Puppy crates – we’re sure you’ve heard of them!

They’re a lifesaver for many new pet parents, and have really gained in popularity in the last 15 years.

We know, we know they can look like small prisons. But they are in fact, just crates. Ones that will make your and your puppy’s lives much easier during those first weeks. You know, those awkward ones where they pee on the hallway and you step on it. 

This guide will help you choose the right crate for you and your puppy. We’ve picked out the best crates under all the categories we could think you’d be considering. 

In other words, there’s simply no way you can find a good match. Let’s get to it!

What to look for in a puppy crate?

There’s not a lot to be picky about when choosing puppy crates. Just make sure you choose one that is:

  • The right size: Easy for your puppy to stand up, turn around and lie down…but not too large so that they’re able to walk a few steps in because then they tend to turn into a loo.
  • Easy to clean: Just in case there’s any accidents. There probably will be.
  • Portable: You’ll need something like this if you want to take them down on your next road trip to Ibiza.  
  • Suitable for your budget: Go easy on your wallet. 

Best Puppy Crates 

Best Overall Wire Crate

Ellie-Bo Dog Puppy Cage Medium 30 inch Black Folding 2 Door Cage with Non-Chew Metal Tray

Best Puppy Crates (2021) for your dog & the situation

Price £40.00

Description 

The Ellie-Bo wire puppy crate is perfect to help your puppy ace toilet training, alone time, and sleeping. I would recommend this crate to anyone looking for a basic and reliable puppy crate. It’s well constructed and durable as well, so won’t need to think about replacing it any time soon.

What makes it special:

  • Two doors to allow access from the front and side.
  • Metal construction.
  • Folds flat easily for storage.
  • Non chew Metal Tray removable for easy cleaning (yay!)
  • Movable carry handle.
  • Comes ready assembled and folded flat.

Material

Metal wire

Suitable for: Medium sized dogs such as Springer Spaniels, Dachshunds, French Bulldogs or Basset Hounds.

Size 

Height 23.5″ x Length 30″ x Width 21″

Buy it here

Best Budget Wire Crate

Ellie-Bo Dog Puppy Cage Medium 30 inch Silver Folding 2 Door Crate with Non-Chew Metal Tray

Best Puppy Crates (2021) for your dog & the situation

Price £25.62

Description 

Ah, the budget-friendly twin to the other Ellie-Bo. The silver two door crate by Ellie-Bo is a great buy if you’re looking to save a few pounds, yet wanting something equally as high quality. 

The crate has the same features as our take best wire crate but is coated in silver. The coating is indeed the only difference; it just means it will be a bit more rattly when you open and close the doors or as your puppy moves in and out. 

What makes it special:

  • Two doors to allow access from the front and side.
  • Metal construction.
  • Folds flat easily for storage.
  • Non chew Metal Tray removable for easy cleaning.
  • Movable carry handle.
  • Comes ready assembled and folded flat – great, no need to get into another discussion about building things.
  • In a shiny, silver coat. 

The only difference is the coating, which means it will be more rattly and noisy when you open and close the doors or your puppy enters and exits.

Material

Galvanised Steel

Size 

Height 23.5″ x Length 30″ x Width 21″

Suitable for: Medium dogs like Staffordshire Bull Terriers, British Bulldogs, Cocker Spaniels, Whippets.

Buy it here.

Best Looking Puppy Crate

PawHut Pet Crate End Table 

Best Puppy Crates (2021) for your dog & the situation

Price £99.99

Description

Look at you, fancy pants. If you’re more into the aesthetic look of dog crates, then this could be the one for you. Rather than the ‘small prison look’ it’s designed to appear like a piece of furniture due to it’s nice wooden structure. 

Just make sure your guests don’t actually sit inside it thinking it’s some form of abstract sitting chair. 

What makes it special:

  • Stylish design will blend into your living space.
  • Wire sides keep your puppy safe, with visibility to the room.
  • Doors on the front and side for easy access.
  • Wooden construction.
  • Easy to clean surfaces.
  • Solid flat roof can be used to store your puppy’s things, or your family portraits. Why not.

Material

MDF and Wire

Size 

58.5L x 81W x 66Hcm

Suitable for: Small dogs such as Maltipoos, Chorkies, Miniature Dachshunds, Boston Terriers.

Buy it here.

Best soft crate

AmazonBasics Folding Soft Dog Crate, 30″

Best Puppy Crates (2021) for your dog & the situation

Price £41.99

Description 

AmazonBasics offers a great budget friendly option for a folding soft crate. It comes in a larger size that could fit dogs of a medium breed, but recommend getting this one in particular for adult dogs since puppies may decide to chew the fabric as a not-so-funny joke. Hilarious to them, though.

What makes it special:

  • Two zippered mesh doors – one on the front and one on the top. 
  • Mesh windows on three sides for ventilation – we all know how intense dog smells can get.. 
  • Folds flat; so great for travelling or camping.
  • Fast to assemble.
  • Easy to clean.

Material PVC 

Size

76W x 54. L x 54.1H cm

Suitable for: Medium dogs such as Cockapoos, Beagles, Shelties or English Bull Terriers.

Buy it here.

Best Travel Crate for small dogs

SCM Airline Approved Soft-Sided Folding Pet Carrier

Best Puppy Crates (2021) for your dog & the situation

Price  £32.99

Description 

This is one of the best crates for small dogs. Not only does it look quite à la mode, you can easily take it with you on planes, trains, cars or even when you’re walking to your next holiday.

What makes it special:

  • Folds flat when not in use. Always handy.
  • Airline approved – probably the best part about it! It fits under the airline seat, so you’ll be able to keep your dog when soaring the skies.
  • Breathable mesh on all sides for ventilation.
  • Removable Fleece Pad
  • Washable

Material: Nylon

Size

44L x 25W x 28H

Suitable for: Small dogs like Boston Terrier,  Maltese, Bichon Frise, Yorkshire Terrier.

Buy it here.

Best Airline Crate/Sky Kennel 

Karlie Transport Box 

Best Puppy Crates (2021) for your dog & the situation

Price £57.11

Short description 

The best part of the Karlie Transport Box is that it’s IATA approved – it meets all the airline requirements, so you can be sure your dog can always join you on your trips around the world. If you know traveling across the world is something you’ll be doing a lot, it’s a good idea to get it and use it for crate training so they can be well prepared for when travel day comes. 

What makes it special:

  • Solid plastic material with metal door
  • Can be taken apart for storage.
  • Comes with a clip-on water bowl – dogs (and humans) love to stay hydrated!
  • Guttered edge to help with any toileting accidents while travelling – this is perfect.

Material Plastic and Metal

Size Medium –  68L x 51W x47H

Suitable for: Small to medium dogs such as Westies, French Bulldogs, or Small Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

Larger sizes of the same crate can also be purchased.

Buy it here.

Best car crate

Mimsafe Variocage Crash Tested Crate

Best Puppy Crates (2021) for your dog & the situation

Price From £400 for Small Single £595 for Double Medium 

Description

The Variocage Car crate is brilliant. It’s one of few crash tested crates on the market – and is one I personally use! Many crates used in cars fail during an accident leaving dogs trapped around sharp edges when the crate crumbles, or collapsing which can be very dangerous when dogs end up outside of the car, at the side of the road. 

This crate is truly recommended for keeping your dog safe in the car. Yes, it is reassuringly expensive and can make your car look slightly like a prisoner transport vehicle but it should be considered an investment if you’re a frequent traveller. Couldn’t recommend it more!

What makes it special:

  • Strong and strong metal construction. 
  • Crumple zones protect your dog and passengers in the event of an accident.
  • Escape door allows you to remove your pet if the rear doors are damaged.
  • Can be fitted to hatchbacks, estate cars or vans.
  • Double sizes come with a removable divider so you can carry two dogs safely.
  • Depth can be extended to make the crate longer or shorter depending on the depth of the boot.

Material

Steel 

Size 

Small Single:  55.5W x 59L x 73-90 D (adjustable)

Small Double: 93W x 59 L x 73-99 D (adjustable) 

More sizing info here.

Suitable for: 

Small Single crate is suitable for one small dog like Jack Russell Terrier, Cockapoo, Beagle.

Small Double crate is suitable for two small dogs such as Patterdale Terrier, Maltipoo, Cavapoo.

Buy it here.

Best Crate from Argos 

Argos Double Door Pet Cage – Medium

Best Puppy Crates (2021) for your dog & the situation

Price £44.99

Description 

Sometimes you need to get a crate in a hurry. And for times like this, we pop down to trusty Argos!

This is a great value puppy crate – it’s very useful for toilet training and for giving your puppy a safe place  to hang out in. For dogs who need to be confined post surgery, this is also an excellent choice. 

What makes it special:

  • Double doors – one on the side, and one on end.
  • Carry handle.
  • Folds flat for easy storage.
  • Strong metal construction.
  • Removable and washable plastic base tray – cannot stress how useful these are. 

Material Metal and Plastic

Size 

61H x 76W x  54D.

Suitable for: Medium dogs such as Beagle, Border Collies, or Boxers.

Buy it here.

Alternatives to crates

We get it – you may not want to keep your puppy confined in a cage, but crates don’t necessarily mean that all. 

Having a confinement area for your puppy, especially when during their first few weeks in a new home will be extremely helpful with all sorts of training like toilet training so they stop peeing on your wonderful hardwood floors, and alone training where you’ll show them that there are also other nice places to be around rather than glued to your side. 

But indeed, we know that crates aren’t for everyone. For this reason, we suggest you use a puppy playpen or baby gate to keep managing their space a little better. 

PRO TIP: When buying a playpen, make sure that it’s sturdy and durable – we don’t want your puppy jumping up and it toppling over. Safety first, always!

Best Puppy Playpen

Ellie-Bo Heavy Duty Modular Puppy Exercise Play

Puppy Nutrition: What makes up a high-quality puppy diet?

Price £103.45

Description 

The Ellie-Bo heavy duty playpen is a great alternative to a puppy crate if you’re more keen on having your puppy confined in a larger open space. Or if you think the amount of toys you buy them simply won’t fit inside the crate.

What makes it special:

  • Heavy Duty material feels safe and secure.
  • It’s large size gives your puppy lots of space to play, nap, and stretch their legs.
  • The modular system lets you set it up in different ways.
  • Can be increased in size by buying additional pieces – which is great to follow your puppy along as they grow.

Material Metal

Size 

The panel size is 123 x 79.5 x 15 cm , and the size of the playpen area is 26sqf.

Suitable for: Small, medium and large breeds of puppies. Wohoo!  

Buy it here.

Tips to get your puppy to enjoy being in their crate 

The best way to get your puppy to like their crate, is to show them that they are indeed quite far from being a prison, or something to be punished with. Crates are wonderful places to be! They’re safe, cozy, and are brilliant nap nooks.

 Here’s some tips on how to get them loving their crate:

  • When you introduce them to the crate for the first time, pop some treats inside so that they learn that this new, cagey thing is rewarding and fun.
  • Feed them their meals in the crate so they associate it with yum times.
  • Throughout the day, hide treats inside for them at random and leave them to discover on their own.
  • Give them toys and chews to have in the crate. 
  • Don’t shut the door until you’re sure they are comfortable with being in the crate! This is going to take some training, but it’s totally possible.

Our Crate Training article here, shows you what to do in a lot more detail. Check out the crate training exercises in our ZigZag app to gain some more good information. 

FAQ:

Which crate do we recommend as #1 for your puppy?

For your first puppy, our number #1 recommended puppy crate is the Elli-Bo wire dog crate here

Hurray! They win first place.

How to choose the right size of crate for your puppy? 

The best way to choose the right size of crate for your puppy is simply by matching the size of your dog’s breed to the crates suitable for them. 

Here’s a quick guide to what we mean by small, medium or large sizes: 

Small Breeds: Chihuahuas, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers

Medium Breeds: Cocker Spaniel, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Cockapoo

Large Breeds: Labrador, German Shepherd, Labradoodle.  

Should I use a puppy crate or a puppy pen?

Where possible, we recommend you use a combination of both. A crate inside the playpen will give your puppy somewhere safe and secure to sleep during the day time, as well as at night. Don’t forget, keep the door of your crate open until your puppy is comfortable with it being closed. 

What to put (and not to put) in your dog’s crate?

In your puppy’s crate we recommend you put:

A soft snuggly bed: Vetbeds work great, check this one out here.
A water bowl: Your puppy should always have access to fresh water! We like these because they clip on to the crate, or Road Refreshers – these are great for puppies who like to tip up their bowls. 
Some chew toys: The Nylabone Teething Keys are quite the favourites.

Here’s what you don’t want you put inside:

Puppy Pads: We don’t want to encourage our puppy to go to the loo inside the crate, do we? They can be a nightmare to clean. If you don’t have access to an outdoor toilet for your puppy, use a playpen instead, and pop the puppy pads as far from their bed or sleeping area as possible. 
Your puppy with a harness or collar on: This is potentially unsafe – 

Where should I place a crate?

Somewhere warm and free of draughts; there’s nothing more annoying than getting a cold breeze when you’re all cozy. Also, try to put it in a quiet area so that they’re left undisturbed when nodding off for a nap inside the room you spend most of your time in. 

What are some accessories you don’t want to forget?

Crate cover: How about a crate cover to make it snuggly and den-like? There are many different ones you can find, but we rather like these from Lords and Labradors best.

A clip on water bowl:  This one will help to stop your puppy knocking their water bowl over. How many times will you have to wipe everything off without one? Remains a mystery.

Something extra warm: This Snugglesafe teddy is brilliant. It can be microwaved to stimulate the body heat of other puppies! This can make them feel extra safe in the first weeks they’re away from their mum and siblings.

Chews: This pack from Nylabone is great to help your puppy like being in their crate. Just pop them inside and let them tear away!

We hope our guide has helped you figure out what crate you might want to buy.  We’re sure your puppy will grow to love it! Especially if you follow our good advice on how to get there…

For more puppy training exercises, download our ZigZag app! Besides step-by-step guidance, you’ll also get access to a team of puppy experts who are there to support you and answer all questions – big or small!