Underground dog fences have become growingly popular among pet parents looking to keep their mutts safely contained in the back yard while still having the freedom to play and explore.

One of the most critical factors in both the performance and the lifespan of an in-ground fence is the quality of the wire you use.

What size wire does professionals use for in-ground fences, then?

How to Choose the Best Wire for an In-Ground Dog Fence

There is more to the wire required for an in-ground dog fence than just the size.

  1. Wire gauge
  2. Factory wire vs. pro-grade wire
  3. Wire resistance
  4. Durability of wire
  5. Workability of wire
  6. Twisted wire

1) Wire gauge

The wire used for in-ground dog fences comes in many different gauges.

20-gauge wire is the thinnest used and 14-gauge is the thinnest typically used. In between, you can find 16-gauge and 18-gauge wire.

Most DIY dog fence kits come bundled with thin 20-gauge wire that’s coated with vinyl. Thinner gauge wires need to work harder in order to keep your pet within his boundaries.

Most professionally-installed fence systems use 14-gauge wire. This type of wire uses about four times the amount of copper. It also has a thicker jacket than the other gauges of wire used for in-ground fences. This can be beneficial for homeowners looking to minimize the chance of the wire becoming damaged.

The size of the wire is not the only critical factor, though.

2) Factory wire vs. pro-grade wire

Factory-grade wire comes bundled with most in-ground dog fence kits. The wire will cost less than pro-grade wires due to their middling quality and their lighter weight.

This reduced quality of factory wire means it is more susceptible to cracks, reducing overall functionality and decreasing the lifespan of your dog fence.

Professional-grade wires are built to cope with harsh elements like water exposure and freezing conditions, as well as general wear and tear. Pro-grade wire stops you from needing to prematurely dig up the buried wire to replace it.

A robust insulated wire made from polyethylene and rated for burial is highly effective for in-ground dog fences. HMWPE (high molecular weight polyethylene) is one of the best options at your disposal if you’re looking for professional results.

3) Wire resistance

HMWPE will deliver greater impact strength and more rugged wear resistance. This type of wire is designed to perform well at both high and low temperatures. It is also resistant to stress cracks, making it the optimum option for a variety of engineering applications like installing in invisible dog fence.

HMWPE offers superior resistance against:

  • Abrasion
  • Corrosion
  • Chemicals
  • Crushing
  • Moisture
  • Oils

4) Durability of wire

Some people installing an in-ground dog fence prefer to use thicker wire – 14-gauge or 16-gauge – for in-ground dog fence applications because they believe that this will prevent wire breaks and improve lifespan.

You will find that most professional installers feel the same way. There is a significant difference in durability between a 14-gauge and a 20-gauge wire.

While manufacturers successfully cut costs by bundling thinner, cheaper wire and you benefit from cheaper shipping costs, you lose in terms of longevity. Corrosion and breakage are both commonplace with thinner gauge wires.

In addition to the wire gauge, both the thickness of the coating and the chemical compound use are important factors, arguably even more important than the size of the wire.

There are two main types of chemical compound used for these wires:

  1. Vinyl-coated wire
  2. Polyethylene plastic-coated wire

Professional installers will use either a 14-gauge or 16-gauge wire with a coating of 45ml. This coating provides the copper interior with an additional waterproof layer of protection that will make it far more durable than the coating applied to 20-gauge wire. These thinner wires are typically coated with vinyl, and they are not waterproof. Both types of wire will work when you first install the fence. The main difference comes in the number of times you will need to repair your wire over the years, and the number of times you will need to replace it.

5) Workability of wire

The primary advantage of using thinner wire like 20-gauge wire is its improved workability. Thinner wire is easier to work with, and it’s also more flexible. This is a crucial factor to consider, particularly if you intend to make your own sections of twisted wire, or if you plan to lay out your wire in a more demanding configuration. Due to its flexibility, this type of wire can be more easily twisted Thicker gauge wires are also stiffer, so although they might be longer-lasting, they are also often more challenging to work with.

6) Twisted wire

Twisted wire is used to hook up the perimeter wire to the transmitter box. This type of wire can also be used to lay out internal no-go zones for Rover. Twisted wire will not trigger the collar to deliver correction.

You can buy pre-made twisted wire. This is the smartest option if you require a longer length.

Alternatively, you can twist your own wire. You should try to include at least one twist in every inch of wire. This will shorten the eventual length of the wire. To mitigate this, start with a length of wire that’s four times as long as needed.

Fold up the wire so it is in half. Fix the looped end of the wire to a fixed point then twist or tighten the free ends using an electric drill. Once the wire is twisted, cut off the looped end.


Today’s guide should allow you to choose the highest quality wire for your new in-ground dog fence. Using the best wire can make a significant difference to both the lifespan and the performance of your fence over time.

If you’re a first-time visitor to GO Boxer Rescue, we recommend that you bookmark our blog. Come back any time you want informative guides showing you how to get the most from your dog gear. See you soon!


1) Will an electric pet fence hurt my dog?

An electric fence will not hurt your hound. These systems work by delivering a mild and harmless electric charge to the pet through the collar. This correction is emitted when a signal travels along the wires that you bury underground.

2) Do I need to install an in-ground fence completely underground?

While it is not essential to install an in-ground fence underground, these pet fence systems work most effectively when the wires are buried underground. This means there will no risk of someone tripping on the wires and they will not become damaged by the weather or garden equipment. Bury the wires several inches below the ground for best results.

3) Is it best to use thicker or thinner wire with an in-ground dog fence?

A thicker wire will return a much lengthier lifespan. Additionally, thinner wires are much more prone to breakage and corrosion.

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