Top Rated Kennel for Your Dog – Reviews & Guide
If you’re looking for a quality dog kennel, then you’ve come to the right place, as we’ve looked through a number of dog kennel reviews and made an extensive selection of some of the best ones out there. Our top pick is the MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate, which offers a great degree of versatility and a lot of safety for your dog. It can be bought in no less than 7 different sizes to accommodate every breed and all of them come with a divider wall, so these can be used throughout the dog’s life. If you’re after another alternative, then the Life Stages from the same manufacturer will make a reliable purchase.
Dr. Fox Recommends – Comparison & Yearly Report
With all the options out there, finding a good dog kennel from what’s available for sale might be a challenge. To spare you some research time, we’ve analyzed reviews and customer feedback for most of the products available in this line and have made a pick of some particularly good ones, both in terms of quality or value for money.
MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate
The iCrate is a well-rounded product that offers pretty much everything you will need from a dog crate. It’s very convenient, with an additional large door that will ease access to the plastic pan, so you won’t have to turn it at odd angles anytime you want to take it out for cleaning.
The additional joints and clips won’t make it any more dangerous to the dog, since this item uses a patented system where any sharp wire ends are rounded. This solution seems to work well, as the vast majority of people who have inspected it weren’t able to find any potential scratching and poking threat on the inside of this crate.
It won’t keep the pooch safe, but the carpet as well, as it sits on rubber bits that provide it with cushioning as it touches the floor. Additionally, it comes with an included separation wall, so you can create a smaller area for house training puppies and it can fold flat for ease of transportation.Buy from Amazon.com for ($65.99)
MidWest Homes for Pets Life Stages
This is the heavy-duty version of the iCrate, made of higher gauge steel to give it extra durability. This doesn’t translate into a significant increase in price, and the smaller versions of this model can be quite affordable.
The one we’ve looked at is the 24-inch (18 wide and 21 tall) variant, which is small and tough enough to adequately serve as a carrier during travel by bus, automobile or plane, as long as the airline allows it.
Users have commented that the additional ruggedness really shows when the empty crate is dropped on the ground, and in addition to that this comes with all the convenience and safety features of the iCrate.
The end wires and clips are rounded following the same system, proprietary to MWHfP, so the pooch won’t get scratches when agitated. The floor edges feature the same rubber rollers and the bottom wire mesh is covered in the same leak-proof plastic pan. You can opt for either a one-door or a two-door version regardless of the size chosen.Buy from Amazon.com for ($28.99)
Despite the lower price and “supermarket” brand name this kennel from Amazon Basics offers many of the features you can find in MWHfP products and a few additional ones. What we found to be novel is the paw protector, which is composed of 4 strips of closely spaced metal grates placed around the edges of the floor so the dog’s paw won’t fit between the tray and the walls.
The various wire ends are turned so they won’t poke the occupant and many users consider this to be an essentially scratch-free crate. Additionally, it has two doors to facilitate access to the tray, it is foldable and can be carried by a handle. A divider wall is included in the price for all sizes.
However, the larger versions of this product might not be suitable for anything stronger and more determined than a borzoi, because, as users commented, it’s construction isn’t very rugged and the steel wire will bend under the pressure of a large dog.Buy from Amazon.com for ($41.99)
New World Crate B36
This model might not have some of the features of other products we’ve looked at but it sure is sturdy and reliable. According to customer accounts, it can hold well to stubborn and strong breeds, which the 42-inch version can easily accommodate. Of equally rugged construction, there is also a 48-inch version in the works.
The series only contains 1-door designs but this is large enough to make removing the plastic pan easy. Like with the other crates we’ve looked at, it closes via 2 slide-bolt latches, so smarter dogs won’t find it so easy to get out of it either.
However, you’ll have to buy an additional separation wall if you want to use this for puppy training, as there isn’t one included in the price. Also, some floor protection will be required when placing it, as the metal wiring can leave black marks on the rug. Other than that, customers report that it’s easy to assemble and it folds very nicely.Buy from Amazon.com for ($42.99)
Carlson Pet Products 6003 DS
This is your basic kennel, with little in the way of added features and innovative solutions; however, it does its job well enough to have gained great appreciation from the people who bought it.
It has a sturdy construction that can hold well to large breeds. There aren’t any complaints about its joints or folding system not working properly either. The most common downside that made customer reviewers drop one star when rating this product was the fact that it only has one bolt for locking, which can be easy to figure out by smarter dogs.
This is a problem easily solved with some string or other equally easy to apply solutions. In all sizes, the door is large enough to make removing the plastic composite tray easily and as an additional convenience “feature”, this item comes pre-assembled, so you won’t have to take precious minutes out of your day for basically playing Meccano.Buy from Amazon.com for ($29.99)
MidWest Home for Pets 552-30DR
Judging by the figures we saw on retail sites, this might very well be America’s best-selling playpen, and it’s easy to see why it enjoys so much appreciation. First off, the possibilities for adjustment are virtually limitless since it comes as a pack of 8 panels, together with the various connecting bits, which can be arranged into whatever shape or size you want.
There is even the option of transforming it into a regular outdoor dog pen by acquiring an additional roof piece and setting the 8 panels to form a square. The steel wire received a rust-protecting coating to make it suitable for outdoor use and 8 ground anchors are supplied by the manufacturer for the same purpose.
Using all 8 panels, you’ll get 16 square feet of enclosed area, which would be a veritable football field for small puppies to play indoors. Access will be made by a step-through door, which closes with double bolt latches so the dogs won’t find it so easy to get out.Buy from Amazon.com for ($36.99)
Advantek Pet Gazebo
This elegant pet gazebo has been found to be especially useful for people who visit dog shows a lot, since it offers an enclosed, shaded space for their prized pets, leaving them free to mingle.
It is reported to be a very rigid, firm structure when all the 8 panels and the nylon roof are in place, with the beams firmly rooted in the ground. If you happen to own a lot of dogs, multiple kennels of this type can be connected together and give them additional space to frolic.
There are also a lot of options in regards the covering. The roof comes in two colors, white and brown, and it appears that polychromatic ones are also available. This is easy to slide off one edge if you want to leave an unshaded area for the dog. For more enclosure, additional tarps can be purchased and placed around the sides.
Be warned, however, multiple users have noted that this may not be that well suited for dogs that aren’t already cage-trained.Buy from Amazon.com for ($129.99)
Lucky Dog CL 66137
The thing that impressed customers the most about this spacious outdoors kennel is the high quality of its construction. The industrial grade beams have been center welded, so they don’t offer any sharp edges against which the dog might injure itself.
All the metal parts are coated in a water-resistant layer for additional weather protection and the wire mesh is attached directly to the bars by a drill & weld method, where the wire ends are welded into pre-drilled holes in the beam. This gives it superior toughness, making it suitable for the most aggressive and stubborn breeds.
It won’t be very hard to set up, however, as most users managed to put it together in under 30 minutes, with no tools or special skills. It also comes with a removable shade that can hold out well to rainwater.
Don’t expect to find this product for cheap, but the price is well justified by the quality offered.Buy from Amazon.com for ($539.36)
Precision Pet ProValu
We jump at the opposite side of the price range with the Precision Pet ProValu. This isn’t really a cheap product, at least not in all sizes, but the 19 x 12 x 14 inches crate is low priced enough to make it a good deal for short-term use, such as when potty training a puppy.
This can of course act as the main pen for a smaller breed, and that’s why the manufacturers have also included a dividing wall, to be used with a Pekinese or Poodle pup. You can simply “airlift” one of this mini-dogs into the crate by using a roof mounted door, which will be accessible to you but not the occupant.
The latches are five-point connected, for added security and the interior doesn’t provide any sharp edges. The polypropylene tray is easy to remove for cleaning through the main door and the whole product weighs around 10 pounds, which makes it very convenient to arm carry for visits to the vet etc.Buy from Amazon.com for ($19.69)
Lucky Dog Uptown
While this is not really Lucky Dog’s flagship model and at 4’6H x 4’L x 4’W it is significantly smaller than the other brand product we’ve featured, the Uptown offers a good degree of quality, safety, and reliability.
The welding for all the metal beams was done before treating and painting, which means that any potentially sharp spot is covered in a layer of paint, making them less edgy and prone to hurt the dog.
For the same reason, the wire mesh is center-welded to the frame, so you’ll be hard to find any sharp edge or wire end with this product. The whole thing could be put together in under 20 minutes by a completely inexperienced person with no tools.
It closes via a latch & lock mechanism that will be hard to figure out even by the most clever and persistent dog.
It comes with a water and UV resistant tarp which unfolds into a sliding surface so it doesn’t form puddles. The metal parts have been treated against the elements as well.Buy from Amazon.com for ($144.45)
This is an overall reliable product which offers most of the features a dog owner will be after while also promising to last long due to its sturdy construction. The metal wiring on it received an electro-coat finish for increased rust resistance.
For the size we’ve looked at, a 24-inch fit for 25 to 30 lb dogs, mechanical resistance shouldn’t really be an issue, but people commented it should hold very well to being dropped. Besides that, none of the customers who have shared their views noticed any sharp edges or wire ends in any of the areas accessible to the dog.
The L-shaped “5-point” lock system that this model uses is considered to work better than the straight version by some, but this might be a matter of opinion more than anything else.
Otherwise, you’ll get a separation wall for all sizes, a plastic tray to put the bedding on and an additional door to access it easier.Buy from Amazon.com for ($30.52)
Lucky Dog CL 66150
This unit could be seen as a coverless version of the CL 66137 since it’s similar in construction and exactly the same size at 10 x 5 feet of base and 5 feet in height. However, we do feel the need to warn you that it didn’t receive the same amount of positive reviews as the other model.
The 66150 has also been center welded and all coating layers were applied after this process was over, so any edges left near the welds were softened out so as to protect the dog from accidental injury.
Speaking of edges, this sits 1.5” above ground which makes cleaning a lot easier, as it doesn’t form any spaces for dirt and bacteria to accumulate. The installation should be just as easy as the maintenance, with a modular construction and its panels held together by easy to attach metal clamps.
No tools will be required for fastening these because butterfly headed screws are supplied in the package by the manufacturer.Buy from Amazon.com for ($487.49)
MidWest Homes for Pets Solution Series Ginormus
As the name suggests, this crate is specifically intended for very big dogs that weigh in excess of 90 pounds, such as Great Danes. It measures 54 inches in length, 37 inches wide and 45 in height to give a sizeable animal plenty of room to chase its tail.
Due to its large size, several additional construction features were included to make it more robust. To prevent the sides from collapsing in, the roof features a “patent pending” L-hook system, which basically refers to the fact that some of the top wire ends bend inwards, to provide the side panels with something to rest against.
It doesn’t seem to come with a dividing panel but it does have 2 doors, which is a very welcome feature considering the added difficulty in removing the tray and bedding for a large dog.
Each door features 3 slide-bolt latches instead of 2, which should add an extra measure of security.Buy from Amazon.com for ($122.79)
Lucky Dog ZW 11530
Although one might not get this impression from parsing through our list, Lucky Dog also produces crates besides an extensive line of outdoors kennels. The 30L x 28W x 24H inch model has received many positive reviews for being just the right size for small to medium dogs, such as terriers.
Furthermore, the cage itself seems to hold together pretty well, with the only complaint received in this regard concerning the wires bending a little too easily. Considering the strength of its intended occupants, this shouldn’t be such a big issue.
It allows for all the convenience you would expect from a 2-door design and it comes with a plastic tray to sit underneath the bedding, but no separation panel. It is easy to assemble from the kit in a few minutes and it can be folded up in mere seconds for storage or travel.
One feature we liked is that even when open, the handle falls right in the middle of the top panel, making it convenient to pick up and move around.Buy from Amazon.com for ($40.26)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
The terms crate, kennel, and carrier are often used interchangeably when referring to the various types of dog cages, so we’ll point out from the start that we use the word “kennel” to mean only the wire, foldable type of container, which might also be called a crate.
These are primarily good for training and containing a dog or a puppy, but they might not make a perfect pick if the most use you intend out of them is transport. Although kennel crates are a workable solution and much better than nothing, their increased size and weight compared to dedicated carriers do make them cumbersome, and some airlines won’t allow for this type of carrier in the passenger compartment.
What are the advantages of wire dog kennels?
These are generally more durable and will offer more interior space than a plastic carrier of similar price. With the exception highlighted above, wire crates are also more convenient than any other type out there.
They can be easily cleaned using a hose and the best dog kennels feature a removable tray that can be taken out occasionally to wipe it clean of hair, bits of food, or whatever else might of gotten in there. While they aren’t particularly light, most models can be folded for easy carry and can sometimes feature plastic or metal handles.
Your furry friend will get a lot out of it as well. This system provides free airflow, hence perfect ventilation, which makes it ideal for those living in warmer states. It will also allow the dog to see what’s going on around it, decreasing any feeling of isolation and anxiety.
However, it should be noted that this feature can cause some distress to dogs who like to take part in the action, making them feel cut off instead of connected. Another downside related to this is that a cheap dog kennel will be an easy place to escape from for a clever and determined dog, so take a close look that the locking mechanism is properly designed before buying.
Size is the first thing most people take note of when looking for a good dog kennel to buy and the most common mistake they make is choosing a model that’s too large, following the erroneous belief that dogs enjoy their space the same way we do.
This is not the case, since the best dog kennel should act as the animal’s artificial den, its own private space to make it feel safe from the outside world. This instinct derives from back when their wolf ancestors were roaming through forests and used to dig holes in the ground for safety against the elements or bigger predators.
Wolf dens are usually just big enough for the animal to fit in comfortably, and dog shelters shouldn’t allow for much more space in order to make its occupant feel at ease. As a basic rule of thumb, the shelter should provide enough head space for the dog’s head or ears not to touch the roof when sitting, and sufficient area for it to fully turn around unimpeded.
Provisions must be of course made for the various items that will take up space in the kennel, like the water and food bowls, a chew toy, a blanket etc. There are a lot of charts to be found on the internet matching a dog’s size to the appropriate crate.
Cage size and training
When house training a dog, it is important for the animal to have an appropriately small space in which to sit and consider its own, as this method works on the principle that canines don’t soil the place where they sleep. A larger kennel will make the dog identify certain parts of the surface as being outside of his burrow, hence an appropriate space to use for relieving itself.
When training puppies, this is sometimes solved by simply renting a crate of appropriate size, and buying and buying an adult one only when he gets bigger. The best kennels for dogs allow for an even cheaper solution, by providing you with a metal separation wall, so the pup will only have access to a limited section of the crate.
Keeping the dog in what is essentially a metal wire cage might be a little off-putting to some since it can conjure images of their pooch scratching itself on sharp ends, or getting its paw stuck between the wires.
Most well-adjusted dogs won’t hurt themselves intentionally, but accidents can still happen. Manufacturers take certain provisions to prevent this, like turning the wire ends towards the outside to eliminate any potential scratching hazard, or adding stoppers around the lower edges of the kennel, so the dog’s paw doesn’t get stuck to the floor.
Frequently asked questions about dog kennels
What is a dog kennel?
The term itself has a very wide meaning which basically encompasses all types of small dog shelters, both for indoors and outdoors, as well as a location where dogs are usually kept. In modern US speech, it’s most often used to refer to any type of small containment structure that isn’t a doghouse or a carrier.
These might be used for containment during training, transport, or when the owners of the dog are away, as well as a regular living section for the pet, which it should choose voluntarily. These are usually made of metal wire but plastic versions are also available.
How much does a dog kennel cost?
The most vehiculated figures regarding the price of a new dog crate fall between $35 and $200 depending on size and quality. Don’t take this to heart, however, as small, 19-inch models can be found at under $20 with some luck, while decorative ones can sell in excess of $200.
For a playpen, prices will generally go just a little bit higher while an outdoor kennel will be significantly more expensive. Prices for this type of item start at around $100 and can go in excess of $500.
How to insulate a dog kennel?
If it’s the steel wire variety we’ve addressed in this guide, then the best thing to do is not leave it outside in bad weather and just let the insulation of an already enclosed structure do the job.
Otherwise, you can fix plywood or fiberglass over the wire mesh with a non-toxic silicone adhesive or metal wire while taking care to secure a tight fit so the dog doesn’t chew on through it. Then apply regular insulating material over it as you see fit while taking care that the dog won’t have direct access to it.
What size dog kennel should I get?
There are a lot of size charts on the internet that tell you precisely which kennel will fit what dog, and oftentimes, manufacturers supply you with this information on their sites. As a general rule, the crate must be tall enough for the dog to comfortably sit — or even jump if it’s a smaller breed — while also accounting for the additional height provided by items of bedding.
Surface-wise, the dog should be able to rotate 360 degrees unimpeded with an allowance for its food and water bowls, as well as any other item accompanying it.
How to build a dog kennel?
The most popular solutions for a DIY dog kennel either involve a wooden or a chain-link construction. For the latter, simply buy a number of prefabricated chain fence sections and place them for an enclosure while also installing a door. Connections should never be made with wire but with hard connectors.
For a wooden doghouse, remember to always use 4 sturdy beams as corner support to which you attach wooden panels or 2x4s, depending on the dog’s size and strength. The roof should always be stronger than the walls, and preferably have an incline to let water and snow slide.
Are dog kennels good for dogs?
The short answer is yes, yes they are, no matter how you look at it. While it might seem punishing for us to be confined in an enclosed space, canines usually don’t have the same aversion to tight spaces. The kennel should only be used for confinement during training, which, if done properly, won’t leave the dog with a sense of dread for the crate.
In normal circumstance, he will see the crate as his own personal space, which will be chosen voluntarily and will act as a safe haven for the animal when it’s scared.
Kennel training basics
Choosing the correct crate size is very important and it’s worth reminding that this should allow a full range of stationary movement for the dog but not much else. A crate that’s too small will make the dog feel confined and it will never be seen as a safe space, while too much surface area will entice it to relieve itself in a corner.
Before enticing the dog in, you should first accustom it with the presence of the crate by placing it in a high visibility area of the house. You can make the dog enter it using gestures or some sort of bait, like food or his favorite chew toy, so far that he associates them with the kennel.
As he starts feeling comfortable in it you can start closing the door for short intervals — around 15 seconds at a time for a pup — and open it when the little occupant seems to be close to barking.
When the time comes to keep the door closed for a longer duration, take care not to reinforce barking or whining behavior. Wait for the dog to stop his protestations before letting him out. The amount of time spent in the crate should be increased by an increment, with short gaps at first and longer as the dog gets comfortable e.g. 15 seconds followed by a minute, and 20 minutes followed by half an hour.
The most important thing to have in mind is that the dog doesn’t ever come to see the crate as a form of punishment. Do not make it sit there when you are angry or as a result of bad behavior on its part.
Also remember that an adult dog shouldn’t stay in the crate for more than 4-5 hours at a time, otherwise it might soil it. This duration will be substantially reduced for a puppy, as they have smaller bladders.
Useful kennel accessories
The dog should see his kennel as a refuge, not a prison, and to ensure that this is the case we will need to provide him or her with some creature comforts. First off, there’s the bedding, which should be chosen according to the breed, as not all dogs prefer the same level of hardness.
There are a lot of internet sites that will give you specific information on that but what you should always look for is a material that’s easy to clean and disinfect. Something that allows for hair to be easily brushed off its surface will make your life a lot easier in some cases.
A good place to find what the best dog kennel disinfectant is is your local vet, since he should know about all the harmful bacteria that might develop on a pet’s bedding and subsequently what kills them. Only look for eco-friendly options if you can find them on the cheap, as all brands have been tested safe for dogs and puppies.
Most people don’t find it necessary to get a dog food container specifically for use inside the kennel, but a compact model with a good base and tall walls might be required in the case of small crates, where a regular one will take up too much space.
A nice thing to do is allow the dog to have its chew toy inside the kennel. There’s a myriad of options out there when it comes to such products but the first thing to consider would be that your choice also keeps the dog healthy in some way. There are some very good toys for teething puppies that help them develop stronger gums and straight teeth.
Likewise, the free market provides a lot of treats to keep the dog’s teeth free of tartar and plaque. Look for the ones that have irregular edges to contact as much of the tooth as possible and an abrasive purpose to better remove dental residue.
It will also be a good idea to invest in some training pads when the puppy is being house trained. The more absorbent they are, the better, as they will diminish the severity of certain accidents if placed around the edges of the crate.
With all these things taken care of, using the kennel will seem as convenient as having an invisible dog fence.