Wolfdog Containment Solutions

Go Back to Wolfdog Containment Solutions  Explore more types of fencing used to safely and securely house our wolfdogs !

Suggestions for Fencing Fabric, Guage of Wire and Posts

Nine guage chainlink prevents this wolfdog from chewing through.
Nine guage chainlink prevents this wolfdog from chewing through.
For many (not all) wolfdogs, heavy-duty fencing materials are essential. The most obvious reason why, is that lighter guage wire or chainlink can be chewed through faster than the heavier duty. Lighter guage can also be pulled right down off the support poles simply by the animal scratching at it (lighter stuff tends to bend and mangle easier).

To avoid such problems, and the expense of having to replace shoddy fencing, we suggest you install heavier duty materials straight off. The 9ga fencing (seen in photo at left), helps prevent "Kiva" from chewing through.

In chainlink-terms, what does "heavy duty" mean? Well, the standard chainlink fabric offered at most home improvement centers is usually 11 guage. Ideally, what you're looking for is the heavier 9 guage. Fencing contractors can help put you in touch with suppliers if this is not readily available in your area. The key to gauge is: the lower the number, the thicker it is.

Also a bonus, is that the 'diamonds' of 9 ga as opposed to the lighter 11 ga, tend to be a little narrower making it harder for the animal to get a body part out of the fence and more difficult for humans to get a body part in.

It is important to note that with heavier duty fencing fabric comes the need for heavier duty line posts, corner posts and top rail too ! (Suggestion: corner posts 2 and 7/8ths inches wide, line posts 2 and 3/8ths, top rail 1 and 5/8ths inches wide).

Don't expect thinner poles to stand up very long while weighted down by 9 ga fabric, even if the poles are cemented into the ground deeply. We recommend that if instead of 9 ga you choose to use the lighter 11 ga fabric, make your posts heavier-than-standard and set them deeper into the ground than most fencers recommend. This might save you from having to re-do everything in years to come.

If you decide to use wood posts or peeler cores, don't bother with anything thinner than 4x4. Also be aware that wood tends to split or bend as it ages, and can wiggle right up out of the cement you planted it in. Been there, done that, won't go back to using wood (just some friendly advice).

ligher guage prefab chainlink gate
Prefab (12.5ga) light chainlink gate.
heavier guage custom chainlink gate
Custom (9ga) heavier chainlink gate.
Comparison: The materials used for the construction of gates are also very important to consider. Usually, dogs (and wolfdogs) who are determined to make an escape attempt do so starting at the gate.

Examine not just the guage of the materials, but the frame construction technique too.

Standard prefab chainlink gates (pictured at left) can be pulled in / pushed out either down at the bottom edge or at the top, bending the metal frame. Wrapping a length of chain at the bottom to prevent the door from being bent and the animal wiggling through, is in most cases no more than a bandaid.

The custom welded gate (pictured at right), is framed with heavier materials. It can't be bent in or out as easily as the prefab gate, as the frame is sturdier in it's construction and materials. This is the style of gate many dog kennel operators, animal control facilities, veterinary hospitals, and wolfdog owners use as it is a much longer-lived investment.

You may also notice the cement pad underneath the gate. This is to prevent wiggle unders. Both gates pictured do have cement sills under them, although in the case of the prefab gate the sill is covered in dirt to make it less visually noticeable.

For more info on gates, see also:
  * Double-Gated Entryways

Dog fence
Common "dog fence"; inappropriate for wolfdogs.
This is a common "dog fence" (and that's a DOG in the photo). The welded wire fencing used is 1 x 2" squares, extremely thin 14 ga. Almost invisible from a distance, this wire fence is really not what you want to use to contain a dog... let alone an animal of more recent wolf inheritance.

The sister to this type fencing is "horse fence", which tends to be around 11 ga and possibly taller. Might be welded or might be flexible such as like the stuff called "no climb" dog fence. Whatever it's called in your area, it's risky business using these type materials.

Arguably, some lower content or very aged, mellow wolfdogs might do fine if supervised in this type of fencing. But, most don't. All it takes is motivation, and even doggy-dogs can hop over, ram through, chew through, tear down, pull up, or just lean into this flimsy fence and down it'll go. Why go through the expense and trouble of putting up this type fence when within a very short timeframe you may have to replace it?

Remember, it's wise never to let an animal learn how to escape - otherwise it may become habitual. Once an animal comes to find that escape is possible, he might spend the rest of his life putting any fencing to the test in the attempt to bust out again, if nothing else just for kicks. They don't tend to "unlearn", so please keep one step ahead and put up proper fencing to start with.

Some wolfdogs can be contained with 7 foot tall wire fence that's buried 3 feet into cement.
Some "super mellow" wolfdogs are less intensive in their containment needs than others.
At the very beginning of this page, I mentioned that not all wolfdogs require heavy-duty materials. Just as not all dogs are "easy keepers", not all wolfdogs are "as intense" as others.

Some wolfdogs, depending on the content range, generation from last full-wolf ancestor in the heritage, the individual's unique temperament/personality, socialization and habituation, live primarily in the house with minimal outdoor containment facilities. Some wolfdogs require no more than a wooden privacy fence with chainlink dig-guards and some hotwire along the top edge.

Some make no attempt to hop over 6 foot tall fencing, others can't be kept in anything shorter than 10 foot. Some, (like the low to lowermid content wolfdogs pictured here) do fine in 7 foot tall welded wire fencing that's buried 3 feet down into a cement dig barrier.

The point is, use your own best judgement as to the type of materials you use to contain your wolfdog. Know what your critter is capable of, and fence to avoid any escapes or incidents in the future. There really is no such thing as overkill where fencing is concerned - it's better to be prepared than really sorry later.

See also:
  * Barbless Lean-in Arms
  * Dig-Guards
  * Electric Hotwire

"Wolfdog Containment Solutions" Copyright ©1999-2004 Gudrun F. Dunn. Permission to use these materials (photos/text) for any other purpose than to simply view as part of The Wolf Dunn web site, is not granted without prior permission. Contact (Kwewu7@inetdesign.com) for permission.

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