Search Menu

AKC is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to If you purchase a product through this article, we may receive a portion of the sale.

Dogs are den animals and having a crate for them in your home gives them a cozy spot of their own when they need to get away from it all. Crates are also a helpful aid when potty training your dog, to keep them safe when you can’t supervise them, to sleep in at night, and to go to when the world is chaotic or scary. That’s why choosing the right one for your dog is such an important decision.

When shopping for the best dog crate, look for one that will keep your dog comfortable, is the proper size, is sturdy enough for your dog’s age and breed, and will blend into your decor. After all, you’ll want to place it in an area where you and your family hang out, so your dog can be near you. Follow these steps to choosing a crate that your dog will learn to adore cuddling up in.

Pick a Dog Crate That’s the Correct Size

One important feature of a dog crate is its size. Your dog needs enough room to sit, stand, and lie down comfortably within the crate. While you want a roomy crate, you don’t want one that’s too large. This could encourage your dog to eliminate within the crate because they can sit away from the mess.

In Partnership with logo
Find Your Perfect Home white dog paw print
*Dog friendly rental filter applied to results

For puppies, consider an expandable crate that’s as large as the typical adult size of your dog’s breed. These crates contain a divider that you can adjust to expand the space inside as your puppy grows.

How to Measure for the Right Size Crate:

With your dog standing, measure them from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet to determine height. Next, measure your dog from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail to determine length. Add 3 to 4 inches to each measurement to compute the height and length of the dog crate you’ll need.

Labrador retriever puppy laying down in its crate.
©Parilov -

Choose the Type of Dog Crate

The type of crate you choose will depend on your budget, whether your dog is a chewer, and what you want to use the crate for. You’ll also want to choose a crate that is secure enough to prevent an escape, and one that’s easy to assemble and take apart.

Plastic Dog Crates

Plastic dog crates work in the house and can also serve as travel carriers for dogs. When you’re searching for a plastic crate, you should pick a crate that’s durable, well ventilated, and airline-approved if you plan to fly. Best of all, plastic crates are easy to clean.

Metal Dog Crates

Metal dog crates are best for dogs who tend to chew through other materials. When purchasing a wire crate, you should consider ease of assembly, durability, and how easy it is to clean. These crates are the sturdiest you can buy and provide good air circulation and visibility, but aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing. Fabric covers offer your dog extra privacy and can beautify these crates.

©FotoJagodka 2012-

Wood Dog Crates

Wood dog crates are typically the most attractive and priciest option. Most also act as pieces of furniture, like end tables, to blend with your decor, and offer sturdy support for your dog. Keep in mind that they require assembly, are heavier than other types of dog crates, and are harder to clean.

Soft Dog Crates

Fabric dog crates are an economical choice if you have a small breed dog who isn’t going to chew on it. Like plastic crates, many of these soft crates double as dog travel carriers, but they aren’t as easy to clean if there is an accident. They are lightweight, easy to assemble, and most fold down for storage.

Make Sure the Dog Crate is Comfortable

All dog crates require proper ventilation holes or mesh fabric on the sides for your dog to breathe properly. For dogs who don’t regularly chew on fabric items, add a cozy, machine-washable bed or mat within the crate to make it inviting. Many crates come with coordinating beds that you can remove and wash.

Crates are an important part of potty training for dogs and provide dogs with a safe space to retreat to during the day and night. That’s why it’s so important to crate train your dog and choose a crate that will last for years to come, enriching your dog’s environment.

Related article: How to Clean a Dog Bed
Get Your Free AKC eBook

How to Crate Train Your Dog

Are you thinking about crate training your puppy but aren't sure how to get started? Don't worry, we have you covered! Download the AKC create training e-book to get started.
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download