How much wire do I need?

How much boundary wire should I get?

The best way to figure out how much boundary wire is to walk around the intended boundary wire path and count your steps.  Multiply the number of steps by three and you have a good approximation of the amount of boundary wire you need in feet.

Most systems come with 500 feet of boundary wire, which can cover about one-third of an acre.  You can buy extra boundary wire in 500 foot lengths.

You can also get a rough idea of the amount of boundary wire you need from the following table:

Area (acres) Wire (feet) Area (acres) Wire (feet)
1/3 500 11 3500
1/2 1000 15 4000
1 1000 20 4500
2 1500 25 5000
3 2000 30 5500
4 2000 36 6000
5 2000 43 6500
6 2500 51 7000
7 2500 59 7500
8 3000 67 8000
9 3000 76 8500
10 3000 86 9000

You can also get an estimate  of the amount of boundary wire by taking the area you want to cover (in acres), multiplying by 40,000; taking the square root; and then multiplying the result by four.    This gives you the approximate amount of boundary wire you require in feet.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Marianne Kinsey February 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Hello, thinking about getting a electric dog fence for our rescue dog. She listens in the house, but when outside there are many distractions (squirrel, cats, birds, etc.). Then she takes off, not listening to come back. Which fence would be the best. We are thinking about 1 to 1 1/2 acres to fence in. Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Marianne. I would recommend looking at a couple of different systems to get an idea of what your options are. PetSafe Yard Max PIG00-11115:
The YardMax is a good, strong reliable system with a few extras such as the YardMax mode. This mode offers a run-through deterrent that would give a continuous correction for 15 seconds or until your dog returns into the yard once crossing the boundary. The YardMax collar is rechargeable with a lithium ion battery and has 5 correction levels so it can pack a good zap, if needed. The collar also has indicator lights that let you know if it is fitted correctly or if the battery is running low and needs to be charged. This collar is appropriate for dogs between 5 and 90 pounds. The YardMax collar will ONLY work with the YardMax system and vice versa.

PetSafe In-Ground Fence PIG00-13661:
PetSafe In-Ground Fence PIG00-13661 is cross collar compatible and works with MOST PetSafe collars but DOES NOT WORK WITH THE YARDMAX COLLAR. This system would allow you to use the PetSafe Deluxe Collar (Standard correction levels, good fpr dogs between 5 and 90 pounds, $69.95), Stubborn (for large dogs or dogs that need more corrective power that are over 40 pounds, $79.95), Elite Little Dog (for dogs under 10 pounds, $99.95), Cat or SportDog (most rugged and waterproof collar and is meant for dogs that are hunting or farm dogs ($99.95)) collars. All of these collars are battery operated and have indicators to let you know when the battery needs to be changed. This system only operates in traditional mode and does not offer the run through deterrent. This is a good, reliable system that will work well in most configurations. This system will support up to 25 acres of wire.

Jeremy October 27, 2016 at 8:11 pm

Hi, I want to fence in approximately 20 acres for my german shepherd border collie cross. All of the land the fence will be crossing is heavily wooded except the driveway. I was thinking of getting the sportdog brand in-ground fence and I want wire that I can just lay down on the surface and not bury (except under the driveway) because it’ll be in woods and not at all practical to bury. What would be the best wire to use for this distance not buried, and where could I get it. (in Canada)


ADMIN – Hi Jeremy. I would recommend getting a 16 or 14 gauge wire for your yard. The extra thickness will add to the durability for the exposed wire. Unfortunately, our sales and support are limited to the United States coverage area. Our licensing means that we are permitted do business and process shipments only within the United States. Therefore, DogFenceDIY is restricted from doing business outside of the United States. For the system, I would contact SportDog directly. For the wire, I would start by calling or visiting electrician supply shops. You will want wire that is rated for direct burial and UV rated. This should hold up the best in outdoor conditions.

Heather July 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm

Is there a such thing as a dog fencing system that requires no wiring? Id so, where can I buy one and how are they installed?

ADMIN – Hi Heather. There are wireless systems that you can take a look at on our Wireless Dog Fence Reviews page. You will want to make sure your yard and home meet the requirements for a Wireless Fence.
You Have a Single-Unit Home
Your House Is At Least 20 Feet From The Road and at Least 20 Feet From Your Neighbor’s Property
Your House Does Not Have Aluminum Siding or Stucco, no metal fencing or chain link
Your Property Has Minimal Landscaping and no outbuildings
Your Property Does Not Have Moderate to Severe Sloping
Your Dog Is Older Than 6 Months and Weighs More Than 8 lbs.

Phyllis June 16, 2016 at 11:53 am

Hi, I’m looking to fence 1 1/2 acres … torn between whether I need 1000 feet or 1500 feet of wire. Your thoughts? Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Phyllis. For 1 1/2 acres, you will want to order 1500 feet of wire. This should give you enough wire to fence in your area, as well as giving you some left over in case you need to fix a wire break in the future or in case your space needs more wire than anticipated.

Nancy November 8, 2015 at 4:22 am

I need to cover 1 acre i have a 7 month old Rottweiler that weighs 80 lbs and still growing what would be the best electric fence for him?

ADMIN – HI Nancy. Have you begun any obedience training with him yet? Is he doing a reliable sit, stay, come, etc.? We usually do not recommend beginning fence training until a puppy has some command with obedience training. What is his temperament? Answering these questions will help me match your dog(s) to the best electric dog fence system.

Nicole February 15, 2015 at 2:10 am

I have a Male pug currently about 20 lbs. I have 4.4 acres I would like to be able to allow him access to. I also have a mini daschound that is about 10 lbs max. I live in Benson, AZ and we get snow and freezing weather here every winter, plus lightening. What is the best system for me ?


ADMIN – Hi Nicole. You will need 2,000 feet of boundary wire to contain your Pug and mini Dachshund in a 5 acre perimeter loop. The Petsafe Little Dog (PIG00-10773) underground dog fence system designed specifically for small dogs. Accordingly it has a smaller collar and milder corrections than regular systems. The dog collars on the PetSafe Little Dog, PetSafe Stubborn, PetSafe Deluxe, and PetSafe In-Ground are all intercompatible. This allows you to use a mix of collars on the same system. This versatility is useful if you have dogs of very different sizes.

TIM ROBERTSON December 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm

i am looking to purchase the iuc-5100 and wanting to cover 2 acres in a rectangle lay-out. how much additional wire will i need. thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Tim, you will need an additional 1,000 feet of wire to cover up to 2 acres.

MJ March 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Hi team,

Does the wire need to be one continuous loop? Is it possible to create “islands” that I do not want my dog to trespass into? I have multiple areas in my backyard (flower beds, air conditioning area, etc) that I do not want poochie crossing into.



1) Yes, the wire needs to be a continuous loop. The wire must go out and back to the wall transmitter.

2) Yes, you can come off the main boundary loop with a section of twisted wire that leads to a smaller secondary loop that surrounds what your planning to exclude.

Raj April 30, 2010 at 12:03 am

Hi Team,
I purchased a 1/3 acre kit recently and the PetSafe unit has been wonderfull. Now the pup and I are moving out to a 3 acre lot. Can I use the same box and more wire? Or, will I have to purchase another transmitter and wire them in series 180* apart?

ADMIN – Hi Raj,

The capacity of the unit depends on what model you have. But, all the PetSafe dog fences have a capacity over 10 acres so you will be fine. I bet your pup will love that extra space!

Deb Witte March 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I just purchased a Pet Safe Little Dog fence unit, and wanted to know if the cable wire, electric wire will interfere with the signal and give my puppy and extra shock?
Thank you, Deb

ADMIN – Hi Deb,

Where possible you want to keep the utility wires six feet away, and if you need to cross them, cross at right angles. The concern is not so much interference, so much as the dog fence signal jumping across into those utility wires and carrying through into the house. This is very rare, but it always pays to check that the collar is not accidentally triggering in unintended places before you put the collar on the dog.

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