Australian Shepherd lying in dog bed.

A Guide On How To Choose The Right Size Dog Bed

Written By Olivia De Santos | Canine Coach, Professional Writer & Video Content Creator.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | Double B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 8th January 2024

Just like humans, dogs deserve a comfortable place to rest and sleep. However, selecting the right size dog bed can be a bit overwhelming, considering the variety of options available. Fear not! This is your guide on how to choose the right size dog bed for your pup.

We'll talk through the step-by-step process of finding the perfect fitting bed for your dog plus breed-specific guidelines. Sound good? Let’s do it!


Do Dogs Even Need Beds?

The question of whether dogs need beds is as old as veterinary science itself. Heck, there’s even a debate around whether humans need beds (look it up!). (1)

But generally, dog beds do provide an extra layer of comfort and support for your dog’s body.

It’s also important for your dog to have a place to sleep soundly on their own and feel at peace.

“A cozy dog bed should be an oasis for your dog, away from the hustle and bustle of your home. Dogs are den animals so they appreciate having a spot where they can relax.” (2)

With that in mind, it’s important to find the right type of bed and the right size dog bed for your pup to feel cozy.

Now, we discuss dog bed types in our review of the best dog beds in Australia. Today, we’re talking about the size of the bed. Let’s get into the guide!


Step by Step Guide to Choose the Right Size Bed For Your Dog

The following steps are a tried and true process for finding the right size bed for your dog. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. But follow this process and you’ll surely find the perfect fit!

Understanding your dog’s sleeping position

The topic of sleeping positions is often…erhm…slept on. Pardon my pun.

Your dog’s sleeping pose will dictate how much sleeping space they need.

One of my dogs loved sleeping in a doughnut shape. The other preferred to sprawl out wide, lengthening her spine and stretching her legs.

Even though the female dog was smaller, she generally needed the same-sized bed as the larger dog, because she liked to spread out!

Every dog is unique, and factors such as breed, size, age, and health can influence their preferred sleeping position and requirements.

Some dogs enjoy curling up, while others stretch out. Some breeds have a predisposition to joint issues, requiring extra support. By observing your dog's behaviours, you can gain valuable insights into their sleeping preferences, aiding in selecting the perfect bed size.

If your dog loves to sprawl out, consider a larger bed with plenty of room to stretch. For dogs that prefer curling up, a smaller bed with raised sides can provide a sense of security.

I Talk more about dog sleeping positions in this video:

VIDEO: https://youtu.be/Sj4oN9rTD8I

Take measurements of your dog

Once you have an idea of your dog's sleeping habits, it's time to take measurements.

Grab a measuring tape and note down the following dimensions:

  • Length 
    For the length, measure your dog from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail.
  • Width
    The width should be measured from shoulder to shoulder.
  • Height
    Measure your dog's height from the floor to the top of their head or shoulder, depending on their preferred sleeping position.
  • Weight
    Surprised? Weight does have a role to play when it comes to finding the appropriate-sized dog bed. Your dog may have a small body but a large body mass for their size. That means some small dogs would be better with a medium-sized bed so that the bed holds up for longer. The most accurate way to weigh your dog is at the vet with their large animal scales.

Keep in mind that the bed should be spacious enough for your dog to comfortably stretch out and curl up, while also providing a sense of security.

Now that you have your measurements, let's explore how to choose the right size dog bed.

Consider your dog's current size and future growth

Puppies grow much quicker than we think! One day you can hold them in the palm of your hand. The next day they can hold you in the palm of their hand. Any proud owners of large dog breeds will know this to be true.

So how do you shop for the perfect bed for your puppy when you know they’ll soon grow out of it?

Simple! Start with the adult size first.

Of course, your pup is not yet an adult so you don’t know exactly how big they are going to get. But you can make some educated guesses with breed standards. Most breeds have a recorded standard height, width, and weight that are considered healthy ranges.

There are anomalies but you can deal with that when your puppy grows up.

In my experience, puppies have no problem sleeping on a larger dog bed.

To make your puppy feel cozy in their oversized bed, make sure the bed has removable cushions or adjustable partitions.

Many orthopedic dog beds have removable cushions and plenty of sleeping space to add more to the surface.

Speaking of sleeping space…

Factor in the sleeping space of each bed

Let’s define what “sleeping space” really means. It’ll come up a lot as we go along.

Sleeping space is the amount of surface area where your dog can actually rest.

There are sleeping mats for dogs available where the sleeping space is the same as the bed’s full width and length. Most raised dog beds are like this too.

But the majority of beds have sides, boulders, or cushioning that surrounds the sleeping surface.

So you have two sets of dimensions to look at with these kinds of beds:

  • The total surface area
  • The sleeping surface area

A dog bed may appear to have the right dimensions if you only count the total surface area with all its parts. But that would be like measuring a bed with the width of the headboard included. You can’t lay on the headboard!

Pay attention to the dimensions provided by the manufacturer to ensure the bed will comfortably accommodate your dog. The sleeping surface is the most important part.

Consider multiple styles of bed

As a quick overview, here are the different types of dog bed you can easily find on the Australian market:

All of these bed types will have different sleeping surfaces to navigate. This is where the first few steps come into play.

You want to match the type of bed with your dog’s sleeping position and measurements.

There are also health and fur-type factors to consider.

  • If your dog has joint issues or is a senior, opt for an orthopedic bed that offers extra cushioning and support. These beds can help alleviate pressure on joints and promote better sleep.
  • If your dog has long hair, they may find overly cushioned beds too warm to sleep comfortably. So you might want to choose a rattan or raised dog bed.
  • If you have multiple dogs and they enjoy sleeping together, you’ll need to choose a bed type and size that accommodate them both.

Consider the bed's location

Now for some feng shui. Think about where you plan to place the bed.

Measure the available space to ensure it fits well in your desired location without getting in the way. You don’t want to trip over your dog. As the saying goes, it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.

PRO TIP: Purchase more than one dog bed so that your dog has multiple sleeping places around the home. I recommend at least two!

Allow your dog to try out different beds

Some pet stores allow dogs to try out beds in-store. If possible, bring your dog along to test a few different styles and sizes of dog beds to give you a better idea of the fit.

Of course, we can’t get our dogs to simulate their sleeping position on command. But with simple training, you can at least encourage your dog to “lie down” on a few options.

This is better than purchasing online if you’re not confident with the measurements you’ve made, as many online retailers won’t allow you to return a bed your dog has laid on, or after the packaging has been opened.

Even if you don’t intend to buy the bed from the pet shop you visit, you can at least see what typical sizes suit your dog, so you can make a better purchasing decision online.

If in doubt, go big

If you take nothing else from this article, remember this:

If in doubt, get the bigger dog bed.

Why? Well, most dogs won’t have an issue sleeping on a larger sleeping surface. Especially if you pad out the space with pillows and blankets.

But a bed that’s too small won’t be comfy for any dog.


Dog Bed Size Guide For Different Breeds

Now we’ve gone through the general steps to finding your dog’s perfect fit, I’m going to list some recommended dog bed sizes for different dog breeds.

Disclaimer: These are just suggestions based off of the breed standards for each breed and our sizing guide. Your dog’s height, width, length, and weight depend on a variety of individual factors. So be sure to do your own measurements before taking this advice. This guide will at least let you land in the ballpark for a breed-specific bed size.

What size dog bed for Labrador

The average male Labrador Retriever is 107 cm in length. 56-57 cm in height.

The average female Labrador Retriever is 91 cm in length. 55-56 cm in height. (3)

So the best size dog bed for a Labrador is extra-large (XL).

What size dog bed for German Shepherd

The average male German Shepherd is 107 cm in length. 60-65 cm in height.

The average female German Shepherd is 100 cm in length. 55-60 cm in height. (4)

So the best size dog bed for a German Shepherd is extra-large (XL).

What size dog bed for Golden Retriever

The average male Golden Retriever is 107 cm in length. 56-61 cm in height.

The average female Golden Retriever is 94 cm in length. 51-56 cm in height. (5)

So the best size dog bed for a Golden Retriever is extra-large (XL).

What size dog bed for Greyhound

The average male Greyhound is 99 cm in length and 71-76 cm in height.

The average female Greyhound is 91 cm in length and 69-71 cm in height. (6)

So the best size dog bed for a Greyhound is extra-large (XL).

What size dog bed for Staffy

The average male Staffordshire Bull Terrier is 69 cm in length and 36-41 cm in height.

The average female Staffordshire Bull Terrier is 56 cm in length and 36-41 cm in height. (7)

So the best size dog bed for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is large (L) or medium (M).

What size dog bed for Border Collie

The average male Border Collie is 86 cm in length and 48-53 cm in height.

The average female Border Collie is 71 cm in length and 46-51 cm in height. (8)

So the best size dog bed for a Border Collie is large (L) or extra-large (XL).

What size dog bed for Great Dane

The average male Great Dane is 109 cm in length and 76 cm in height.

The average female Great Dane is 90 cm in length and 71 cm in height. (9)

So the best size dog bed for a Great Dane is extra-extra-large (XXL).

What size dog bed for Chihuahua

The average male Chihuahua is 38 cm in length and 22-33 cm in height.

The average female Chihuahua is 24 cm in length and 22-33 cm in height. (10)

So the best size dog bed for a Chihuahua is small (S).

What size dog bed for other common dog types: General Guidelines

  • Toy dog breeds, including Papillions, Yorkshire Terriers, and Pugs, need small dog beds.
  • Small dog breeds, including Scottish Terriers, Jack Russells, and Corgis, need small or medium dog beds.
  • Medium dog breeds, including Shetland Sheepdogs, Australian Shepherds, and Whippets, need medium or large dog beds.
  • Large dog breeds, including Labradors, Boxers, and Rottweilers need large or extra dog beds.
  • Giant dog breeds, including Bernese Mountain dogs, Newfoundlands, and Great Danes, need extra-extra-large beds.

My Final Thoughts

Choosing the right size dog bed is a crucial decision to prioritise your furry friend's comfort and wellbeing. By understanding your dog's sleeping habits, taking accurate measurements, and considering their specific needs, you can confidently select the perfect bed size for them.

Remember to prioritise quality, support, and your dog's preferences to ensure they have a cozy haven to relax and rejuvenate. I hope this article helped you find the right size dog bed for your pooch. Comment below if you have questions!

 

FAQs

Do dogs like smaller or bigger beds?

Whether dogs prefer smaller or bigger beds will depend on the dog’s size, health, and sleeping position. A small dog that likes to sleep spread out will do better with a slightly bigger bed than advertised so that they can enjoy the full length of sleeping space. A large dog who prefers a doughnut sleeping position may prefer a snug bed with high sides to make them feel secure. The best thing to do is observe your dog’s sleeping behaviour to see what would suit them best.

Do dogs prefer circle or square beds?

There’s no evidence to suggest that dogs prefer circle beds over square dog beds or vice versa. It’s all personal preference! Much like humans like different mattress firmness, the shape of a dog’s bed will depend on their sleeping style. A side sleeper may prefer a rectangular bed so that they can stretch out more. A doughnut sleeper may prefer a circle bed to curl up in. Observe your dog’s sleeping behaviour to make the right choice.

References:

  1. Lewsley, J. February 5, 2021. “Is sleeping on the floor actually good for you?”. Medical News Today. Retrieved June 19, 2023. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/sleeping-on-the-floor
  2. Paretts, S. September 1, 2021. “The Importance of a Good Dog Bed”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved June 19, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/the-importance-of-a-good-dog-bed/
  3. “Labrador Retriever”. Dogs Australia. Retrieved June 19, 2023. https://dogsaustralia.org.au/members/breeds/breed-standards/Labrador-Retriever
  4. “German Shepherd Dog”. Dogs Australia. Retrieved June 19, 2023.  https://dogsaustralia.org.au/members/breeds/breed-standards/German-Shepherd-Dog
  5. “Golden Retriever”. Dogs Australia. Retrieved June 19, 2023.
    https://dogsaustralia.org.au/members/breeds/breed-standards/Golden-Retriever
  6. “Greyhound”. Dogs Australia. Retrieved June 19, 2023.
    https://dogsaustralia.org.au/members/breeds/breed-standards/Greyhound
  7. “Staffordshire Bull Terrier”. Dogs Australia. Retrieved June 19, 2023.
    https://dogsaustralia.org.au/members/breeds/breed-standards/Staffordshire-Bull-Terrier
  8. “Border Collie”. Dogs Australia. Retrieved June 19, 2023.
    https://dogsaustralia.org.au/members/breeds/breed-standards/Border-Collie
  9. “Great Dane”. Dogs Australia. Retrieved June 19, 2023. https://dogsaustralia.org.au/members/breeds/breed-standards/Great-Dane
  10. “Chihuahua (Smooth Coat)”. Dogs Australia. Retrieved June 19, 2023.
    https://dogsaustralia.org.au/members/breeds/breed-standards/Chihuahua-(Smooth-Coat)

Olivia De Santos


Olivia De Santos is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach, Professional Writer and Video Content Creator.

Olivia has over 10 years of experience writing professionally and is a dog Mum to Pip, her Podengo and Blue, her Flat-coated Retriever. She loves writing pieces to help people to be better dog owners.

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