What are the different types of dog crates?

With so many types and sizes available, trying to choose the right dog crate can be a minefield. Let’s look at the different types, along with the pros and cons for each and their ideal use.

should dog crates be small

Wire Mesh

When you say dog crate, the wire mesh types are usually the image that pops up in people’s minds.


Wire mesh crates for your home are typically rectangular in shape, fold flat if you need them to, and come with a slide out plastic tray along the bottom. They are mesh on all sides including the top and the wire mesh is typically coated with a black or white plastic coating.

Pros; Easy to clean, inexpensive, hard to break.

Cons; Draughty, open on all sides, take up a lot of space

Ideal Use; Short terms use for puppies whilst toilet training and can be upgraded to something more aesthetically pleasing if they continue to use it as an adult dog.

which dog crates are crash tested?


Constructed the same way but with a sloped front to fit your vehicle’s cargo space better.

Pros; Inexpensive, fit well in the car, folds flat when not needed

Cons; Not crash tested, smaller because of the sloped front

Ideal Use; Perfect for smaller, ‘hatch back’ cars if you can’t fit a crate on the back seats where it’s safer for the dog.


Plastic dog crates come in two halves, a top and a bottom which clip together and have a door one end, and usually a carry handle.

Pros; Lightweight, easy to clean, fairly inexpensive

Cons; Only for smaller dogs, plastic clips can break, not chew proof

Ideal Use; Transportation for smaller dogs

Soft Fabric & Canvas

Soft dog crates have a plastic or metal frame, over which a fabric or canvas cover fits with a zippered doorway.

Pros; Lightweight, washable, foldable

Cons; Not chew proof, easy to escape from, easy to damage the frame

Ideal Use; Short term travel use, camping, or hotels.

Crash Tested

Crash-tested dog crates are designed to be fitted into cars and protect your dog in the event of an accident. They are extremely strong and designed to maintain their shape and not collapse or be crushed, saving your dog.

Pros; They will literally save your dog’s life, and last a lifetime.

Cons; Expensive, heavy, some are a vehicle specific fit

Ideal Use; If you travel a lot with your dog in your vehicle.

loading a dog crate into a plane


Air travel specific dog crates are designed to keep your dog safe, and comfortable and meet all the airline guidelines. Solid tops, metal fasteners and spillproof water containers should all be standard with an IATA approved travel crate.

Pros; They meet all the airline requirements, can be used in the car or at home after traveling.

Cons; Relatively expensive, ventilation gaps are small so may feel claustrophobic to some dogs.

Ideal Use; Airline or car travel


Pop-up dog crates are similar to soft crates but instead of having a framework, they just pop up into shape (Like the tents).

Pros; Lightweight, easy to fold flat

Cons; Not very sturdy or durable, will blow away in the wind when empty.

Ideal Use; Temporary use when traveling or camping

Wooden Crates

Wooden dog crates were common for use during travel (Ships, airplanes, and vehicles) before we had plastic or wire crates.

Pros; Cheap and easy to make yourself.

Cons; Difficult to clean, heavy

Ideal Use; DIY crates are better used at home.

Best Decorative Dog Crates

Decorative Crates

Let’s face it, wire and plastic crates rarely fit into the decor of our homes. Decorative, and practical, dog crates are now widely available for any choice of decor, or unfinished for you to put your own touch on.

Pros; More aesthetically pleasing than other crates, Lots of choice of color or designs.

Cons; Can be expensive, especially the bespoke manufacturers.

Ideal Use; Home use in the lounge

Aluminum Car Crates

Aluminum dog crates are similar in shape to the sloped fronted wire car crates but are more sturdy in construction. Although not crash tested they do offer some extra protection for your dogs in a vehicle.

Pros; Strong and light, Reasonably priced

Cons; Not crash tested

Ideal Use; Occasional car use

Wheeled Dog Crates

Many types of dog crates are available with wheels attached for easy movement. These are typically used for show dogs or behavioral rehabilitation so that the dog can be moved safely without removal from the crate. Although they can just as easily be used at home if you frequently need to move your dog crate from room to room, or moving a post surgery dog on crate rest to the garden for some fresh air.

Pros; Makes it easy to move crates from room to room.

Cons; Tend to be larger crates, more expensive than wire mesh crates of the same size.

Ideal Use; For people who like their dog in the bedroom at night and only want one crate.

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All articles on tetradog.com are written by qualified behaviorist and dog trainer, Cheryl Walker.


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