While they may not be strictly necessary, quality wire crates indispensable tools, which are almost as valuable as food dishes or leashes are. They are helpful for a variety of dog-care challenges and will make your life as a puppy parent that much easier.
We're discussing the qualities of great wire dog crates and reviewing a few top picks. Check out our guide guide on the best wire dog crates below, or continue on reading for more details!
Wire Dog Crate
Richell Mobile Pet Pen
|IRIS Wire Dog Crate with Mesh Roof|
|AmazonBasics Folding Dog Crate|
MidWest iCrate Folding Crate (#1 Pick)
This is a big guide we have today, so we've broken it down into sections. Feel free to jump ahead if you want to get ahead to certain topics.
A good crate has a ton of uses. Some of the most common purposes they serve include:
Puppies do not want to go to the bathroom in the same place they rest and sleep, so a crate can often prevent your dog from eliminating until you are ready to take him outside, aiding in the puppy housebreaking process.
Just be sure you don’t force young puppies to wait more than about 3 hours at a time – they can’t hold it much longer than this.
Dogs often exacerbate their injuries by running and playing, so many vets recommend confining injured or ill dogs to their crate until they heal.
Many of us enjoy going to our bedroom whenever we need a break from the world, and your dog can benefit from that alone time too! A crate gives him a private place to call his own.
Whether you are heading to the park or moving across the country, you want to keep you and your pet safe while traveling.
Wire crates aren’t the best for protecting your pooch in the even of a car collision, but they can keep your dog contained and prevent them from becoming a distraction, which results in a safer trip for everyone.
If you like, you can use a crate as a “time out zone,” for disciplining your pooch. Some fear that this will cause their dog to fear the crate, but this is rarely the case. The crate is a location; the punishment is not getting attention for mommy or daddy for a few minutes.
If your dog is untrustworthy when unattended, or unable to control himself when company comes over, you can use the crate to keep him out of trouble and out of the way.
Just remember that while crates are not necessarily unpleasant for your dog, he still needs plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Keeping him in a crate for prolonged periods of time is cruel, and likely to lead to behavioral problems, depression and frustration.
There are no hard-and-fast rules about the amount of kennel time that is acceptable, but it is probably unwise to keep your dog in a crate for more than about 5 or 6 hours at a time.
Pet owners have a variety of different crate styles available from which they can choose. However, wire crates are the most popular and widely available style, making them the best choice for the average puppy parent.
Wire crates provide a number of advantages over most other crate styles, including:
This is not to suggest that wire crates are ideal for every situation. There are some cases in which wire dog crates may not be the best choice. Disadvantages of wire crates include:
Distinguishing good crates from bad crates is pretty straight forward. There isn’t a whole lot to a crate, so there aren’t a whole lot of ways you can go wrong.
Nevertheless, you should keep the following tips in mind when trying to select the best crate for you and your dog.
Many first-time owners (or first-time crate buyers) have trouble determining the best crate size for their pup.
While you never want to cram your dog into his crate, modest accommodations are often preferable to mansion-like kennels. Dogs prefer enclosed spaces that provide a sense of safety. What we might call cramped, dogs would find cozy!
Many new owners tend to select crates that are too large for their dog. This is an understandable impulse, but it undermines some of the benefits crates provide.
For example, the reason crates are helpful for housebreaking young puppies is because dogs have a natural desire to relieve themselves some distance from where they sleep.
If you deny them the chance to do so, they’ll usually hold their poop and pee until you allow them to come outside. But if you provide them with a spacious crate, they can just go at the opposite end!
The video below goes into more detail about using crate training to help house break a puppy:
Crates can also serve as a private “den” for your pup. But the larger the den is, the less likely it will make your dog feel comfortable and safe. Large crates also fail to keep injured dogs immobile, posing a safety risk. Larger crates can also be much more difficult to transport.
Keep in mind that your dog does not view a crate the same way you would. Many wild canines retreat to surprisingly small burrows to avoid inclement weather or predators, or to give birth to young.
Most healthy dogs are perfectly comfortable crawling into relatively tight spaces, and many come to love their little hideaway. As owners, we want to provide our pups with the best.
For humans, bigger is usually better. However, we need to remember that this isn’t true for dogs – they actually prefer those tight, close quarter spaces!
Some of the basic size recommendations offered by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers include:
Small Dogs ( 0 - 30 lbs )
18" - 24" long
Medium Dogs (40 - 60 lbs )
30" to 36" long
Large Dogs ( 80 - 100 lbs )
40" - 48" long
Extra Large Dogs ( 100 - 150 lbs )
60" - 72" long
Of course, your dog’s weight is not the ideal metric by which the ideal crate size can be determined. Your dog’s length and height are far better measures.
Accordingly, many experts recommend that your dog’s crate allow him to:
You’ll have to measure your dog first, and then compare his dimensions against the dimensions of the crate you decide upon. Additionally, most manufacturers provide their own size guidelines, which should factor into your decision as well.
Just because your dog will probably enjoy his new crate as-is, doesn’t mean you can’t spoil him a bit and make it a little plusher.
The following five crates are among the best available at this time. Just be sure to look over the features carefully, and select the best one for your specific pet and needs.
About: The Richell Mobile Pet Pen is a high-quality, functional dog crate, with one-of-a-kind styling.
PROS: The Richell Mobile Pet Pen stands head-and-shoulders above the other kennels in terms of both aesthetics and features.
Additionally, the locking casters allow you to roll the crate around as necessary, yet still ensure that the kennel won’t move once you put it in the desired spot and engage the caster locks.
CONS: The Richell Mobile Pet Pen is only available in small sizes, up to about 36 inches in length. Accordingly, it isn’t appropriate for larger dogs. It also bears a pretty high price tag, but this is to be expected from such a great-looking and well-built crate.
About: Another option for owners looking for a kennel with a unique aesthetic, the ProSelect Pastel Dog Crate is a simple kennel, finished in either pink or blue.
PROS: Most owners rave about the color and aesthetics of this kennel, while also reporting that it works well. Most also report that the kennel is very easy for one person to set up or break down.
CONS: The ProSelect Pastel Dog Crate looks great, but you’ll pay for such a good-looking crate. Additionally, the kennel is only available in a few, relatively small sizes, so it is not appropriate for larger dogs.
About: The ProSelect Deco Dog Crate is a great kennel for small dogs who require fancier accommodations than your average pup.
PROS: The ProSelect Deco Dog Crate is an adorable and unique-looking kennel that still features quality construction and the types of features you’d expect in a modern dog kennel.
CONS: The ProSelect Deco Dog Crate is not made in sizes appropriate for larger dogs, so it’ll only work for petite pooches.
About: The IRIS Wire Dog Crate with Mesh Roof is a unique kennel style, that features a soft, mesh top and plastic-molded corners with heavy-duty epoxy-coated wire panels.
It's worth noting that with this crate, pricing and shipping times can vary considerably between size and color models.
PROS: The IRIS wire Dog Crate is a very handsome-looking crate, which will look great in your home. Additionally, the sliding door takes up less floor space than a swinging door.
CONS: Although the IRIS Wire Dog Crate provides lots of space for your pooch, it isn’t a good option for leaving your pet unattended, as the mesh roof allows for easy escape when it comes to determined Houdini dogs.
About: The AmazonBasics Folding Dog Crate is an affordable, no-frills kennel designed to get the job done at a reasonable price point.
PROS: Crates are very useful training aids, but that doesn’t mean they need to be fancy. This simple crate will work for the vast majority of dogs and owners who lack any special needs – especially those working within a tight budget.
CONS: Although the AmazonBasics Folding Crate is well-built, some owners noted that the panels would occasionally flex slightly when trying to assemble the crate. While this is not likely to be a problem for smaller and calmer dogs, it is probably not the ideal crate for Houdini-inspired pups and really strong dogs.
About: The MidWest iCrate Folding Metal Dog Crate features a straight-forward design and a few bonus features to make it one of the most attractive options available. And for extra piece of mind, this crate comes with a 1-year warranty from the manufacturer.
PROS: The Midwest iCrate Folding Dog Crate comes with several great features, including a removable divider so you can gradually increase the size of the crate for your growing puppy. Additionally, the crate’s rubber feet will help to protect your hardwood or tile floors.
CONS: Several dog owners have reported that particularly determined pets were able to bend the metal bars and escape, so use caution if your dog is likely to test the crate’s wire for weaknesses like a hungry velociraptor.
Do you have a wire crate that works well for you and your dog? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below – maybe we’ll even add it to our list.
Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.