SportDog SDF-100A Dog Fence Review


  • Powers up to 100 acres
  • Durable collar
  • Collar vibration feature


  • Bulky collar
  • Collar battery is not rechargeable
  • No battery backup for control box


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SportDog SDF-100A Overview

Summary: Good Long Range System

The SportDog SDF-100A is a system intended for very large installations up to 100 acres. The SDF-100A is a perennial favorite, with a sturdy well-built collar with a vibration warning and best of class waterproofing.

100 Acre Capacity

The SportDog Containment System has a class leading 100 acre capacity, letting you run up to 9,000 feet of boundary wire.

1,000 Feet Boundary Wire

The basic system includes 1,000 feet of boundary wire (sufficient to cover an acres), twice the standard amount provided with other dog fencing system.

Collar Build Quality

SportDog primarily makes heavy duty training equipment for training dogs, and in keeping with that ethos the collar is one of the most sturdy and well built. The waterproofing on the collar is particularly good and it can easily handle full immersion.

Bulky Collar

The SportDog SDF-100A collar is one of the biggest, bulkiest and heavy collars. It is about the size of two 9 volt batteries, and does not suit smaller dogs. Even on large dogs, the collar is very noticeable.

SportDog SDF100A Collar

Vibration Warning

The SportDog collar vibrates as well as beeps to warn the dog when they are getting too close to the boundary. The tactile stimulation of the vibration is nice as it uses an additional one of the dog senses to engage them. Vibration is also useful with old dogs or dogs with hearing loss that have trouble hearing the warning beeps.

Bulky Heavy Collar

The SportDog collar is one of the biggest and heaviest wire dog fence collars. The size of the collar makes it completely unsuitable for dogs under 20lbs. If you have smaller dogs, use the PetSafe Deluxe Collar PUL-275 for dogs over 12lbs, or the PetSafe Little Dog for dogs under 12 lbs.

Note, the SportDog system is compatible with the PetSafe Deluxe collars, the PetSafe Little Dog collars, and the PetSafe Stubborn collars allowing you to mix and match collars to suit each dog’s size and temperament.

Disposable Generic Battery

The collar uses a regular 9V battery that you need to replace approximately every three months. Getting to the battery is a bit of a pain because you need a screwdriver to unscrew the four screws that hold the lid in place, but it does make for a really solid watertight fit.

The system loses points for not using a rechargeable collar. But, at least the battery is a widely available relatively inexpensive generic battery, instead of the obnoxious proprietary batteries used in some systems.

Long and Short Contact Prongs

The collar prongs are unscrewed using a pair of pliers. Included with the system are long and short probes for long hair and short hair dogs respectively.

Four Correction Levels

The collar has four progressive correction levels, that each increase in strength the longer the dog stays in the correction zone.

Independent Correction Levels

The corrections level for each dog on the SDF-100A is adjusted on the collar, which means you can have an independent correction level for each dog on the system. To adjust the correction level, you use a coin to remove a little plastic lid that protects the adjustment button underneath it.

Rubberized Collar Band

The collar attaches with a black rubberized collar band, with metal fasteners. The closure is belt-buckle style. We prefer the quicksnap buckles but this works well enough.

The collar band is not the high visibility orange you traditionally associate with SportDog and that was on their previous generation dog fence. However, it much garish.

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SportDog SDF-100A Transmitter


The heart of the SportDog system is a long-range transmitter that has a 100 acres capacity. The transmitter of the SDF-100A is significantly improved over the previous generation SDF-100. Aesthetically, it is no longer a big plastic brick. It’s now got a curvy face and much more appealing industrial look and is wall mountable using two screws that hook onto the back of the system.

100 Acre Capacity

The transmitter has enough power to contain a 100 acre property (over 9,000 feet of boundary wire). This gives the transmitter the highest capacity of any dog fence system, more than double the capacity of the next highest capacity system. This makes the SportDog the go-to system for owners with large properties.

No Battery Backup

The SportDog transmitter has no inbuilt battery backup, and so will stop working when there is a power outage. While this is a non-issue for most urban dwellers, it is a useful function in rural properties where power availability can be more temperamental. As a system primarily used in rural location, it is a feature we would have preferred to see in the SportDog system.

If you need battery backup, the PetSafe Ultrasmart and the Innotek IUC-5100 have this functionality.

Adjustable Boundary Only

The width of the boundary can be adjusted using a dial on the side of the transmitter. This control can change the distance that that the boundary zone extends from the boundary wire from a few inches through to 10+ feet.

However, unlike the Dogtek EF-6000 and EF-4000, only the boundary correction and warning distance cannot be adjusted independently and instead move together.

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SportDog SDF-100A Wire and Accessories
Dog Fence Wire Gauges

Boundary Wire & Acessories

Tester Tool

The SportDog system includes a basic tester tool for checking whether the collar is working (without you needing to find a patsy to shock).

Professional Gauge Wire Available

The basic system includes 20 gauge wire, but can be upgraded to 18, 16, and 14 gauge wire. Thicker wires like 14 gauge is considered professional grade and is what you would see on an Invisible Fence installation. With professional grade, the copper wire and protective insulation are both four times thicker and stronger than the standard wire. This makes the wire stronger and more durable and therefore less likely to break.

For small installations, upgrading the wire is a modest investment and will dramatically reduces the likelihood of you needing to hunt for wire breaks.

For large installations, the thicker gauges of wire are useful because of their superior transmission characteristics. However, the additional cost imposed by the thicker wire can quickly add up.

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1,000 feet of wire, 100 Flags and 2 Splices

The SportDog includes double the usual amount of boundary wire, 1,000 feet. This allows you contain 1 acre. Additional boundary wire is available for purchase, with the system capable of powering over 9,000 feet of wire.

The wire is direct burial rated, so holds up better in the ground than standard electrical wire. The boundary wire is surrounded by a PET jacket. This protects the wire against the elements better than standard PVC coated electrical wire that will tend to rot, particularly in acidic soils.

The standard SportDog Fence kit includes 100 flags to mark the boundary line during training. It also includes 2 wire splices. Additional flags and splices are available through our online store.

Area (acres) Wire Required (feet)
1/3 500
1/2 1,000
1 1,000
2 1,500
3 2,000
4 2,000
5 2,000
10 3,000
15 4,000
20 4,500
30 5,500
40 6,500
50 6,500
60 7,500
70 8,500
90 9,000
100 9,500
SportDog SDF-100A Two Year Warranty

Two Year Warranty

SportDog systems are covered by a limited two year warranty. This warranty is twice as long as most standard system. The systems to be robust and reliable, and we find they rarely need repairs.

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The SportDog is a good system, and is particularly well suited for large installations where you need a transmitter with a lot of power. The reliability of the system, the durability of the collars, and the two year warranty make it a smart choice.

Where you don’t need all that range there are other choices . For example the Dogtek EF-6000, while it only has 5 acres of capacity, is rechargeable, has smaller collars, and is at the same price point.

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SportDog SDF-100A Video Review

Video: SportDog SDF-100A Review

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SportDog SDF-100A Manual

SportDog SDF-100A Manual

Download the SportDog SDF-100A Manual (PDF).

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Model SportDog SDF-100A
Type In Ground
Collar Battery Disposable – 9 volt
Correction Levels 4 Levels + Progressive Correction
Beep Only Training Mode Yes
Collar Warning beep Yes
Collar Vibration Yes
Independent Correction Levels Yes
Collar Dimensions 2.5” (L) x 1.5” (W) x 1.5″ (D)
Collar Neck Size 13″ – 25″
Collar Water Resistance Waterproof
Collar Fit Test No
Maximum Number of Dogs Unlimited
Minimum Dog Size 20 lbs
Minimum Age 6 months
Maximum Containment Area 100 acres (10,000 feet)
Boundary Width 0-10 feet (adjustable)
Control Box Dimensions 8.5” (L) x 7.5” (W) x 2.5“ (D)
Control Box Power Source Wall Outlet (110V)
Control Box Battery Backup No
Indoor Pod Compatibility No
Outdoor Pod Compatibility No
Included Boundary Wire 1,000 feet (2 x 500 foot spools) + 2 wire Splices
Included Boundary Flags 100
Training Materials Manual
Other Boundary tester
Package Dimensions 15” (L) x 10” (W) x 6″ (D)
Package Weight 11 lbs
Warranty Limited two year

FREE Expert Advice

When you call us, you will talk to an experienced expert.

Containment Guarantee

Your dog will be completely contained to your satisfaction within 30 days, or we will give you a full refund. That is a better deal than you would get from a $2,000 invisible fence. You have nothing to lose.

FREE Dog Fence Guide

experts guide

The PetSafe Ultrasmart come with a FREE copy of our Dog Fence Experts Book on installing a dog fence and training your dog (instantly downloadable in PDF form). The book has 90 pages of great information and tons of illustrations to make installation easy, and training effective. It will save you hours and get you complete containment faster.

You get the book immediately with your purchase. Your order confirmation email will include an instantly downloadable copy of our book. Value $24.95.

30 Day Easy Refunds

easy returns

If you are unhappy with your purchase for any reason you can return your system within 30 days for a full refund of your purchase price. Getting a refund is easy, just email us at or call on (888) 936 – 4349.

Our returns are easy and hassle free:

  • It is no problem if you used the system, that was the point! We will still take it back even if there is some wear-and-tear
  • Did you bury the wire? No problem, we will still take it back. (If you can’t or don’t want to dig the wire back up, we will just charge you the regular price for the wire you kept)
  • The 30 day period starts from the time you receive the package so you have plenty of time to do the installation and training. If you need a little extra time, let us know.
  • The only time we don’t take returns is if it is well after the 30 days, or the unit is seriously damaged.

FREE Wire Break Kit

wire break kit

The wire break kit provides extra wire and splices for you to fix any break in the boundary wire. The kit includes extra wire, two wire nuts, and two waterproof capsules to keep your splice watertight. Value $14.95.

Free Fast Shipping

fast shipping

Shipping within the continental US is free.

Orders placed before 1pm EST ship out the same day. We have warehouses spread across the country so you get your package in 2-3 business days.

12,000 Happy Customers

We had more than 10,000 happy customers last year, and are hoping to have even more in 2012. We understand how important it is to keep your dog safely contained, and understand the trust you place in us when you make an order. We want to make containment as easy as possible. We value your business, and we want you to refer your friends.

Low Price Guarantee

low price guarantee

We strive to have the lowest prices of any SportDog authorized retailer. If you find any of our products at a lower price from an authorized retailer, please let us know and we will be happy to match the price. For a price match, call us on (888) 936 – 4349 or email

PetSafe Authorized

SportDog Authorized

We are a SportDog authorized retailer. This means you are guaranteed the full manufacturer’s warranty, and a brand new system. Beware of unauthorized retailers that sell grey-market systems. Systems coming from unauthorized retailers do not receive a warranty.

Family Owned

Family Owned

We are family owned and operated. We know the only way a small business like ours can prosper is by providing exceptional service at an exceptional price.

We know you can give your business to Wal-mart, Amazon, or anyone on the internet. So we will work harder to get your business. And we work harder after the sale to make sure you have a great experience and tell your friends.

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If you have any questions, comments, or concerns don’t hesitate to call or email us.

We will treat you like our neighbor. No sales pitch. No spam. No obligation. Just honest to goodness advice from the experts.

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{ 129 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad January 2, 2011 at 9:35 am

I have a sport dog in ground fence system already, not the 100 but the older model. My wife and I recently moved and I believe my neighbor has the invisible fence system or at least that’s what he thought it was called. I was wondering since the new home we bought is in a smaller neighborhood, if I put my wire next to his if it will cause problems? I have noticed the new sport dog system you can change frequencies. But I do not believe I can on mine. Do you think my system will interfere with his? If so is there anything I can do besides move my wire in 10′?? The lot is pretty small so I would like to avoid from making it smaller.

ADMIN – Hi Brad,

When you have a neighboring system, the likelihood of interference depends on the frequency they are set up on, and whether they are operating on AM or FM. With an Invisible Fence brand system, they usually have the ability to switch between two frequencies (but the collars cannot). The best way to find out if you will get interference is to rig up a small section and see if the collars are triggering properly.

If you do get interference there are a few thing you can do:

  1. Move Wire – you can move either your boundary wire of the neighbor’s boundary wire a few feet away so that you get more separation. The total amount of separation depends on how high each fence is turned up. Ten feet is a nice conservative figure, but you can often get much closer if each person turns down their boundary width setting a little.
  2. Turn Down Signal Strength – reducing the signal strength on each system can let two boundary wires that are relatively close to each other coexist without interference (although you still need some separation. Particularly with a trained dog, there is no reason to have the boundary more than five feet out from the wire
  3. Switch Frequencies – either you or your neighbor can switch their base station to another frequency. If you know in advance that your neighbor has an electronic dog fence, it is a good idea to get a system that lets you switch frequencies. These systems include the SportDog SDF-100A (the new model only) and the Perimeter Technologies Deluxe. Most Invisible Fence systems can also switch frequency, but the collars do not – so they would need new collars.
  4. Scissors – furtively approach the neighbor’s fence line at night and slice it in a few places like a ninja assassin. If they repair the fence repeat the process.
Melissa December 31, 2010 at 8:17 pm

I have a 40lb dog, 2-20 lb dogs and an 8lb miniature poodle. I have 2 acres of land that I would like to cover. The three bigger dogs are beagles and a beagle mix and are very stubborn. I also need a crossover for a driveway. What system would be best? I’ve been looking at the SportDog SDF 100A. I’m concerned about it being too strong for the poodle.

Also, how deep does the line need to be buried?

ADMIN – Hi Melissa,

The SportDog SDF-100 or a PetSafe Deluxe system would work well for the three bigger beagles, but you are right that it would be too big and strong for the miniature poodle. For the poodle, I would use a PetSafe Little Dog collar which is compatible with the two systems I suggested for the bigger dogs.

The wire only needs to be buried deep enough to keep it safe from a lawnmower. An inch or two is fine, but you can go deeper if you need to.

Ashley December 28, 2010 at 10:24 am

I have 2.67 acres of land and have 2 german shepherds that like to run away, I was wondering if this fence would be good for them? they are 75-85 lbs dogs….I was reading another customers questions and i have to go across my gravel driveway, do i have to put it in piping of insulated it so that the gravel doesn’t tear it up?
Thank You.

ADMIN – Hi Ashley,

The SportDog SDF-100 dog fence works well with German Shepherds. GSDs tend to need higher correction levels but are quick students and tend to learn the fence quickly with a bit of training and a bit of motivation.

If you have a gravel driveway, I would prefer to see you put the wire in some sort of protective pipe like PVC or old hose pipe, particularly if the wire is near the surface. Otherwise the moving gravel abrades the insulation on the dog fence wire and eventually causes a break in the wire.

keith December 6, 2010 at 4:43 pm

We have a 8 month old bull dog. She has recently started to wander away from out 1.3 acre in town property. She is a bit hard headed, though delightful in all other ways. She is a sweet heart. Our property is sloped and well treed. We want the pup to utilize about 1/2 the yard. Which system would you recommend?

ADMIN – Hi Keith,

With a bulldog, I would recommend the PetSafe Stubborn. Often bulldogs, have very high pain thresholds and will not notice unless you give them a strong correction. Of course, all dogs are different, so we would start on a medium or low correction and work our way up only if needed.

Megan November 30, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I have 2, 10 month old German Shepherds and live on a 10 acres. I’m wanting to do the inground fencing for the whole area, but i do have some concerns.This system sounds like a great system to use; and I’m not to worried about the collar since they are large dogs. My issues are: the area is very irregular, how far from the wire is the “warning zone” because it is very narrow between the house and where the fence line would be. Also it would be passing over a gravel road, if i was to run the wire inside a piece of a water hose and placed under/through the road will it interfere with the freq. at all? How do you find if there are any, broken lines or issues? Can you buy extra splices separate if needed?

Thanks! Megan

ADMIN – Hi Megan,

It is completely up top you to set how far from the boundary wire the warning and correction start, you just turn a dial on the base station. You can set it anywhere from a few feet to 10+ feet. I would like to see you set a wider correction zone since you have German Shepherds, perhaps five feet on either side of the wire, although we could do something as small as three feet if we absolutely needed. If you have a narrow side passage, you also need to have another three feet of “buffer space” because your dogs will not want to venture too close to the boundary when they are trained. So to have a useable side passage you would need at least six, preferably eight. If there is not enough space, there are a few work arounds – such as mounting the wire high up on a fence for that narrow section, etc.

For gravel roads, you do want to cover the wire with something like a water hose, or pvc piping – otherwise the wire gets shredded by the sharp stones. This will not interfere with the signal transmission.

The system comes with an extra couple of splices in our Free Wire Break Kit. You can also buy them through our online store, they are about $2 each. In a pinch, you can also use the waterproof wire nuts that are available in any hardware store. To find a line break in the dog fence, you start by inspecting the line and looking for obvious signs of damage (most of the time it is near recent edger, or aerator activity). If that doesn’t turn up the location of the break, the best method for 10 acres would be to use one of these wire break locator kits that lets you hear where the break is located.

For more information on locating dog fence line breaks, take a look at our wire break page.

DeAnna November 26, 2010 at 10:36 am

We have 2 Dalmatian puppies about to be 6 months old (so I don’t know what their individual temperaments will be when it comes to challenging the fence later on). We were looking at getting a wifi fence but we have a metal roof (although it’s on top of a 3 story house so if the unit is on the 2nd or 3rd floor with a line of sight down into the yard, I don’t see how the metal roof interferes with it) In any case we started looking at in ground fences instead however we live in Hawaii and our yard is a lot of lava rock. The whole property is only 1/4 acre and we won’t be fencing in all of it. How do you run the wire so it ends at the house? Won’t you have a wire on both sides of the house that just stop and don’t come together (because I can’t run it through the house) What system do you recommend for us?

ADMIN – Hi DeAnna,

Dalmations shouldn’t pose any problems with training.

I don’t have a good grasp on why having a metal roof interferes with the signal even when you have direct line of site (but it does). Let me reach out to some of the engineers behind the products and see if they can give you a more satisfying answer than “because I said so!”

You do need the wire to form a complete loop, starting and finishing at the control box. If you are only doing only one-side of you yard, the easiest way to complete the loop is run the wire up a downspout – across the gutter – and down the downspout on the other side. The height of the wire above ground stops the dog getting the correction when they enter and exit the house. The Installation–>Planning section of the website has many sample layout diagrams that can help you with your design.

For two Dalmation, an Innotek IUC-4100 is a good choice if you want something smaller with a rechargeable battery. The SportDog would also be a good choice, although a little bigger and with a disposable battery.

Robert Noe November 26, 2010 at 3:48 am

I have reviewed the wired systems and in most of the installation manuals a square or rectangle is shown. Will this work with an irregularly shaped area. I am primarily thinking of a rectangle with a triangular extension. Let me know your thoughts, or if there is one system that is more viable for the irregular shape. Thanks, Bob Noe

ADMIN – Hi Bob,

With the wired dog fences, the boundary can take any shape you want. We just drew squares because it was easier, but you can definately do an irregular shaped boundary.

Sally November 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm

We are considering purchasing the SportDog model SDF-100A but I have a few questions to make sure this is the best model for our needs. We are wanting to confine our dogs to a 60 acre area of our property and our home would be located in approximately the middle of the 60 acres and is where the transmitter will be located. These are my questions: 1) Is there a maximum number of collars that can be used? (we have 2-5, 50-70 lb. dogs at various times), 2) I read in an earlier post that you recommend a larger gauge wire for larger properties…is that what you would reccommend in our case? 3) Is there a maximum distance that I can run the twisted wire from the splits to the transmitter?

ADMIN – Hi Sally,

If you are doing a large area, the SportDog is typically the best choice.

  1. There is no maximum number of collars you can use on the SportDog, or indeed any other wired system
  2. There is a small improvement in transmission when you have the thicker wire. It makes no practical difference for small suburban installation – but when you are doing an extremely large area (larger than 25 acres) it can be useful. This is particularly the case if you get snow accumulation. The thicker wire is by no means mandatory and the thinner wire will still work – but with 60 acres, I think it would be worth doing the thicker wire
  3. There is no maximum distance you can run the twisted wire
Michelle November 5, 2010 at 5:12 pm

We are interested in purchasing the Sport Dog system. Our neighbor uses this system on their dog. Will there be any radio transmission overlaps? In other words, if our wire is running next to his will there be any chance of our dog being able to get in their yard or theirs getting into ours?

ADMIN – Hi Michelle,

Yes will get receive interference from overlapping radio transmissions, unless the wires are more than 10 feet apart. But, the new SportDog model SDF-100A lets you change the frequency at the wall transmitter to avoid interference, so if one of you has teh new SportDog you will be in good shape..

jenn October 31, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Thanks for putting together a very informative web site. I read somewhere else that the SportDog system is compatible with PetSafe collars as well. Is this true?

ADMIN – Hi Jenn,

The SportDog SDF-100 can indeed be used with other PetSafe inground collars. You can use a PetSafe Deluxe, PetSafe Little Dog, or PetSafe Stubborn collar with a SportDog electric fence system and vice versa. One small quirk, the SportDog does not work with the PetSafe indoor zones.

Rick October 17, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Is single strand underground wire available in 1000′ reels. Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Rick,

You may be able to locate that sort of length of wire at a local electrical supply store. We only carry rolls of 500 feet.

Rob September 24, 2010 at 2:04 am

I have 5 acres and have a 9 month old boxer what system would you recommend? I forgot to say I live in the woods and am looking at buying more acreage in the future,plus I do plan on burying the wire and putting the wire in pvc under my gravel driveway. What system would you recommend. Your help would be a big helpful thanks. Rob

ADMIN – Hi Rob,

Two good systems for a boxer and that kind of area would be the Innotek IUC-4100 and the SportDog SDF-100A. If you think the total size is going to be under 15 acres, the Innotek would be my top choice (the Innotek is rated to 25 acres, but I avoid going near the limits). The collar is a lot smaller and is rechargeable. If you think you will need more than 15 acres, the SportDog is a better choice and can take you up to around 100 acres. It has a disposable 9V battery and a bigger collar, but would still be a non-issue on a boxer. Both are good choices.

Shea September 22, 2010 at 10:36 am

Thanks for the very helpful information about the SportDog Collar.

I have a Dalmatian with a short coat of fur. Most reviews I read mention people having Labs and other dogs with heavier coats.
Those prongs look a little long for my short-haired girl. What are your thoughts? Any other recommendations? Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Shea,

The Sportdog SDF-100 comes with short prongs that you can connect for short hair dogs as well as a longer set of probes that can be connected for your shaggy dogs.

JC July 25, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Thank you for your last reply. I was also wondering if there was anyway to use the fence system ( SDF-100) with the sportdog training collar and remote. Is there anyway of getting the remote by itself and using it with the collar that comes with the fence system or would we need to buy the entire training collar kit as well as the fence system? Thanks again for your help – we are getting close to pulling the trigger on buying the system(s) and will be buying them from you. Thanks – JC


Unfortunately the SportDog SDF-100 collar will not work at all as a remote training setup. If you want to do remote training, you either need a dedicated collar, or get a dual purpose system like the Innotek IUC-5100.

Jason Hughes July 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Our family has a three year old lab who loves to run and play. We have twelve acres; however, will only need to equip about five acres with the fence. We have one driveway to contend with. Or main reason for the fence is to keep him from the road and from disturbing the neighbors dogs down the road. The SDF-100 looks like the right choice for us. What are your thoughs and how do we work over the driveway?

Kindest regards,

ADMIN – Hi Jason,

The SDF-100 is a great fence, but it may be too much for what you need. It’s made to cover up to 100 acres, and you’re looking to only fence in 5. The Innotek 4100 has a capacity of 25 acres, so you’d be okay with this fence no matter if you fence in 5 acres now and decide to expand it to 12 acres later on. The other reason to look at the 4100 is that Lab’s do really well on any of the dog fence systems. He’ll do great on both the SDF-100 or Innotek 4100. The reason I recommend the 4100 is that it can meet your needs plus it has some things the SDF-100 doesn’t like a rechargeable collar. Also, the collar has a low profile design which makes it one of the smaller collars compared to the SDF-100 collar that’s the largest collar.

As for the driveway, if you’re not hot on tunneling under, you can run the wire in one of the expansion joints and caulk over it. If it’s asphalt, you can use a masonry saw blade on a circular saw and cut in a few inches and lay the wire then caulk over it. We’ve had customers alternatively run the wire through a culvert.

JC July 21, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Hi – we are considering the SDF-100 to cover about 5 acres of a wooded lot for our 9 month old Black Mouth Cur ( a very strong and determined hunting dog ). My question is on the installation through the woods. I am planning on clearing a path and then renting a ditch witch to cut the trench. Would it be worth while to install the wire inside pvc tubing or would that make it more difficult in the event of a break? The other option I considered would be to just bury the wire under ground cover and not dig the trench at all. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. – JC


You can definitely run the wire along the ground with landscaping staples. Many customers who have multiple acres to run use this installation method. Many will also just bury the sections that are close to the home with wooded sections above ground.

I don’t believe you’ll need the extra precaution of pvc pipe, but it can’t hurt.

Viki July 17, 2010 at 5:14 pm

I’d like to fence 100 acres, with 3 Great Pyrenees, How much fence will I need?

ADMIN – Hi Viki,

For 100 acres, you would want at 9500 feet of wire. If possible you want to run the system, about 20% below it’s capacity – you get much stronger boundaries when the system is running a little below capacity. Alternatively, consider using a thicker gauge of wire, like 18 gauge. The ultra-large installations are one of the few situation where there will be a benefit from running a thicker gauge of wire.

Kim June 20, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Hi! A few years back we purchased a petsafe system ( 1-2 acres) an installed it. It worked great for about 2 weeks. Unfortunately, there were so many breaks we gave up on trying to find them all. Based on the breaks we found, we think chipmunks ate through the wire. Now we have a lab and a husky that we need to contain and I am trying to determine the best method. I thought about invisible fence thinking the wire may be a heavier duty wire than the ones you can install yourself . Also, thinking about the WI-Fi wireless fence. Your opinion and suggestions would be much appreciated.

ADMIN – Hi Kim,

Where there are critters trying to eat your wire, we will often put the wire in old hose pipe, or flexible irrigation piping (like the type used on sprinkler system) to provide a bit of extra protection. You can also try thicker gauges of wire, but that is less helpful – if anything is going to chew through the standard 20 gauge, a slightly thicker wire is not a much bigger challenge.

Cindy June 20, 2010 at 4:03 pm


I have been doing a lot of reading and it seems like the Sportdog SDF-100 is the right choice for our 1/2 acre river front property and my 55 pound lab mix. My only concern is the dog jumping in the water with the collar on. It would be totally submerged in the water. Is the collar truly waterproof or just water resistant? Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Cindy,

The SportDog Collars are fully waterproof. They will happily deal with full submersion.

dh May 27, 2010 at 8:29 am

what do you use for lightning protection i have approx 30 acres fenced in with the sdf-100 and have gone through 3 transmitters in the last 2 years due to lightning. the last one lasted 3 weeks before being destroyed. it was on a surge protector, grounded and turned off but the lightning came in through the perimeter wire and completely destroyed the unit and power supply


We recommend a dedicated lightning protection module designed specifically for invisible dog fences. It is a little box that stops lightning coming back in through the boundary wire and destroying the unit. A surge protector doesn’t help, they are designed to stop surges in your electrical wiring affecting appliances and can’t do anything to stop lightning coming back in through the boundary wire and into the control unit.

Sabriena & Alice April 24, 2010 at 6:48 pm

We are considering the SportDog SDF-100 however we are unsure if its the best fit for us. We have 2 dogs, a 13 yr old shi tzu, and a 1 1/2 yr old german shep mix. We need a system that would fit our subdivison sized yard and wouldnt seriously injuire our small dog but would be enough to stop our larger dog. Can you recommond some different fences for us.

ADMIN – Hi Sabriena & Alice,

The SportDog is a good choice for the German. But, I think the SportDog SDF-100 collar is going to be much too big for the Shih Tzu, especially an older dog, I would not use it on any dog under 20 pounds. The collar is just too big and heavy. I think she woudl be happier with a PetSafe Little Dog Collar. You can add an extra PetSafe Little Dog, which is a lot smaller and lighter. All the PetSafe inground collars are compatible with the SportDog system.

Lana April 14, 2010 at 12:24 am

I am considering the SportDog but can’t find any information on whether the system is designed so that you can create smaller “keep out” zones (like for a vegetable garden) inside the larger electric perimeter. Does this system have that capability?

Thanks for any insight you can provide!

ADMIN – Hi Lana,

The SportDog SDF-100 can be used to create small protected islands. You acheive this by doing a separate loop of single boundary wire around the area you want to protect. Then you link this smaller loop to the main loop using twisted wire. Indoors you can create small protected areas using the PetSafe Indoor Zones which are compatible with the SportDog SDF-100

Sarah March 18, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I have just purchased the SportDog SDF-100 for our yard- I have seen other brands not for DIY which offer an adapter you may put into a room in the house to keep dogs out of certain areas– Does Sport DOg offer this and if not what do you suggest?

ADMIN – Hi Sarah,

The SportDog SDF-100 is compatible with the Petsafe InGround Systems. So you can use the collar with the PetSafe Indoor Zones. You can also use any of the PetSafe In Ground collars with the SportDog (and vice versa)

Lyle Whitney March 2, 2010 at 10:44 am

Our house is in the middle of a 20 acre field. We bought the sport dog system. I have a question about what you recommend about the size of the area we should enclose. My first thought was to run the wire around the whole 20 acres, there is a fence row so we could just weave the wire through the existing fence. We have an older dog that rarely strays more than serveral hundred feet from the house and a new 1 1/2 year old lab for whom the fence is intended. I am sure that 5 acres would cover plenty of space, but would require more work because we would have to bury 1,000 feet or so of wire. Should I take advantage of the fence row with the downside of having 3,500 feet of wire to maintain, or go with the smaller area? A second related question: In the training manual it is recommended that the trainer let the dog wander around and encounter the border without leading him/her to it. With a 20 acre field, they could wander for quite a while without encountering a boundary. At best they would come upon one line that is close to the house. Can we train them on one side of the boundary?

ADMIN – Hi Lyle,

I would do the whole 20 acres, like you say it is a lot easier to make use of an existing fence for installation. Plus breaks are a lot easier to find and repair. The only reason I would go with the smaller is if you specifically want to keep them in the smaller 5 acre space (for example if you always want to keep them within the line of site)

I would train them in lots of different spots in the field. What they mean is don’t lead them through the electric boundary border. But, you can definitely lead them close to the border. (i.e. take them on the lead to within say 5 feet of the boundary flags). Letting them wander completely unfettered does not make sense when you have 20 acres in the same way that it would if you have half an acre!

Robert February 27, 2010 at 11:32 pm

I am considering an invisible fence and came across the SportDog SDF-100 at a great price. While searching for reviews, I came across your site which I must say has been very helpful. I have a few questions and was hoping you could answer with your opinion.
1) I have a subdivision neighborhood sized yard, probably less than a 1/4 of an acre. Would this system be way to big for my sized yard since the SDF-100 can handle up to 100 acres?
2) Would a system that can handle 100 acres use much more electric than a system that handles say up to 25 acres or does it use electric based on how much wiring you use?

Thanks for your help.

ADMIN – Hi Robert,

The SDF-100 works fine on smaller yards. There is a switch on the side of the SportDog transmitter that you use to reduce the amount of power coming out of the unit for smaller installations.

Generally these are very low drain devices. The unit does use more power when used for larger installations when we turn up that installation size switch. But you will have it turned down, will not use that extra power.

For a smaller yard, I might consider some other systems. The SportDog comes with 1000 feet of wire which you don’t need and are paying for. There are a couple of other systems that come with 500 feet of wire which will be plenty for your situation and are worth considering. The PetSafe Stubborn is very similar, and significantly cheaper. Or if you want to pay a little more consider the PetSafe Ultrasmart which is rechargeable.

Craig February 1, 2010 at 12:47 am

what is the typical lifetime of the typical alkaline 9v batteries? I know they may rechargeable 9v batteries, which will have variable lifetimes.

ADMIN – Hi Craig,

A good quality battery lasts about three months.

Sheri November 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Love your website, very informative!! I was just wondering if you could suggest the best fence for us. We have a large yard 153 acres but I don’t want to fence it all just a large enough portion (mainly block the front due to the highway) and we have one large dog but will be getting a new puppy that will require training. We would also require the collar to be waterproof (dog loves to go through the creek) and also be equiped with lightning protection. An added bonus would be a Li ion rechargeable battery. Which product would you recomend that would best suit our needs. Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Sheri,

153 acres is tough, but there are options up 100 acres. Three good options below. All are waterproof and can take lightning protection:
Sport Dog SDF – 100: up to 100 acres; toughest of the lot; uses regular 9V batteries; largest range
Dogtra EF-3000: 40 acres; rechargable lithium polymer battery; little older design
PetSafe Ultrasmart: 25 acres; smallest collar; rechargable lithium ion battery; smallest range

Hope that helps

mac November 2, 2009 at 5:32 pm

I would like to add an invisible fence on my property. I have electric livestock fence that contains livestock but will not contain dogs. They do respect the electric fence but they will dig under or jump over being sure not to touch the fence. I think an invisible fence will reinforce the physical barrier that is already there. Will the frequency given by the electric fence interfere with the invisible fence? Does it matter what kind of wire I use for the invisible fence? I would like to add a wire to the electric fence line that would be dedicated to the invisible fence transmitter and not hooked up to the electric fencer.

Admin – Hi Mac,

You can sometimes get interference between the electric fence and the dog fence. One way to reduce this risk is to put the dog fence as high above, or as low below the electric fence as possible to get some separation. Afraid the only real way to figure out if your unit will cause intereference is to try one out. Just rig up a small section and see if everything works ok.

As to wire, pretty much any insulated wire will do. Try and get something weather resistant because this will last you a bit longer out in the sun all day.

m September 30, 2009 at 2:26 pm

I am confused about what is wrong with my SDF-100. We installed it in April, and it worked fine until recently. The loop light and power light are both on. I replaced the battery in the collar with a new one that was previously tested. I have not changed the range setting; however, nothing happens anymore when I take the collar to the boundary. We have not installed any large appliances or wires that could be interfering, nor has our neighbor installed a wireless fence of his own. What is going on?

ADMIN – sounds like either the collar or the main box is shot, most likely the collar. The good news is that you are under warranty. Time to call SportDog! 1-800-732-0144

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