Big dogs need – wait for it, you’re never gonna guess – big crates.
I know. I’ll give you a second to process this mind-blowing bit of info.
But there are a couple of other things to think about when buying a crate for your extra-large canine, some of which are actually a bit surprising. We’ll dive into this issue below and talk about the things you’ll want to look for when picking a crate for your big pooch.
Finally, we’ll recommend six of the best options available (feel free to skip to the bottom if you like for full review details).
Quick Picks: Best Dog Crates for Large and Extra-Large Dogs
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First Thing’s First: What Qualifies as Large?
There’s no commonly accepted definition for a “large” or “extra-large” dog. Nor is there an official size range for terms like “giant,” “colossal,” “jumbo,” or “oh-my-god-how-much-does-that-dog-weigh?”
It’s all varies pretty arbitrarily from one manufacturer, owner, breeder, vet, and writer to the next.
But for our purposes here, we’ll keep things simple:
- Large will refer to dogs over 50 pounds
- Extra-large will refer to dogs over 100 pounds
However, when trying to determine the proper crate size for your dog, you’re better off using linear measurements.
Determining the Proper Crate Size for Your Pooch
Finding the proper crate size for your pooch is fairly easy. Just grab your dog and a tape measure and we’ll get to work.
Start by having your dog stand. Measure your dog from the tip of her nose to the base (not the tip) of her tail. Add 2 to 4 inches to that figure to get the proper crate length.
Next, you’ll want to have your dog sit (a dog’s head is typically tallest when sitting). Measure the distance from the ground to the top of her head. Add 2 to 4 inches to this figure, and you have the proper height for the crate.
These two measurements – the crate length and height – will serve as your guide. You don’t have to worry about the crate’s width, as most crates are designed with appropriate length-width ratios.
For example, if your dog is 38 inches long and 30 inches tall (while seated), she’ll need a 42-inch-long crate that is 34 inches tall. In most cases, you’ll want to focus primarily on the length of the crate when making your selection. Most large and extra-large dogs will need crates measuring between 40 and 60 inches long.
Note that some authorities recommend adding 4 to 6 inches on top of your dog’s length when selecting the proper crate size, instead of the 2- to 4-inch guideline we prefer. This is fine if you’d prefer to scale up the crate a little bit, but understand that it is not a good idea to provide your dog with a crate that is too large. Doing so will eliminate some of the benefits crates provide (more on this later), so stay in the 2- to 6-inch range.
You can theoretically go overboard on the height of the crate without causing many problems, but you’ll rarely find many super-tall crates in practice.
Why Do You Need a Crate, Anyway?
A lot of owners consider crates optional, and if you put me in The Room of Absolute TruthTM, I’d probably agree that they aren’t strictly imperative.
But they are incredibly valuable and *this close* to being mandatory.
For starters, crates do five important things:
- They give you a place to confine your dog when you aren’t home. Many dogs become destructive when left at home alone. Others may raid the garbage can, which can be dangerous (or unpleasant, depending on the garbage can he prefers). But he’ll cause relatively little trouble while sequestered in a secure crate with a good chew toy.
- They give your pup a safe and secure place to hang out. Nervous dogs often like the cozy confines of a cave-like crate – it soothes their ancestral appreciation of tight spaces. Crates are also great for helping dogs afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms feel safe.
- They are helpful when company comes over. Visitors may find exuberant dogs a little hard to take, and even the best-behaved dogs can get in the way when you’re entertaining. But crates give you a safe and comfortable place to tuck your dog away when you have people over for dinner.
- They provide a space-efficient place for their bed. Most dogs appreciate having a good bed and a good crate, and it is often helpful to place the bed inside the crate to minimize the amount of space taken up by her stuff.
- They are helpful for house-breaking. Dogs don’t want to poop or pee where they sleep (who can blame them?). Accordingly, they’ll rarely go in a crate of the proper size (read: not too large). This makes crates great tools for teaching them proper poop protocols for your home.
But that’s only the half of it. Crates offer a number of other benefits too, even for dogs that may not need a crate for some of the traditional reasons mentioned above.
For example, none of the criteria above apply to my Rottie.
1) Only away from me or my wife for a few hours a week and isn’t destructive during these times.
2) She feels perfectly safe anywhere she is, thank you very much.
3) Not an issue.
4) She prefers sleeping on the couch beside my computer.
5) She’s a good girl who makes poops and peeps outside.
But she has a crate, and it’s come in handy many, many times. For example:
It gives her a place to go during dinner. My wife is powerless against the begging eyes, so the pup has to go in her crate during dinner time.
It is very helpful when the cable guy (etc.) visits. It’s just better for all parties involved if she’s placed in her crate when these types of visitors come over.
It’s helpful when bringing in groceries. Just to be sure she doesn’t trip us or run out the door in pursuit of a passing cat, we’ll put her in the crate while dragging in groceries or anything that requires the door to be open for a while.
Travel-friendly crates are great on vacation. Vacations entail plenty of unusual activities and it’s just convenient to have a portable crate that serves safe place to put her when I can’t give her my undivided attention. It also ensures she won’t do anything that would cause me to lose a deposit when I’m not looking.
It’s helpful when we’re doing anything delicate or involved. My dog is very eager to “help” fold the laundry or change the strings on my guitar, so she must often go into the crate during these times. And then there’s the vacuum cleaner…
These aren’t especially common circumstances, but you’ll undoubtedly find similar situations in your own life, during which a crate would be helpful. You’ll also find that they provide convenience in a number of ways that you’d never have predicted.
And because there is an array of affordable, collapsible options on the market, there’s little downside to getting a crate for your pooch.
Important Criteria You Should Seek in Any Crate
No matter how big or small your pup is, you’ll want to look for a number of important criteria when making your choice. Keep the following things in mind when trying to pick a high-quality crate:
The Door Must Close Securely
Crates that don’t close securely are pretty worthless, so you’ll want to make sure that any crate you select has high-quality latches. But beware of crates with exceptionally large latching mechanisms, as some dogs will learn how to open the door themselves. If you have an especially escape-prone pooch, you’ll probably need a crate especially designed for Houdini dogs with double latches or more advanced locking mechanisms.
The Crate Must Not Have Any Sharp Edges
Some poor-quality crates have rough or sharp edges, often near the welded spots where two wires meet. You can smooth minor rough spots with a bit of sandpaper or steel wool, but crates with significant hazards should be avoided entirely.
Two Doors Are Better than One
While crates with a single door will certainly work, double-door crates are much more convenient. They not only give your dog two ways to get in or out, they give you more flexibility with regard to placement. For example, you’ll be able to place the crate against a wall without blocking the only entrance.
Removable Pans Make Accident-Cleanup Easier
Accidents – whether of the tinkling or water-dish-spilling variety – will occur. But crates with removable litter pans are much easier to clean afterward. You won’t even have to remove your pet from the crate to do so.
Size-Specific Concerns: Things You Need in a Large Dog Crate
In addition to the generic criteria, you’d want to seek when selecting any crate, large dogs present a few unique challenges. Be sure to select a crate that provides as many of the following features as possible:
Wheels Are Important
Large crates are bulky and heavy, which means they’re difficult to move. Therefore, you’ll want to give special consideration to models with wheels, as they’ll be easier to slide around the house when necessary.
Collapsible Crates Are Convenient
If you plan on taking your crate anywhere or storing it when it isn’t needed, you’ll want to look for a collapsible crate. Also, because you’ll likely be having the crate shipped to your home, you’ll save some money on shipping by selecting one that can be collapsed and shipped in a relatively flat box.
Dividers Are Important for Puppies
It is always wisest to purchase a crate that will last for your dog’s entire life, rather than buying a small one when she’s a puppy and increasingly larger crates as she grows. Instead, go ahead and buy a crate that is suitable for her adult size and use dividers to temporarily shrink the size of the interior. As she grows, you can remove the divider to provide access to the entire crate.
Large Crates Require Thicker Wire
The wires used for small crates may not be sturdy or rigid enough to retain their structural integrity when used in big crates. Additionally, large dogs have stronger jaws and teeth than smaller dogs do. Accordingly, you’ll always want to look for crates that feature thick, strong wire (if you opt for a wire-style crate – there are certainly plenty of other options out there too!).
Large Crates Require Sturdier Hardware
The hardware used to keep the crate together will also need to be pretty heavy-duty to prevent your pooch from busting out of her crate. This not only includes the corner connectors but the latches and hinges too.
The Six Best Crates for Large and Extra-Large Dogs
Now that you’re familiar with some of the most important things to look for in a crate, you’re ready to start making your choice. We’d recommend picking one of the six crates listed below, as they’re all high-quality units, which have received great reviews from other big-dog owners.
1. AmazonBasics Double Door Folding Crate
About: The AmazonBasics Crate is designed to be functional and affordable, so it doesn’t come equipped with a lot of fancy extras. This makes it a great choice for those who are interested in obtaining a high-quality crate without spending a ton of money.
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Features: The AmazonBasics Crate is made with thick steel wire to help keep your dog safe and secure. Additionally, the bottom of the crate features “mini dividers” to prevent your pup from sneaking her paw through. The crate is collapsible for storage or transport and it comes with a removable divider and plastic litter pan.
The crate features two doors, each of which has two slide-bolt latches to keep the doors closed. However, you can also select a single-door model if you’d like to reduce the price even further. The AmazonBasics Crate is available in six different sizes, ranging from 22 to 48 inches.
Despite being one of the most affordable crates around, the AmazonBasics Crate is built as well as many similar, but more expensive, crates are. It also has most of the basic features you’d want, including a divider, removable litter pan and double doors with secure latches.
Several owners complained that their dog was able to bend the wires and escape, so this isn’t a good choice for dogs who are escape artists, although it should serve fine for most pooches. Additionally, a few owners reported that while the crate can be collapsed, it’s not especially easy to do, so it isn’t a great choice for owners who plan to travel with the crate frequently.
2. Sliverylake Dog Crate
About: The Sliverylake Dog Crate is a super-heavy-duty crate, designed to keep even the most determined dogs safely contained. One of the strongest crates available, the Sliverylake Dog Crate is a good choice for owners seeking an escape-proof crate for their big dog.
- ①STURDY AND DURABLE: This heavy duty dog kennel made of rust and corrosion-resistant steel. The...
- ②LOCKABLE WHEELS: 4 wheels for convenient portability and easy storage. Contains 2 lockable wheels...
- ③EASY TO CLEAN: Removable (slide-out) plastic tray helps you to catch the fallen dog food and...
- ④EASY TO INSTALL: All hardware included,just need to fit it with four wheels and screw bolts,...
Features: The primary selling point of the Sliverylake Crate is the super strong steel tube frame, but it also provides a number of other helpful features. The entire crate is supported by four heavy-duty casters (two of which lock to keep the crate in place), and it also includes a removable litter pan for cleaning up messes.
This crate features two doors – one on the top and one on the front – to give you easy access to your pup. The top features one latch, while the front door features twin latches. The crate is available in three sizes (37”, 42” and 48”) and it can be folded for storage or transport. It is available in three colors: Silver, Black, and Brown.
The Sliverylake Dog Crate is built like a tank, and its combination of design and materials make it one of the most escape-proof crates available. A number of owners explained that this crate prevented their dog from escaping, while others had failed to do so. It is also on wheels, which makes it easy to push the crate around your home.
The biggest drawback of the Sliverylake Crate is its price, which is nearly double that of most wire crates. There were a few other complaints, but they were relatively minor in nature.
3. Petmate Sky Kennel
About: As the name suggests, the Petmate Sky Kennel is designed to comply with the requirements set for by most airlines for four-footed passengers. However, it is also a great crate for general home use, and the solid plastic sides may provide additional security for nervous pups.
- Extra Security: 4 way vault door provides extra security for the travel dog crate by preventing...
- Durable, Heavy Duty Construction: Durable plastic shell, non corrodible wing nuts, extra strong...
- 361 Degree Ventilation: Ventilation openings surrounding the travel kennel give pets fresh air and...
- Travel Necessities Included: Portable dog kennel includes 2 Live Animal stickers, clip on bowls and...
Features: The Petmate Sky Kennel is primarily built of sturdy, high-quality plastic, but it still provides great ventilation to keep your pet comfortable. The front door is made of steel wire, as are the two windows on each side, and the back of the crate is perforated plastic. The door features a vault-style latch and is secured in four places for maximum security.
The crate is based on a two-piece design and held together by a series of plastic wingnuts. This means that you can remove the top, invert it, and place it inside the bottom half, so it will take up less space during transport or storage.
The Petmate Sky Kennel is available in six sizes, ranging from 21” to 48”. A “Live Animal” sticker and two clip-on water dishes are also included with the purchase of the kennel.
Most owners reported that the Petmate Sky Kennel performed well when flying with their pet. Several reported that it kept their escape-artist pet contained, and most owners found the interior quite spacious. It also appears to be easy to assemble and disassemble.
A few owners mentioned problems with the crate handle, so you’ll want to be careful when carrying it. Note that some airlines require crates to be fastened with metal, rather than plastic hardware (which is provided with this crate). However, it is easy to pick up some metal bolts and use them to replace the plastic hardware that comes with the crate.
4. SportPet Designs Rolling Kennel
About: The SportPet Designs Rolling Kennel is a plastic crate, which will work well in your home or when traveling with your pet. It is designed to comply with most airline regulations, and it is even easy to push through the airport, thanks to the included wheels.
- For kennel trained pets only | Your dog measurements should not exceed 36” Long x 27” High | See...
- Kennel dimensions – 39.5” L x 26.3” W x 29.3” H | Interior Usable dimensions – 36” L x...
- Sturdy and durable plastic construction makes for easy assembly | Wheels snap on and off as needed
- IATA airline approved. 2 dishes, 4 live animal stickers, metal bolts and nuts included | Tie down...
Features: The SportPet Designs crate features four plastic walls and a two-piece, take-down design to make it easy to disassemble and store. The connecting hardware is metal to comply with most airline regulations. Both sides and the back panel feature a metal-wire window to provide plenty of ventilation and allow your pet to look around a bit.
The door is made of metal and features a one-piece design and a heavy-duty latch to keep your pet safely contained. A clip-on water dish is included, as are four “Live Animal” stickers. The crate features four swiveling casters, which can be removed when necessary. Two of the casters can be locked to prevent the kennel from rolling.
Another great feature built into the SportPet Designs Kennel is the gutter-style floor. The center part of the floor is elevated above the height of the edges, which means that your dog will still stay reasonably dry if she has an accident or spills her water.
While the SportPet Designs Rolling Kennel is intended for airline use, it will work as a great crate for your home too. Most owners found it secure and comfortable for their pet and felt that it was reasonably priced for such a high-quality crate. Additionally, the wheels were a welcome addition for many owners.
While most owners found the SportPet Designs Kennel to be a high-quality product, a few owners reported that the handles and wheels broke relatively easily. Most other complaints related to one-off shipping, packaging or quality control problems.
5. Midwest Homes for Pets “Ginormous” Dog Crate
About: While there are a number of 48-inch crates available, larger crates are often difficult to find. But the Midwest Homes for Pets “Ginormous” Crate is one of the biggest crates on the market and provides plenty of space for most extra-large dogs.
- Dog Crate is double door configuration w/ sturdy drop-pin assembly. Includes easy to clean /...
- Durable metal dog crate design w/ 3 heavy duty secure slide-bolt latches per door | Please note this...
- Drop-pin construction ensures strong & secure dog crate assembly & patented "L" bar on top panel...
Features: The Midwest Homes for Pets Ginormous Crate measures a whopping 54 inches long, 37 inches wide and 45 inches tall, making it big enough for most Great Danes, Irish wolfhounds, mastiffs and other big breeds. The Ginormous Dog Crate is a wire-style crate, that uses special L-bars to prevent the sides from bowing out the way they do with some crates.
The crate features two doors (one on the front and one on the side), which are each secured via three heavy-duty latches. It also comes equipped with a removable litter pan to make cleanup quick and easy.
The crate is not technically “collapsible,” but you can take it apart by removing the four drop pins used to secure the corners. However, you’ll need help to do so, as the manufacturer reports that it is typically too large for a single person to put together.
This is probably the best option available for owners of really big dogs, as it provides a nearly unparalleled amount of room. In fact, it is surely overkill for dogs who are merely “large.” Most owners reported that it was of good quality (as are most Midwest Homes for Pets crates) and relatively secure.
Most owners found that the Ginormous Dog Crate worked well, but it did present set up challenges, and many reported that it was so large and heavy that it is hard to move. So, if you live alone or have trouble lifting or manipulating large items, you’ll want to plan accordingly.
6. Midwest Homes for Pets Ultima Pro
About: The Midwest Homes for Pets Ultima Pro is the most durable model in Midwest’s lineup. It is secure enough to keep escape-artist dogs contained and comes in sizes sufficient for many large and extra-large dogs.
- Double door heavy-duty folding metal dog crate | Includes free divider panel, leak-proof plastic...
- Product dimensions – 49” L x 30.5” W x 34.25” H | Weight – 64 lbs. | For dogs with a...
- Convenient double door (front & right side) dog crate configuration with two slide-bolt latches per...
Features: The Ultima Pro is a wire-style crate that is constructed from the strongest and thickest wire Midwest Homes for Pets uses for any crate. It is equipped with two doors (one on the front and one on the side), which each feature two slide-bolt latches. And while it is a sturdy crate, the Ultima Pro collapses quickly and features a strong carrying handle.
It comes with a large plastic litter tray and removable divider, so you can adjust the size of the crate as your dog grows. Four rubber feet are provided to protect your floors, and the crate is backed by a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Most owners liked the Midwest Homes for Pets Ultima Pro and found that it offered a nice combination of strength, durability and – because of its very reasonable price tag – value. Several owners specifically praised the thickness of the wire used in the crate, so it’s a great choice for escape-inclined dogs.
In the past, some owners complained about the crate’s hinges, but Midwest appears to have improved upon the old design and implemented a new hinge style in their current crates.
Our Recommendation: It Depends…
There isn’t a clear-cut winner among the six crates detailed above.
The Sky Kennel and Sport Pet Designs Rolling Kennel are both good choices for owners who travel or have a nervous pup. And, the AmazonBasics crate is certainly the best choice for owners on a tight budget.
So, like always, you’ll just have to pick the best model for your dog.
Do you have a big or extra-big four-footer? What type of crate do you use? Would you buy it again if you had the chance? Let us know all about your experience in the comments below.