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Guide to Choosing a Dog Crate

With so many crate choices, it isn't always easy to determine which crate is best suited to the needs of you and your pet. There are many factors that will likely influence your decision including the breed of your pet, the intended use of the crate, price and your aesthetic requirements. With this in mind, I have compiled information and recommendations that I believe will help you make an informed crate purchasing decision. Provided in the menu bar to your left are a variety of crate shopping options for those of you who already know which type of dog crate you would like to purchase.

Which size crate is appropriate?

Refer to the breed chart for crate size recommendations. Note that these are general guidelines based on usual adult sizes. As a rule, your pet needs enough room to move around comfortably. The crate should be 6" longer than body length and 6" higher than shoulder height of your adult pet.

Which strength crate is best?

Light duty dog crates are appropriate for new puppies that will be crate trained from the start (applies to wire crates only) and well behaved dogs who have already been crate trained. Light duty wire crates are usually made with lighter gauge wire and with wider spacing between wires. For this reason, light weight wire crates are usually more economically priced than other strengths.

Medium duty dog crates are appropriate for new puppies that will be crate trained from the start, older puppies and for breeds with a mild to average temperament. Compared to light duty, medium duty wire crates will generally contain a larger quantity of heavier gauge wire and with closer spacing between wires. Medium duty crates are the best selling strength with a range of price, door and finish options.

Heavy duty dog crates are appropriate for adult dogs that have never been crate trained and for active or aggressive breeds. Compared to medium duty, heavy duty wire crates will contain a larger quantity of heavier gauge wire and with closer spacing between the wires. Heavy duty crates are often the choice of professional breeders and handlers and are available in a range of price, door and finish options.

How will I use my crate?

To crate train a new puppy - it is recommended that you purchase a crate appropriate for the your breed's adult size in the strength appropriate for your breed. A divider panel is recommended while training so consider crates with divider panels included or be sure to purchase an optional panel for other series.

Primarily stationary in your home - a wire crate of sufficient strength as indicated above should fit the bill. These crates are available in single, double and triple door models. If your indoor space is limited, be sure to consider the additional flexibility that multi-door crates provide.

For travel - many pet owners prefer to have a crate for use at home and a separate crate for travel. After you pet is properly crate trained, light duty dog crates are often the most convenient for travel. A folding wire crate or a soft sided crate will provide light weight convenience and portability. The soft crates are particularily well-suited and include a great carrying tote. If you need a crate approved for airline travel, your best solution is a plastic kennel or aluminum crate. Always consult your airline before purchasing a crate as regulations vary by airline.

Special uses- if you frequently travel with more than a single pet, side by side crates are narrow, allowing two to fit side by side in most SUV type vehicles. Stacking crates might also be an option in some travel situations but would primarily be used in a multi-dog, limited space situation.

What about the crates decorative value in my home?

If it makes a difference to you how well the crate will compliment your home décor, there are several wire crate finish options including chrome, gold, black and white. Another great option for pets who have already been properly crate trained is our beautiful wood pet crate furniture. These pet crate tables are handcrafted and sure to fit any décor. They are available in two sizes which should work for most breeds.


Click to return to the Dog Crates 101 Resources page.

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