Many dogs love having their own cozy crate to retreat to when the day has gotten the better of them.
A dog crate is their space, a sanctuary where they can relax – some dogs won’t even sleep if they’re not in their crate!
Generally, when puppies are dog crate trained it can help with toilet training and serves to keep them out of trouble if you can’t supervise them for short periods of time.
It can be helpful if you plan to travel with your dog, as you can safely restrain him in a vehicle. It can help settle dogs in unfamiliar environments too (e.g. vacation spots or friends/family homes).
There are a range of heavy duty dog crates on the market, however, when choosing the right one to suit your dog it should:
- Be made from durable materials (e.g. corrosion resistant metal)
- Have a robust locking mechanism to prevent escapes
- Include dividers so it can be used for all life stages (e.g. puppy, junior and senior)
- Be spacious enough to accommodate his size (i.e. not too small or too big)
- Include a temporary removable plastic tray (for easy cleaning)
Editor’s Picks – Best Heavy Duty Dog Crates
Best 7 Heavy Duty Dog Crates Reviewed
1. SMONTER Large & Strong Metal Pet Kennel
Super-easy to clean, this dog crate also has a removable plastic tray. Boasting anti-escape locks, yes two of them, you shouldn’t have any issues with Houdini.
Things We Like:
- 1-year warranty
- Chew through 100% money back guarantee
- Dual lock mechanism
2. The LUCKUP Heavy Duty Dog Cage
The crate is easy to keep clean, it also has a removable plastic tray. Available in a range of sizes, the 42″ crate is big enough for large dogs.
Things We Like:
- Easy to assemble
- Multiple locks prevent escapees
3. MidWest Homes iCrate (Double Door Folding Metal Pen)
A cost-effective option with a simple design. It has a choice of single or double doors, slide bolt latches and a removable, washable plastic pan. It also comes with a divider panel which is perfect for those puppy years, meaning you don’t have to buy a puppy sized crate and then buy another larger crate as they grow.
The MidWest comes in a range of sizes to accommodate pooches from 90-110 pounds. It easily folds down, which makes it perfect for heading out on those family vacations.
Things We Like:
- Heavy duty slide latches
- Easy assembly and portable design
- Easy to wash and disinfect
4. Haige Pet Large Dog Crate with Patent Lock
With a unique pitched roof design, the Haige provides some extra head room for those large breeds to move around. Pet-parents love how sturdy it is and the fact it’s so easy to clean. Made from rust and corrosion-resistant steel, you can be confident that regular cleaning won’t affect its durability.
Easy to assemble, it should be ready to use within five minutes. Comes with a 1-year warranty (with a chew through 100% money back guarantee) and you can see why pet-parents give it a chance.
Things We Like:
- Removable floor pan for easy cleaning
- Lockable wheels allow for easy movement around the home
- Puppy/dog chew proof design
- Extra headroom for those large breeds
5. Casual Home Handmade Solid Wood Pet Crate
The number one best-seller in furniture style dog crates on Amazon, this crate comes in a range of colors to match any interior. Its end table design means it will look great in any room in the house. Made from sustainable solid wood, it’s durable and cosy.
Easy to assemble, the Casual Home Wooden Pet Crate comes in a range of sizes to suit any size dog.
Things We Like:
- Light and easy to assemble
- Strong, lockable doors
- Great solid wood design
6. MERRY PRODUCTS Wooden Dog Cage (with removable base)
Another decorative style crate, this one allows you to remove the decorative wood and transport a fully functional crate (perfect for vacations)! Easy to clean, it has a removable plastic tray. A removable divider makes it a great purchase for puppies, without the need to buy bigger crates as he grows.
Available in three different sizes, you will certainly find one to suit your large breed. Competitively priced it is another crate built to provide that cosy den for your dog.
Things We Like:
- Decorative design
- Easy to clean (with removable base)
- Can be dismantled for easy transport
7. Wood & Wire Dog Crate (with cushion)
Available in espresso and white, you can match this dog pen to any interior, you may just spend more time wiping muddy paw prints off the white as they will be much easier to notice.
Things We Like:
- Multi-functional with two doors
- Elegant design
- Easy to assemble – it’s a great den
What Makes The Best Heavy Duty Dog Crates?
If you are seeking a crate for a large or giant dog breed, you want it to give you peace of mind knowing it’s purpose built and heavy duty, there are certain features to look out for:
- Lock Mechanism
The dog crate should ideally be made from durable materials; think corrosion resistant metal.
An extra large dog crate should be strong, sturdy and easy to clean. If it’s made out of metal, check it is corrosion resistant so you can easily wash and disinfectant without it degrading.
Heavy duty dog crates are generally at the more premium end of the price range. For that reason, it’s more cost effective to buy your final sized crate from the get-go.
If you know your dog will grow to be over 100 pounds, then buy a crate to accommodate his size.
Check it comes with a removable divider so you can alter the size as your puppy grows. It’s better to have an over-sized crate than an undersized one.
Are you likely to take the crate on vacation? Will your dog be staying with friends or relatives regularly? Some crates will easily fold down for transportation and others will come with wheels to help move it around.
Some locks are simplistic and some would give Houdini and run for his money. Whilst some owners complain of hard to maneuver locks, it is these same locks that won’t be moved by an excited puppy pawing at the door.
Never use a padlock or carabiner to keep a door closed on a crate, you want any locking mechanism to be simple enough for ANY human to release in the event of an emergency.
How Big and Giant Dogs Typically Escape Dog Crates (Magic!)
Not only that but powerful jaws have been known to chew through plastic trays leaving them lying in a pile of shards.
If your dog is trying to escape from their crate, it’s not simply a case of buying a better or stronger crate. They don’t want to be in there for a reason (tackle this first).
To build a strong positive association with a dog crate you should introduce a crate as soon as you get your puppy.
Start with plenty of positive association and reinforcement or even just a case of boredom which can easily be managed through extra exercise, mental stimulation or puzzle feeders.
Crate Training A Large Dog
The purpose of a crate is to give your puppy their own space to relax and sleep. They should enjoy being in that space.
This is often where crate training goes horribly wrong.
If a dog is destructive, owners often think that a crate will solve the problem.
A dog is destructive for a reason. The most common reason is stress or anxiety and it’s usually related to being left alone.
If your dog is suffering with separation anxiety, there are a whole host of other strategies that will help. A crate, on its own, will not.
1. Introducing The Dog Crate
Just like everything else with your dog, it is best to introduce a crate as young as possible.
If this means having the crate in your bedroom on the day you bring pup home, then so be it.
Dog’s learn through the consequences of their behavior; they learn from experience. Your puppy needs to learn that the crate is a happy place to be, it’s safe and good things happen there.
2. Set-Up the Crate
Set up the crate and make it as welcoming as possible – bedding, blankets, toys etc…
You may even drape a blanket, or cover over the top, don’t be surprised if pup manages to drag this in the crate to chew though.
Let your dog sniff and explore the crate and throw healthy dog treats inside.
If you have a tray on the bottom which moves, some puppies can get nervous of the movement and noise as they step in. Where possible place bedding/blankets to prevent the noise or movement.
3. Introduce the Crate
Once your dog is happy walking in and out, give him a chew or one of his meals inside the crate.
Don’t lock the door yet.
Once you are confident your puppy is now happy being in the crate, whilst you give him a chew/meal, lock the door and wait for a response. With the distraction, he shouldn’t be that bothered.
If he gets stressed, let him out immediately. Otherwise, open the door as soon as he’s finished but don’t encourage him out, just let him choose.
Providing pup isn’t phased by being locked in the crate, increase the time spent in there:
- Meal/chew + 1 minute
- Meal/chew + 2 minute
- Meal/chew + 3 minute
4. Increase Time Spent in the Crate
As you are increasing the time spent in the crate, move away from meal times and encourage him in the crate after playtimes or walks.
This way, he is more likely to be tired and will just go to sleep.
He will then associate the crate with rest and relaxation:
- Walk/play – 5 minutes rest
- Walk/play – 10 minutes rest
- Walk/play – 15 minutes rest
5. Leave the Crate Open
You may notice that if left open throughout the day, pup will just take himself off to his crate when he wants to sleep.
Some dogs will happily take to a crate and will have no issues sleeping a whole night in them.
6. Housebreaking using a Crate
Puppies have an instinct to avoid toileting where they sleep – for that reason they don’t tend to mess in their crate but wait for you to come and take them out to potty.
This gives you the opportunity to show them where they can go to the toilet and prevents accidents in the home.
A crate sets them up to succeed. But remember their bladder isn’t fully developed.
The general rule is that puppies can hold it in for a month plus one. A 3-month-old puppy can potentially hold their bladder for 4 hours. Plan regular times to let them out to go potty.
Crate training your puppy can be one of the most worthwhile things you do as a pet-parent. Not only can it help with toilet training as a young pup, it can help them settle by giving them a space they know is their own, where they can safely retreat.
A dog crate should be a tool that helps you raise a well-rounded and stable dog; it should never be used as a punishment or to keep destructive symptoms at bay.
If your dog is destructive in the home, the underlying issues need to be addressed with a qualified trainer or behaviorist.
There are a range of heavy duty dog crates on the market, but, choose a crate that suits your dog and their needs. Make sure you consider the material, locking mechanisms, size and portability.
Whether you choose a decorative crate, or a heavy duty dog crate is entirely up to you, a well-crate-trained dog will be happy in any of them.