Buyers Guide – How To Buy A Crate For A Dog

Where to buy a dog crate

When it comes to our four-legged canine best friends, we always want what’s best for them. This includes knowing how to buy the right crate for our dog. To ease any potential new-dog-parent anxieties, I’ve done some digging to create the ultimate guide on how to buy a crate for your dog! 

How to buy a crate for a dog? Consider the following factors to help you buy the best crate for your dog:

  1. The age of your dog
  2. The breed of your dog 
  3. The intended physical location of the crate (indoor/ outdoor)
  4. Crate style/material/aesthetics
  5. Safety considerations
  6. Feature/functionality of the crate you desire 
  7. How much you can afford. 

Now, this may feel like a lot of considerations to make when selecting a crate for your dog, but it’s important to know how to buy the right crate for your dog so that they feel safe, secure, happy, and healthy when they’re in it. To help in the crate selection process (bearing in mind the well-being of our dogs and their owners), I’ve simplified all of these factors into a user-friendly guide that I’m confident will help you efficiently pick the perfect crate for your four-legged pal. 

Why You Should Trust Us

To bring you the best insight on how to buy the perfect crate for your furry best friend, I’ve sought advice from my vet, pet care professionals, my life-long dog-owning parents, my crazy dog-lady aunt who doubles as my niche pup-care specialist, and other fellow dog parents! 

Personally, as a life-long dog owner (and dog ‘sister’ growing up), and current dog/parent to a new rescue puppy, I’ve always wanted the very best for my chosen family members – because that’s what my dogs are to me – family. That being said, when it came to my new puppy, with his unknown past, I wanted to make sure I was getting him the best crate that he would feel secure and comfortable in when I am away.

How To Buy A Crate For A Dog

Buying factor #1 – How old is your dog?

The first thing to consider when buying a dog crate is how old your dog is.

The size of the crate in relation to your dog is a key buying factor. If you have a puppy, you’ll have to replace the crates as they grow, depending on the breed. 

If your puppy belongs to a large breed, you may have to replace your dogs’ crate once, if not twice, before they reach adulthood, or invest in a crate with expanding dividers that “grow” with your pup. 

If this is the case, it may be financially beneficial to purchase lower to middle-of-the-road crate for your puppy, especially while crate training, and then invest in the absolute best crate for your adult dog, and your home, since this purchase is more permanent – I’ll get to those particulars in a bit.

However, if you’re purchasing a new crate for your already life-long companion, or for an already full-grown family addition, a great crate should only be a one time purchase! 

Buying factor #2 – Breed of dog

When buying the perfect, properly sized crate for your dog, their breed is an most important determinant in this process, along with their age. 

Crate sizing guide

When selecting the proper size crate for your dog, typically the height and length of your dog will determine the correct size. 

The ideal size crate will allow your pup to stand up without having to duck his head below his shoulders, turn around, lie down comfortably, and stretch his full body length without being cramped

However, keep in mind that for puppies and some small breed dogs, the crate should not be too big either! 

If the crate is too big, your pet may be tempted to potty in it if they have room to do so.

Additionally, a too-roomy crate may not feel secure, safe, or comfortable to your young/ small dog, which may cause them anxiety

Anxiety in dogs can be a difficult thing to deal with, as it often leads to behavioral issues such as:

  • Destructive chewing
  • Fearfulness
  • Barking/ whining (distress vocalization)
  • House soiling
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Pacing and restless
  • Other compulsive behaviors e.g. purposeless digging.  

These things are no fun for our fur-babies to experience, nor are they easy for their owners to manage! This is why it’s important to know how to buy a crate for your dog since the proper crate is an important factor in their well-being and a determinant in our potential relationship with our canine companions. 

To find the right sized crate for your dog, use the following steps to determine the correct dimensions, and check out the matrix below to simplify the sizing process. 

Measuring Your Dog to Determine Crate Dimensions

  1. Length. Measure the length of your dog from nose to tail, and add approximately 2-4” to their overall length if they’re a long-tail breed (no docked tail). This determines the necessary length of the crate.
  2. Height. Measure the height of your dog from the ground to the top of their head, or to the tips of their ears if they have naturally erect ears. Do so while they’re both sitting and standing. This determines the necessary height of the crate.
  3. Width. For most crates, the width is automatically determined by the length and height, or general crate size/ breed of dog. If you find crates that are the proper length and height but have different possible widths, a good rule of thumb is to add 2 inches for smaller dogs, and 4 inches for larger dogs. 

This is also great information to know if you’re interested in custom-built crates. If this is a route you’re interested in, check out this site for incredible custom-built furniture dog crates.

Crate Sizing Made Easy 

Extra Small – XS19L x 14W x 15H22L x 18W x 20H1-10 lbsChihuahua, Brussels Griffon, Pomeranian, Papillon, Maltese, Yorkie, Affenpinscher, Toy Fox Terrier, Toy Poodle etc. 
Small – S23L x 16W x 16H24L x 18W x 18H11-25 lbsBichon Frise, Boston Terrier, King Charles Spaniel, French Bulldog, Mini Dachshund/Dachshund, Mini Pinscher, Pekingese, Mini Poodle, Yorkie
Medium – M28L x 19W x 21H30L x 21W x 24H26-40 lbsAmerican Foxhound, Australian Cattle Dog/ Shepherd, Beagle, Border Collie, Bull Terrier, Dalmatian, King Charles Spaniel, French Bulldog, Springer Spaniel, Poodle, Pitbull
Large – L36L x 24W x 28H40L x 27W x 30H41-70 lbsAkita, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie Basset Hound, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Boxer, Bulldog, Chinese Shar Pei, Dalmatian, Husky, Retrievers** Poodle
Extra Large – XL 40x 28W x 29H42L x 28W x 31H71-90 lbsAlaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog, Beauceron, Bloodhound, German Shepherd, Greyhounds, Retrievers**, Rottweiler, Russian Terrier
Extra Extra Large – XXL46L x 30W x 33H(+)90+ lbsAlaskan Malamute**, Bernese Mountain Dog**, Bloodhound**, Mastiff, German Shepherd**, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Retrievers**, Rottweiler**, Saint Bernard

** Some of the breeds are listed in more than one size category – this is where age and general differences come into play, which is why it’s always best to know at least rough measurements of your dog when selecting their crate. 

Now that you’ve determined the dimensions/size of the crate you’ll need to house your dog, and learn why it’s important to know how to buy a properly sized dog crate, we can get down to the details of selecting the perfect crate for your pup. 

Buying factor #3 – Where is the crate going?

The next step in crate buying is knowing whether you want an indoor or outdoor crate, or potentially investing in one that could be used as both. Furthermore, what kind of space does the crate need to fit into?

If you’re crating your dog outdoors for potentially long periods of time, you might want to consider a large outdoor run or chain-link kennel for them, especially if they’re a large breed dog. 

If this is an option you are considering, keep in mind that your pup should also have a proper size crate or dog house inside to be their shelter and safe place. And if you live somewhere in which seasonal weather is an issue, you should have a crate you can bring indoors during inclement seasons. 

Buying factor #4 – Desired crate style & material 

Dog crates come in many different materials and aesthetic styles, which is great for us as owners because this factor gives us some financial flexibility and lots of style options for decor-savvy pet parents. 

When all other price factors are kept constant (e.g. crate size, quality, additional features, etc.), the desired material and style of the crate is the next determinant in the cost of your dog crate.

Plastic, Portable Dog Carriers

These crates are typically made entirely of thick plastic and have a front-facing, swinging door and a carrying handle on top. (View an example).

Helpful if you constantly have your dog on the go with you Ideal for small-medium sized dogs. Not typically suited for larger breeds, and since this isn’t a collapsable type crate, larger ones become hard to move. 
Portable and sturdy – the go-to dog carrier for plane travel as they offer the most protection for your pup

Wire, Foldable Dog Crates

Wire crates are the universal dog kennel, as this type of crate has many benefits for both your dog and you! (View an example).

Most of these crates fold, so they can be easily moved and stored Can be too big for the dogs who use them – a roomy crate may give space for your dog to use the bathroom on one side, and still comfortably curl up on the other, which sabotages all the housetraining work you’ve done!
They come in all sizes Roomy crates can cause your dog anxiety, especially in young or small dogs, as they may not feel safe or secure inside
They typically have a thick plastic or metal floor, so they’re very easy to clean
Your dog will have an unrestricted view of the house from within, which eases anxiety in many dogs
Putting a nice cushion, dog bed, or thick blanket inside makes it comfortable and cozy for them (although this may be unwise if destructive chewing is an issue)

Another consideration to make if you have an anxious dog – the household view offered by wire crates calms some dogs, while in others, it does not foster the feeling of a safe space and may make them anxious. If this happens, you can always throw a blanket or covering over a wire crate to make it feel more den-like.

Fabric, Soft-Sided Dog Crates

These types of dog crates are usually made of canvas or nylon, held up by a sturdy aluminum, PVC, or light-weight steel frame, and have plastic mesh zippered doors. 

The destructible-when-chewed nature of these crates makes them unlikely candidates for many dogs and dog owners since they are far more destructible than plastic or wire crates. (View an example).

Most of these crates fold down, so these can be a comfortable, light-weight travel option for dogs of any size. This also makes it easy to store.  Not a great choice for puppies or dogs who chew.
Great for already crate-trained, or exceptionally calm dogs.  Not ideal for crate training, as they can be hard to clean if soiled. 
The enclosed feel of these crates creates a den-like place for your dog to retreat to, and feel secure in. 

Wood/ Furniture Dog Crates

These dog crates are sometimes called “fashion crates,” but they’re exactly what the name suggests: a dog crate that doubles as home furniture. Think, aesthetically pleasing end table or credenza turned dog cage. (View an example).

They blend right into the house decor, and the dual functionality means there’s never a dog crate in the way!  They’re expensive.
You can custom build these.  Not recommended for crate training as it may look wildly unfamiliar to your dog (anxiety/ crate soiling). 
Ideal for already crate-trained older dogs, or exceptionally calm dogs. They aren’t portable, nor are they particularly easy to clean. 

Heavy-Duty Metal Dog Crates

Unless your dog is the Hulk, there’s no immediate need for a crate like this. These types of crates are usually marketed for giant breed dogs, master kennel escape artists, or dogs who destroy their crates. (View an example)

If your Clifford sized dog needs a crate as massive as one of these, then so be it. But if you’re thinking one of these might be a solution for a dog with anxiety, think again. 

Crates are supposed to act as a refuge and safe haven for your dog, not a prison. Remember, the ultimate goal here is for our pets to enjoy being in their crate or kennel! 

Buying factor #5 – Safety

If you’re like me, your dogs are your family, and we want to keep our furry family members safe! 

Crate training keeps our pups safe from potentially dangerous situations while we are away, and provides a refuge for them when the household gets overwhelming. It also keeps our furniture and belongings safe from a curious or destructive pup while we’re away. 

The quality of the material and integrity of the construction of your dog’s crate plays a crucial role in your dogs’ safety.

Even the worst of chewers should have a crate they are unable to chew, as doing so poses a health risk to your dog if they were to choke on/ ingest parts of their crate. And if you have a very rambunctious pup, you’ll need to have a crate that can withstand their rowdiness without the possibility of it collapsing on them. 

For these reasons, if you’re shopping on a budget, it’s never wise to sacrifice the quality of a crate, for style or functionality. The safety and well-being of your pup should always be first when it comes to them! 

Additional things to consider about dog crate safety is making sure a portable crate can be secured in your car, and to remove your dog’s collar before crating them, so it doesn’t get hooked or stuck, thus trapping or choking your pet.

Buying factor #6 – Desired feature & functionality 

Some additional things to consider when buying a crate for your dog, are your personal preferences! 

Do you need a crate that folds? Portable? One that can be used both inside and out? Are you interested in a crate with a divider panel that can “grow” with your puppy? Do you need a crate that you can easily carry? One that is top loading/ multi-doored? Or one that looks great in your home? 

Keep your personal needs in mind when selecting the right crate for your dog to keep the crate training process as frustration-free as possible for both you and your pup! 

Buying factor #7 – What’s your budget?

The price of dog crates, depending on size and style, can range from $20 to $1,000 (for furniture style crates). 

This is why it’s important to be educated on the type, and size crate of you need for your dog, to establish a baseline budget for your shopping! 

If your total budget is more than your necessary bottom line, not only will you be able to shop a wider variety of dog crates, but also shop for crates that have any additional features you may want! 

And as I mentioned before, the quality and integrity of your dog’s crate is the most important feature it could have, as a good quality crate is the biggest factor in keeping your pup safe during their stay inside it. 

Don’t ever sacrifice good crate integrity for style or functionality – great crates keep our pups safe!

Where To Buy A Dog Crate

Now that you’re well educated on how to buy the perfect crate for your furry BFF, and probably have a good idea of which type of crate you’re in the market for, use the chart I’ve built below to choose where to buy a dog crate!