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Let me begin this post by saying that I don’t use dog crates. For Janice and Leroy, the whole house is their crate. I’ve never had to make the decision as to how I would choose the best dog crate for a large breed like a Boxer simply because I’ve never had to deal with issues that would lead me to consider using a crate.
Okay, okay, you didn’t ask. But I feel like talking about it, because on some level, I find it therapeutic. You can skip over to learning how to choose the best dog crate for a large breed if you like.
I am terrified of flying. I know all the statistics about how you’re supposedly safer than you are in an automobile, but the thing is, those statistics are, to my way of thinking, bogus. Think about this – there are about 20,000 passenger aircraft in the world. Compare that to 7,359,464,052 automobiles as of August of 2015. Fewer planes than cars will automatically mean that there will be fewer plane crashes than auto accidents. And since you almost certainly fly less often than you drive, that drops your chances of being in a fatal plane crash considerably.
But what happens if you are on one of those infrequently downed passenger planes? I’ll tell you what happens – you will plummet like so much lead into the ocean, or into a ball of fire on the ground, and you will almost certainly not get out alive.
I prefer to drive wherever I need to go, because I’m in control, and not at the mercy of a pilot who may be a) overtired, b) drunk, c) young enough that he still thinks Justin Bieber is cool or d) have graduated at the bottom of his class (someone has to, right?).
I’m the first person on the plane to whom the flight attendant offers a drink, because he or she can tell from the panicked look on my face that in order for me to fly effectively, I’m going to have to be higher than the plane.
Sleeping on a plane is, of course, unthinkable. This is because if I stop pulling up on my seat’s armrests, there will be nothing holding the plane up in the air.
What Should You Look for in a Dog Crate for a Large Breed?
There’s more to it than you might think. Obviously, a large dog is going to need a large crate. But not all crates are created equal. A crate could be big, but if it’s made from flimsy materials or poorly designed, then it’s not the best dog crate for a large breed.
There are several different types of crates, and the kind you choose will depend not just on the size of your dog, but also the purpose for which it will be used. Dog crates, regardless of size, are usually made from wire or plastic. Less frequently, they could be soft-sided or made from wood. Each type of crate has its advantages and drawbacks.
1. Wire Crates
Wire crates are usually light-weight, and easy to transport. If you travel by vehicle with your dog, a wire crate can be your best dog crate for a large breed. Some wire crates even adjust to size, so you can use them for growing dogs. The main advantage to a wire crate, other than the fact that it will keep your dog safely secured, is that your dog can view his surroundings from all angles.
2. Plastic Crates
Plastic crates are very durable, and are the only crates that are approved for air travel. If you bring your dog to the airport in anything other than a crate that is solid plastic on three sides with a wire gate in front, you will not be able to travel with your dog, and there will be no point in pleading with airport staff – they have no discretion in this matter. The law requires that all dogs travel in plastic crates with three solid sides.
3. Wood Crates
Wood crates are only suitable for indoor use, so that’s a bit of a disadvantage. However, they are very secure, and very strong. Also, the top of this type of crate is usually solid and flat, so the crate can actually double as an end table.
4. Soft Sided Crates
If your dog is happy being in a crate, and not likely to try to chew his way out of it, then a soft sided crate can be one of the best crates for a large breed. They’re ideal for outdoor use, and because they fold up so easily, they’re great to use if you like to go camping with your dog. Some dogs also seem to feel more comfortable in a soft sided crate than they do in one made with metal bars.
So, there you have pretty much everything you need to know about the different best dog crates for large breeds. Now, let’s get down to specifics. You want to know which crates you should consider, so here are my preferences.
Some Really Good Large Breed Dog Crates
If I ever needed to crate either Janice or Leroy, these are the crates I would consider using.
1. Midwest iCrate Folding Metal Dog Crate
The Midwest iCrate is a huge (48 x 30 x 33) foldable dog crate. It has a single door, a plastic pan for cleanliness and comfort, and a secure bolt latch so you don’t have to worry about your dog getting out and into trouble. It also comes with a divider, so you can actually section off the crate and use it for various stages of your dog’s growth.
The NOZTONOZ Sof-Krate Indoor/Outdoor Pet Home will accommodate dogs up to 90 pounds. It’s a soft crate measuring 42 x 28 x 31. It’s ventilated by means of soft mesh, and it can be used indoors or outside. It’s ideal for travel because it folds down to a nice, compact size and sets up in no time.
Let’s face it, a lot of the time dog crates don’t look all that good. If you’re fussy about your surroundings and don’t want to be looking at a wire crate, though, the Casual Home Pet Furniture Crate is the perfect choice. It’s made from solid, dark wood, and features a furniture-quality top so it can double as an end table.
I do have a couple of minor criticisms, though. First of all, the crate is represented as being “oversized,” but it’s actually on the small end when it comes to the best dog crates for a large breed – it’s 36 x 24 x 29.5. Also, some dogs love to chew wood – in fact, in Leroy’s early days, I nicknamed him “Shredder” because of his tendency to take my sticks of firewood and gnaw them into toothpicks.
If your dog doesn’t chew, though, and isn’t ginormous, this is a good large breed crate. It’s very well made, very attractive, and will fit in well with just about any décor.
The Petmate 21647 is a plastic crate that is approved for air travel, and if you don’t share my aversion to hopping on a plane, you might need one of these if you plan on going places with your dog. It’s a very roomy 48 x 32 x 35, so most dogs will be able to travel comfortably. Keep in mind that the airline will require you to provide a crate in which your dog can comfortably sit, stand, lie down and turn around. There should be two inches of clearance between the top of the dog’s head and the roof of the crate in order for you to be compliant with air travel regulations.
One thing I do need to point out when it comes to air travel, though, is that although an airline will not allow you to fly your dog in a crate that is too small, you won’t be doing your dog any favors if you use a crate that is too big. Sometimes people think that their dog will be more comfortable in a bigger crate, and this can be true with land travel. It is not the case with air travel, because if the plane hits turbulence, the dog could be hurt bouncing around in a crate that is too big. The best dog crate for a large breed traveling by air is neither too small, nor too large.
The Precision Pet Double Door Dog Crate is a metal crate measuring 42 x 28 x 30, rated for dogs up to 90 pounds. It’s very sturdy, and comes with a removable plastic pan and a divider, so you can use it from puppyhood on up through adulthood. This is a really good crate for indoor use, or for outdoors during pleasant weather.
There are, of course, tons of different dog crates out there, suited to all kinds of different-sized dogs. I haven’t researched every single crate on the market, but I did look at dozens, and from what I’ve learned, I think you and your dog will do well with any of the crates I’ve talked about.
Of course, as I’ve also said, the crate you buy will largely depend on the purpose. If you’re not going to fly, then you don’t have to worry about having a crate that’s solid on three sides. If you don’t care about aesthetics, you don’t need a pretty wooden crate. If your dog chews, you don’t want a pretty wooden crate. You get the idea.
Even though I don’t crate Janice and Leroy, I think that for many dog owners, it’s generally a good idea to have a crate on hand. If you have to be out of the house for hours, perhaps due to a family emergency, crating your dog can go a long way to preventing potty accidents and destructiveness. If you have a dog that doesn’t travel well but needs to be taken to the vet, then a good crate can make the journey considerably easier. If you’re introducing a new pet into your household, and you’re worried about aggression on the part of one or the other, a wire crate can allow them to be in contact with one another during the introductory period without either coming to harm.
Crates have many uses. The main thing you need to keep in mind is that the crate has to be right for the dog. So, think about what your dog needs, and proceed accordingly. If you have a big dog, and you need a crate, this post should help you to choose the best dog crate for a large breed.
So, do you crate? What kind of crate do you use? I’d love to hear about your experiences with crating, so leave a comment!