Choosing the best dog crate

Crates for puppies and dogs come in a huge variety of different styles, designs, materials, and sizes. There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ best dog crate because which one you choose depends on a lot of variables. The best Crate for your dog is the one it is comfortable.

If you’re selecting a crate for a puppy, think ahead. Instead of choosing a crate that will suit his current size, opt for a crate that will be appropriate when he reaches his full adult size.

However, limit the amount of crate space your puppy has access to until he is house-trained. Puppies won’t piddle or leave a pile where they sleep, but if there’s ample space, they will. Choose a crate with a movable divider, or reduce the space available by placing a cardboard box on one side until he grows.

There are four basic types of dog crates:

  • Hard plastic: Sturdy and durable for frequent travelers.
  • Soft: Convenient for traveling with small breed dogs or puppies.
  • Decorative: Available in a variety of styles to match your home decor.
  • Wire: Ideal for home use; collapsible for easy transport and storage.

Some questions you should ask yourself before you spend your hard-earned dollars on a crate.

  • Do I want an enclosed crate or one with a 360° view?
  • Does it need to be moved from room to room or will it stay in one place?
  • Will I use the crate for car travel? Air travel? Out and about?
  • Is my puppy still at the ‘chew everything’ stage or is he beyond that, or an adult dog?
  • How easy will it be to clean this crate thoroughly?
  • Is it important that it looks good and blends with my home decor?

The best dog crate (aka dog kennel) for your pet has to fit both his needs and yours.

The Best Metal Dog Crate

Ultima Pro Extra-Strong Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crate

I have four small dogs and each has a Midwest crate. For my two Cairn terriers, I increased the size to Ultima Pro, as opposed to the original size chosen for my two older dachshunds. This particular model has two doors, with two latches per door. The door on the longer side allows me to position them flat against the wall side by side, which is a great convenience.

I like the fact I can reach to the back of the crate to position pee-pads or crate blankets, without getting on my hands and knees. It is also a slightly taller crate than the ones used by the dachshunds and allows the Cairns more wiggle room. Presently, the 17 weeks old Cairn puppy sleeps in hers, and there is room for her older brother to enter and have a nap with her during the daytime. Probably, two adult, Cairns would find one cage a bit tight, but it is roomy enough for an adult and one sleepy puppy.

Ultima Pro Extra-Strong Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crate(Click to check the current price on Amazon)

I’ve used Midwest Cages for many years, bought many models for dogs. I’ve always appreciated the fine construction of Midwest products, as well as the features included. I prefer the heavier wire gauge in the Pro line, as well as the type of gate latches. I do not use the dividing panel, never needed it, but it is a thoughtful feature that some folks might like to have.

This model is taller than the two original Midwest crates I purchased for the dachshunds, but the same heavy wire. The wire dimension increases the heft of the crate, but I seldom pick them up. There are rolling rubber “feet” which do not scratch my hardwood floors, and I roll them as needed. Midwest provides two handles to attach to each crate and they make it easy for two people to lift crate with the animal inside, should it be required. I expect these two new crates to last a long time too. I’ve had the dachshund crates, the same quality, since before 2005, and they went through Hurricane Katrina without damage.

I place two crates along a wall, end to end, a rug over the top. The crates are a place of privacy, security, comfort, and each dog has one to call his own. I never use the crate for punishment, but occasionally a time out is required–if you’ve ever lived with more than one dog, you know this! 🙂 Without hesitation, I can recommend Midwest Ultima Pro to a dog lover. Properly sized, it will probably be the only crate you ever need to buy for your companion.

The Best Wooden Dog Crate

Crown Pet Products Wood Pet Crate(Click to check current price on Amazon)

Ok so when I say I did hours of research on the internet to figure out the very best furniture crate to buy for the money, I am NOT exaggerating lol! I had borrowed the typical black wire crate when we got our puppy but he soon grew out of that as it was for a puppy or small dog, to begin with.

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It did the job but was an eyesore. We were lucky our puppy came to us and was always fine in the crate from the go so we know when we are gone for periods of time we will crate him so that is why I wanted to find a beautiful and completely solid option that would look great in our house forever and grow with our puppy.

Crown Pet Products Wood Pet Crate(Click to check current price on Amazon)

His is a mini Australian Labradoodle and should be 32 pounds full grown and a taller. We probably only needed the medium but because of height and because he likes to sleep stretched out we wanted to give him plenty of room:) This crate is AMAZING. Really beautiful (we got the espresso which is more brown for sure but we knew that) This newer model has a plastic sheet that is removable that covers the front door in case you have a chewer (which ours is not) but it looks nice and is a GREAT option for people that are training or have chewers.

I have seen other crates a little less expensive (have actually returned 2 different brands) but they are not nearly as solid nor did the look even half as nice (plastic-looking and too very flimsy). I could not be happier I did the research and read reviews on all different brands, colors, etc. Both I sent back were less expensive but it was OBVIOUS why they were less expensive when I saw them in person.

The Best Two-Door Carrier Dog Crate

Petmate Two Door Top Load(Click to check current price on Amazon)

This is an unbelievable deal, for me anyway. I have two pet pups that measure around 5-5.5lbs/10-11inches tall (from head to toe standing) and the other weighing 8-8.5lbs/11-12inches tall. I was looking for a carrier that could hold them both together comfortable because separating them isn’t going to work for them, no matter if they’re on the outs with each other, lol.

When I searched for a pet carrier for two pets, I never found one so I just combined their weights together and compared the measurements of their old carrier which was a little too big.

Petmate Two Door Top Load(Click to check current price on Amazon)

I’ll add photos to show a better view for you all. Oh yes, I forgot to brag that the assembly was easy and came with extra bolts and butterfly type screws which is a huge plus if for any reason you (I most definitely will,lol) may lose any in the future, maybe taking apart to clean per say.

Last but not least, it has a second door, isn’t that awesome! My husband and I love the color and the unit fits right underneath our end tables in the living room. Couldn’t ask for a better product! Many thanks and blessings!

The Best Dog Crate for Extra-Large Dogs

MidWest Homes for Pets XXL Giant Dog Crate(Click to check current price on Amazon)

When I say this crate is huge, I mean it is HUGE! Unless you have a monster of a dog, Leonberger, Great Dane, Saint Bernard, etc, you will not need this. I have a German Shepherd and thought this would be nice for him to have some room to move around. While the plenty of room part was right, this crate was just too enormous for our needs.

While the set up was fairly easy the crate does weigh a lot and help should be enlisted. To get an idea of the size of this crate I’ve attached a photo that captures its enormity perfectly.

I ended up returning this because it was much too large for our needs, but would highly recommend this cage for those of you with larger breed dogs, or the need to lock up a German Shepherd, a corgi and a family of four.

The Best Mesh, Soft Dog Crate

Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Indoor and Outdoor Crate for Pets(Click to check the current price on Amazon)

This may be the best purchase I’ve made for a dog product. I have a 2-year-old 80-pound golden retriever/lab mix and purchased the largest size in this. She is crate trained and used to sleeping in an XL size wire crate every night. When we found out we were moving across the country, I immediately started worrying about how we would manage her for 5 days on the road.

Having her loose and climbing all over our 3 kids wouldn’t do. We thought about putting the wire crate in the van, but it is heavy and awkward and we wouldn’t be able to easily move in into the hotel rooms with us. So I found this.

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I was impressed with the quality. It actually feels pretty sturdy and the canvas is strong. It sets up and folds down in less than 2 minutes and is light and easy to carry. There was no odor associated with it when we opened it. I set it up in the living room and put some treats in and had her go in.

I closed her in for a couple of minutes, then let her out and gave her another treat. I put treats in the first time I took her on a test drive and she did great. We have a Toyota Sienna minivan and this fits well with the rear seats folded down. We turned it longways (so the front entryway faced the rear) and we still had room for two large suitcases and several smaller bags on the other side. My dog had plenty of room in the crate. We also put her memory foam bed from her wire crate into this one for the trip and she still had plenty of roof clearance.

Noz2Noz Soft-Krater Indoor and Outdoor Crate for Pets(Click to check the current price on Amazon)

I love that there are 3 different access doors. This actually worked well for us as I can’t leave her harness on her in the car or she will chew through it. I was nervous about opening the front door and having her bolt, so I opened the top and put her harness on that way before letting her out the front.

It never occurred to her to jump out the top. I also put her food and water through the top a couple of times on the road. When we got to our hotels we were able to easily break this down and carry it in and set it up again. Then she felt safe and secure in a strange place. (The first night we left it in the van and she lay at the door and barked every time someone walked down the hall- we went and got the crate, put it in a far corner, and she went right to sleep).

One word of caution: be sure the zippers are completely closed. There is a little latch and hook for further security on each door. My husband didn’t use the latch and left the zippers on the bottom part of the door and she was able to nose her way out. This only happened once and we were more careful after that. She loves her crate and rode very peacefully for 5 days.

The Best Polyester, Soft Dog Crate

Go Pet Club Soft Crate(Click to check current price on Amazon)

I am BEYOND happy with this purchase! Trying to find a travel crate large enough for both of my fur kids (Great Dane & Boston Terrier) that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and that doesn’t take up a lot of space in a car… Well, it has been a bit stressful. I took measurements of my female Great Dane since she’s the larger of my two, and tried finding something to fit, based on her measurements. I was a bit worried when I ordered the 42″ Soft Crate by GoPet Club, but apparently there was no reason to be!

First, let’s talk about the travel case – it’s not fancy, frilly thing, and it holds both the crate and floor mat snugly as it should. No mechanical errors with the zips or handles.

Second, the crate’s floor mat – apparently I didn’t read the description of this item thoroughly, because it surprised me to see the mat inside the travel case! It’s not too thick, not too thin and both kids seem to like it. The sheep’s wool top is very soft!

Go Pet Club Soft Crate(Click to check current price on Amazon)

Now, the crate itself! This is definitely large enough for both my 97 lb. Great Dane and my 23 lb. Boston Terrier to snuggle up inside, but still be able to give one another space, if needed. The setup is really easy, all you have to do is zip the front and back panels together.

I like the ventilation windows, and the option to put them up or down. I know it didn’t say this in the description (I double checked) but there is actually a pocket on both of the long sides, which will come in handy for holding treats, a few toys, and leashes.

I had to go into the crate to get my pups to try it out, and I was surprised to find that all three of us fit inside! (It was slightly cramped, but somehow comforting.) I’ll be leaving it up for a few days to let the kids get used to it, but they’re already starting to go in on their own and relax.

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The Best heavy duty dog cage

Guardian Gear ProSelect Empire Dog Cage(Click to check current price on Amazon)

Where was this when my big guy was a small guy and was able to maneuver his way out of ANY/EVERY CRATES…And I mean that literally, he would bend anything and squeeze out. Bars and wires EVERYTHING…Since I bought this I haven’t had to worry about anything. I think I have had it for over a year or close to a year now. The only thing he was able to do was dent the locks are a little bit.

I have bought every single crate on the market this one the best. The tray at the bottom is removable of course and its amazing light to push around on those tires. They also have brakes/locks so it won’t move once locked. My big guy is 100 lb. German Shepard, is big and fits perfectly in there and still moves around in it.

Dog Crate Sizing Guide

X-Small – 22″L x 16″H – 1 to 10lbs

Boston Terrier, Chihuahua, Jack Russel Terrier, Maltese, Papillon, Pomeranian, Pug, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier, Miniature Dachshund, most ‘Teacup’ & ‘Toy’ breeds.

Small – 24″L x 20″H – 11 to 25lbs

Border Terrier, Boston Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Miniature Dachshund, Maltese, Miniature Poodle, Tibetan Spaniel, Yorkshire Terrier

Medium – 30″L x 24″H – 26 to 40lbs

American Pit Bull, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, French Bulldog, King Charles Spaniel, Minature Pinscher, Miniature Schnauzer, Shetland Sheepdog, Welsh Terrier, Beagle, JRT, Miniature Poodle

Large – 36″L x 27″H – 41 to 70lbs

Basset Hound, Belgian Sheepdog, Bull Terrier, Bulldog, Chinese Shar-Pei, English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, Harrier, Schnauzer, Welsh Corgi

X-Large – 42″L x 31″H – 71 to 90lbs

Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Boxer, Chow-Chow, Dalmation, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Siberian Husky, Poodle

XX-Large – 48″L x 33″H – 91 to up

Alaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bloodhound, Giant Schnauzer, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Greyhound, Neopolitan Mastiff, Newfoundland, Old English Sheepdog, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard

Types of dog crates

As explained dog crate should be beneficial for both your dog and you. So making sure which suits your needs, below are few recommendations.

Plastic Dog Crates

Plastic dog crates are the best choice for a puppy.

Because it’s easier to clean and also good for house training. Also best for the dogs who travel by air(approved and recommended) a lot.

Plastic crates are strong and durable. They’re also easy to take apart and to clean. But, they’re not as well-ventilated or as easy to clean as the wire crate.

Most plastic models have a ‘moat’ which runs around the outside edge of the molded plastic floor, this moat is designed to channel and catch his urine and helps to keep him drier.

Wire Dog Crates

Not a good choice for housebreaking purposes but would be my second choice. But they are generally very sturdy.

Wire dog crates provide very good ventilation and also provides 360-degree view of what’s happening around him. Often portable (though they can be a bit heavy).

While they aren’t the most attractive options and can be noisier than other types of crates, wire crates are also easy to clean and offer removable panels so your puppy can grow into space. You can also find some which are collapsible for easy transport and fold down easily when not in use.

Soft-Sided Dog Crates & Carriers

The only purpose of these is for portable options. They are difficult with puppies who chew a lot.

Also tough to clean properly. Not safe for travel crates for car/ air travel.

Best for older dogs of tiny breeds, easy to carry them around.

Heavy-Duty Dog Crate

These tough numbers are made to house the most clever and destructive dogs. They are a bit expensive, yet they more than pay for themselves if you have to replace a less sturdy crate several times due to your pup’s antics.

Another plus for heavy-duty crates: Some are approved for airline travel. So, if your dog is already accustomed to this crate, travel will be much easier.

Decorative Dog Crates

Some of the best looking dog crates fall into this category. We can also call them Crate furniture. Usually made from wood.

These are very tricky to clean and more prone to damage by teeth and claws.