Overall System: PetSafe YardMax
For most installations we recommend the PetSafe YardMax. It is a tried and tested fence that has produced consistent good results for the last decade. The fence has a good mix of value and features. We use the PetSafe YardMax with most of our installation customers and it is by far the most popular system in our online store.
What sets this system apart, is that it is the only wired fence that your dog cannot run through. It is also the only system that lets you set the boundary to extend only outside your yard (instead of both inside and outside) so it leave more space for your dog.
The system has five levels of progressive correction, that self-adjust to take into account the persistence of the dog. We like the long-lasting rechargeable collar battery, and featherweight collar. The collars also have the unique feature of allowing you to tell whether they have been properly fitted. And the system is compatible with wireless indoor and outdoor pods so you can keep your dog out of certain rooms or a veggie garden.
The YardMax is best for dogs over 10lbs. The weakness of the YardMax is that it can only contain a maximum of 10 acres so is not appropriate for very large installations. Also, the YardMax system is NOT cross collar compatible. The system will only work with the YardMax collar and vice versa.
Small Dogs: PetSafe Little Dog
For small dogs, (under 10lbs) the Petsafe Little Dog is the way to go. The collars on regular dog fence systems are too big to be comfortable on a small dog. The PetSafe Little Dog has the smallest lightest collar, and reduced correction levels making it the best choice for very small dogs.
The PetSafe Little Dog is also compatible with PetSafe Stubborn and PetSafe Deluxe in-ground dog fence collars. So you can use a full size, full strength collar such as the PetSafe Stubborn, or PetSafe Deluxe to contain other dogs using the same system.
The main disadvantage of the PetSafe Little Dog is that it uses a proprietary PetSafe battery. The battery costs around $10 and only lasts 2-3 months. But, if your dog is less than 10 lbs this is still the only good choice.
100 Acre Capacity: SportDog SDF-100A
For very large yards (over 10 acres), the SportDog SDF-100 is our recommendation. The SDF-100 has a range of up to 100 acres, unlike most regular strength systems which have a maximum range of 5-25 acres. The SportDog is also useful for large yards in cold climates where the extra signal strength lets you power through accumulated snow.
Built by the hunting dog company, SportDog, this system is one of the toughest and most durable systems, with particularly excellent waterproofing. The system also comes with 1,000 feet of boundary wire twice as much as you get standard with most systems.
The main drawback of this system is the collar is one of the biggest and heaviest wired dog fence collars.