Almost every dog owner knows just how difficult it can be to purchase the right size kennel for your canine companion. What’s too big, what’s too small, and even what material should it be made out of? When it comes to your dog’s kennel, it’s important to choose the right size. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive article combining two of the questions that dog owners are asking: what size kennel do I need, which brand of kennel is best, and what are some tips on how to crate train my pet?

relaxing with dog

Dog Kennel Size

When it comes to dog crates, size does matter, and in this case, bigger is usually better. A kennel that is too small can make a dog uncomfortable; generally, you want to let the following dog kennel size requirements guide you

Dog WeightCrate Length

35-40 lbs 24-30 in

40-70 lbs 36 in

70-90 lbs 42 in

90-110 lbs 48 in

110+ lbs 54 in

In general, the smallest dog kennels are around 24 inches long. However, if you have a puppy that’s going to grow into a pretty large dog, buy the size kennel that will fit the average adult-size dog of their breed. You can use dividers inside the kennel to make it smaller and take them away as the pup gets bigger (more on this below in “tips on how to crate train”).

For large breed dogs, it’s best to use a metal kennel. While plastic and soft-sided kennels are okay for smaller and medium dogs if your canine is 90 pounds or up they can damage non-metal cages if they get too excited or anxious. 

And aside from crates to keep your dog in while you’re away or overnight, there are open kennels that can be used as play places! These are great for giving your dog a safe, fenced-in area to run and play, and can be used indoors or out! These kennels are also multi-purpose and can be used to keep pets out of certain, off-limit areas. 

Here are the sizes of kennel you might want to consider for these popular dog breeds: 

  • Golden Retrievers: Around 42 inches long. If you’re wondering about crate size for a golden retriever puppy, remember that you can use dividers to make the full-size crate smaller while the dog is young
  • Mini Goldendoodle: If you’re wondering about what size crate for mini Goldendoodle is appropriate, the answer is about 36 inches long. For a standard Goldendoodle, you’re probably looking closer to 42 inches long.
  • Bernese Mountain Dog: Lastly, if you’re wondering what size crate for Bernese mountain dogs is appropriate, you’re going to be looking at around 40 inches long which could be considered as extra large dog crate.

And if you’re wondering “how big should an outdoor dog kennel be?”, the answer, once again, depends on the size of the dog. However, as a general statement, you want your dog to have enough room to run around and play, as well as have a specific area where they can eliminate waste. 

As a last quick tip: if you’re not sure what size to get, it’s safer to go up. Better to be safe than squished! 

Which Brand Of Kennel Is Best

Now that you know what size kennel to purchase, your next question is likely which kennels are the best. As mentioned above, metal kennels are generally preferred for large breeds, but beyond that, there are a wide variety of kennels available. Below are some of our favorites.

Folding Metal Dog Kennel

This product is great for large dogs because it is available in 36-, 42-, and 48-inch sizes, perfect for an average size dog, all the way to a ginormous dog breed. Since it’s foldable, it’s easy to transport and store. It also comes with a removable plastic tray bottom, making cleaning a breeze! 

Dog Crate & End Table

If you’re looking for a dog crate that will blend into any room as a mundane piece of furniture, this product is just what you need. The upside is that it comes in several colors! The downside, unfortunately, is that it can only accommodate dogs up to 80 pounds. 

This product is also made of non-toxic plastic, not metal, so if your pet likes to destroy furniture, this might not be the best option for you. 

3-Door Folding Soft-Sided Crate

If your pet doesn’t do well in a traditional crate, they might like this soft-sided product a little better. It’s sold in 36- or 42-inch sizes (great dog travel crate sizes) and is made from steel tubing that is covered in polyester fabric. It’s also very lightweight, making it very convenient for travel and storage. 

On the downside, this crate is more fragile than its metal or plastic competitors, so if you have a Destructo-dog, this might not be the right choice. It’s also, as far as dog kennels go, a little on the pricey side. 

Frisco Heavy Duty Dog Crate

This crate is perfect for a pet who is hard to secure since it’s made of heavy-duty 22-gauge steel. Four wheels beneath the crate make it easy to move around, but also lock into place when you need it to be secure. With a removable bottom tray and a dual locking mechanism, this kennel will surely keep any escape-artist dogs safely inside. 

If you’re a single-pet parent, you may need a friend to help you with assembly. This hefty product often takes two people to put together. 

Ruff Maxx 36″ Large Dog Kennel

This is one of the most popular dog crates that are available at Walmart. While it’s made from plastic, it is relatively sturdy and very easy to assemble. It is also fairly light, making it convenient for travel, and is recommended for dogs between 50 to 70 pounds. 

Mahogany Large Dog Kennel

Another product for owners who want their dog’s kennel to look more like a piece of furniture than a cage, this 42-inch dog crate is very pretty. Featuring mahogany wood paneling over steel wires, this could be the statement piece your living room has been missing. 

The removable plastic tray bottom makes cleaning quick and easy, and the wood panels snap off to allow for easy transportation. Can you say convenient?

Crate Training Tips

Between the research, you’ve probably done on what size kennel to get for your dog, and the research on what brand of the kennel to purchase, you might’ve forgotten to research the most important part: how to crate train your dog. 

Have no fear, as below, we have a comprehensive list of tips and tricks to make crate training a snap! 

What Is Kennel Training And How Does It Work?

Crate training “takes advantage of your dog’s natural instincts as a den animal”. In many senses, your dog’s crate becomes their den, which is why it’s so important to make the right choice when purchasing. 

Crate training can be used for a variety of reasons, such as housetraining or transportation, as well as give your pup a place to sleep or be when you’re not home. Please note, your dog’s crate should not be used as a punishment, as your pet will come to fear it and refuse to enter. 

Crate training for Bernese mountain dogs, or other large dog breeds, can be overwhelming at first, but in the end, as long as you stick to the process, everything should turn out great. Generally, the process can take a few days or weeks, depending on your dog’s age and temperament. Remember to be patient with your dog and move slowly; always give your dog a treat or encouragement when they go into their crate to associate it with something positive. 

You can start by introducing your dog to the crate. Put it in a place where you and/or your family often are, like a living room. You can put blankets or even small dog beds in the crate to make it more comfortable, and allow them to explore it at their leisure. Many will be naturally curious about the kennel, but others might be wary. If this is the case you can encourage your dog to enter the crate with food, treats, or toys. 

Once your pet has become acquainted with the crate, you can begin feeding them their meals inside. After a few meals, you can try closing the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this make sure you open the door when they’re finished eating to let them out. Eventually, you can start leaving the door closed for longer, up to intervals of about 10 minutes. 

Over time, your dog should begin to get more and more comfortable being in the crate with the door closed. Once your pet shows no signs of kennel anxiety, you can begin to increase the amount of time you leave them in the crate once again. To do this, start by sitting near the crate for a few minutes, before getting up and moving into another room. After a few minutes, return and sit by the crate again, and then let your pet out after a few minutes. 

This process can be repeated, incrementally increasing the amount of time you leave your dog alone until you’ve reached around 30 minutes. After this, you can try leaving your pet in the crate while you’re gone, or overnight. Upon doing this, make sure you continue crate training while you’re home as well, so your pet does not begin to associate the crate with your leaving. 

As far as crate-training a puppy goes, there are very few differences. If you do decide to purchase the kennel size for the average adult of your puppy’s breed, make sure you’re blocking off excess crate room with dividers or cardboard so that your pup can’t potty on one side of the kennel and the sleep on the other. In general, your puppy needs just enough room for them to stand up and turn around comfortably. You could also find some right crate size for puppy training.

There are potential problems that can come out of crate training your dog, which I feel is worthy of mention. In particular, crating dogs can lead to whining; if your dog whines while left alone in the cage, it’s important to try and determine why they are whining. Do they want out of the cage, or do they need to use the bathroom? Instead of yelling or pounding on the crate, wait a few minutes to see if your dog stops. If the whining persists, use the phrase your dog associates with going outside, and if that elicits an excited response, let them out to use the bathroom! 

big brown furry dog

The other potential issue with crate training your dog is fostering separation anxiety in your pet. Some dogs have natural separation anxiety, and if you use a crate to try and quell that issue, you’ll only make it worse. Instead, try seeking out the advice of a professional animal behaviorist!

All in all, learning about what size kennel you need for your dog, what brands are the best, and how to actually train your pet might be overwhelming at first, but it’s actually not too difficult. While there are a lot of options and opinions out there about which crates are best, as long as your dog has enough space, he or she will hopefully be happy in their new cozy den.