Unless you choose to buy a wireless dog fence, an electric dog fence consists of a transmitter, collar and dog fence wire. When purchasing a wired underground dog fence, there are many options to choose from when it comes to dog fence wire, in regards to the thickness.

Stranded vs. Solid Core

Solid core wire is the best option in regards to stranded vs. solid core dog fence wire. Although stranded is easier to work with, it is more susceptible to becoming corroded. Stranded wire tends to be cheaper, but it will need to be replaced once about every 5 years. A solid, copper core wire is much less likely to corrode, and will last twice as long as stranded. For this reason, a solid copper core wire is the best option.

Wire Gauges

Next, it is time to decide which gauge of wire works best for you. With all the different gauges of wire out there, you may not know where to begin. Dog fence wire is generally sold in 20, 18, 16 or 14 gauge.

20 Gauge Wire: The most economical choice, 20 gauge wire is rather thin and prone to breakage. It needs to be buried, to protect it from the elements. However it can also be ran along a fence if the layout calls for it.

18 Gauge Wire: One step up from 20 gauge. Not much better in regards to thickness or longevity.

16 Gauge Wire: Better but not the best. The lower the number, the thicker the wire.

14 Gauge Wire: The best choice for your electric dog fence. A solid core, 14 gauge dog fence wire is thick, durable and long-lasting.

Max Grade Wire: The best of the best. Also a 14 gauge dog fence wire, Max Grade wire has a thicker coating on it than regular 14 gauge dog fence wire.

Above Ground Installation

So now that you know that 14 gauge is the best, let’s talk about another advantage. When you choose 14 gauge, it is UV-resistant, water resistant and direct ground burial rated. This means it is suitable for the wire to stay above ground. All you need to do is tack the wire to the top of the ground using landscaping staples, every 5 feet. This is particularly helpful for containing properties with multiple acres.


One thing that you need to be aware of is that you should never mix gauges of boundary wire, other than skipping one gauge. For example, you can mix a 14 gauge wire with a 16 gauge wire, but you can’t mix a 14 gauge wire with a 20 gauge wire. Skipping too many gauges can cause a fence to not perform as it should.

Marking Your Boundary

You will need 50 dog fence flags for every 500 feet of boundary. Many people think that they are supposed to put the flags in the exact location of the wire. However, this isn’t exactly true. Keep in mind that on your transmitter, you are able to set how close the dog comes to the wire before getting the beep and correction. Wherever you set this boundary to be, is where you are going to place the dog fence flags. For example, if your dog’s collar beeps 5 feet before the wire, this is the location of where you should place your dog fence flags.