TABLE 3.3 Recommended Minimum Space for Rabbits, Cats, and Dogs Housed in Pairs or Groups*


Weight,a kg

Floor Area/Animal,b ft2 (m2)

Height,c in.(cm)




1.5 (0.14)

16 (40.5)

Larger rabbits may require more cage height to allow animals to sit up.

Up to 4

3.0 (0.28)

16 (40.5)

Up to 5.4

4.0 (0.37)

16 (40.5)


≥5.0 (≥0.46)

16 (40.5)



3.0 (0.28)

24 (60.8)

Vertical space with perches is preferred and may require additional cage height.


≥4.0 (≥0.37)

24 (60.8)



8.0 (0.74)


Cage height should be sufficient for the animals to comfortably stand erect with their feet on the floor.

Up to 30

12.0 (1.2)



≥24.0 (≥2.4)


*The interpretation of this table should take into consideration the performance indices described in the text beginning on page 55.

aTo convert kilograms to pounds, multiply by 2.2.

bSingly housed animals may require more space per animal than recommended for pair- or group-housed animals.

cFrom cage floor to cage top.

dLarger animals may require more space to meet performance standards (see text).

eThese recommendations may require modification according to body conformation of individual animals and breeds. Some dogs, especially those toward the upper limit of each weight range, may require additional space to ensure compliance with the regulations of the Animal Welfare Act. These regulations (USDA 1985) mandate that the height of each cage be sufficient to allow the occupant to stand in a “comfortable position” and that the minimal square feet of floor space be equal to the “mathematical square of the sum of the length of the dog in inches (measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail) plus 6 inches; then divide the product by 144.”

fEnclosures that allow greater freedom of movement and unrestricted height (i.e., pens, runs, or kennels) are preferable.

Wolfensohn 2004). Group composition is critical and numerous species-specific factors such as age, behavioral repertoire, sex, natural social organization, breeding requirements, and health status should be taken into consideration when forming a group. In addition, due to conformational differences of animals within groups, more space or height may be required to meet the animals’ physical and behavioral needs. Therefore, determination of the appropriate cage size is not based on body weight alone, and professional judgment is paramount in making such determinations (Kaufman et al. 2004; Williams et al. 2000).

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