needs shall be taken to include
—(a) its need for a suitable environment
—(b) its need for a suitable diet,
—(c) its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns,
—(d) any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals, and
—(e) its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

This is kind of a general introduction into the legal duties of any pet owner. The phrasing "by good practice" means that the current, most agreed-upon guidelines by reputable sources apply. That allows the guidelines to change without the law having to change it's wording.

Current guidelines for dog crates include these criteria:

  • The crate must be longer than the dog from tip of the nose to base of the tail
  • the crate must be higher than the dog's top of the head while sitting straight up
  • The dog must be able to turn around
  • The dog must be able to stretch it's legs out while lying on it's side.

Sources: RSPCA, Animalso, PreventiveVet, CertaPet

The Department for Environment, Food and Rual Affairs issued a Code of practice for the welfare of Dogs based on the Animal Welfare Act 2006 that defines some more details:

  • Make sure that any place you leave your dog is large enough to provide, at all times, a comfortable area with effective ventilation and temperature control, and that your dog is able to move around to ensure its comfort, avoiding becoming too hot or too cold.
  • When you transport your dog make sure they are comfortable and safe at all times.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.