Best Dog Crates For German Shepherds: Kennel Types & Sizes

Last Updated: March 23, 2020 | 15 min read

Crate training is an essential step in house training your dog, but it can be tough to pick the right one for your German Shepherd.  There are many factors you’ll need to consider and it’s not as easy as buying a T-Shirt.

Because GSD’s are naturally active working dogs, finding the right kennel to keep them secure can be a challenge.  You want to find something that’s big enough to house your dog comfortably, without giving too much space to encourage them from marking their space.

Ahead, we cover our top five picks for dog crates for German Shepherds, as well as offer you some helpful tips you can use when it comes time for crate training to begin.  In our top picks you’ll see a few great crates for your home and one that’s specifically made to take with you while you travel.  Let’s jump in!

At a Glance: Our Favorite German Shepherd Crates

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Buying Guide

There are a number of things you’ll want to consider before buying a crate for your German Shepherd.  Not every crate is created equally.  In fact, some crates are made specifically for travel, while others are specifically for home use and are practically indestructible.

German Shepherds are a unique breed and will need a crate that’s sturdier in construction.  They are similar to other high energy breeds, and if they don’t have an energy outlet, they can become quite destructive.  Ensuring the crate you buy for your GSD can withstand lots of abuse is extremely important.

Activity Levels

German Shepherds are extremely active dogs.  Why does this matter when considering what crate to buy?  This is more of a cautionary tale that because the GSD is a high energy working dog, you need to properly exercise your dog prior to crate training.  Not allowing your GSD to get adequate daily activity is almost certain to end in disaster if you are trying to crate train.

Improper crate training with an anxious dog can lead to destructive behavior, and even worse – a dog that chews on a metal crate only to find out the hard way that it’s not compatible with teeth.  That can end up costing you thousands of dollars in vet bills if you aren’t cautious.

Crate Size

So what size crate does your German Shepherd need?  This is a common question, and not always easy to answer.  Because GSDs range in size from medium to large, there’s no one-size-fits-all crate recommendation.  What we can tell you is that if your pup is north of 60 pounds, then a 42 inch crate with at least 30 inches in height should be suitable for your pup.

If your dog is in the medium size range, a 36 inch crate is just fine.  Some brands come with a divider which is great, because it allows you to split the crate, and train your puppy early on before removing the divider as they grow.  We’d always recommend looking at a crate with two doors instead of one.  This allows you two access points so you can position the crate how it’s most convenient for your home.

Crate Construction

Do you want a sturdy crate, or one that’s likely to get eaten through or bent?  If you are shopping for a crate that will go inside the home, metal is strongly recommended.  You want to make sure the brand you get isn’t notorious for bent bars, and that it doesn’t encourage your dog to pick up bad behaviors.

Some of the thicker metal crates we recommend below are ideal, although they come at a premium price, and will be heavier to move.  These crates are great for active dogs, that will not allow any of the metal or wireframe to bend or give shape to a stubborn dog.

Crate Purpose

This needs to be called out because not every crate is built for the same purpose.  Some crates are geared towards making your pup feel safe and secure at home, while others are more lightweight and built specifically to travel with you so your dog has a safe space.  While some people disagree with the crate training philosophy, we do not and highly encourage it to ensure that you have a well behaved pup.

With that being said, we don’t encourage crates for long periods of time – a couple hours at most should be all your dog is subjected to.  Some people will leave their dog crated the entire day, and that’s not what we recommend.  If you are going to be gone for long periods of time, you may want to rethink getting a German Shepherd because of how active the breed is.  At very least, train them to roam about the house and invest in a good Doggy door for your home.

Training Process

Crate training is an essential part of keeping your dog comfortable and well-behaved. There are some best practices you should follow when crating your dog, however, to make sure they don’t look at the crate in a negative light.  You’ll want to make sure you have a soft place for your dog to lay, so get a proper crate pad to make the space more comfortable.

It’s going to take at least a week – possibly more – to get your dog comfortable with their crate. You need to keep them engaged and interested in the crate if you want them to think of it as their den.

As we’ve covered, the most important part of crate training is to keep the idea of the crate a positive one for your dog. You need to make them feel comfortable and safe in the crate, and using it as a punishment will do the exact opposite. You should also take crate training slow if your dog isn’t receptive to the crate. Don’t try to rush the process, or you’ll only make things worse for you and your dog.

Some dogs will take longer to crate train than others – especially if they’re a rescue or an older dog. Some dogs have a checkered past when it comes to crates, and you need to work through that to get the desired result. They should view the den space as safe because dogs are den animals.

Making the Introduction

You should start the crate training process by introducing your dog to the crate. Put it in the living room or another area of the house where you or your family spends a lot of time. You should remove the door to the crate as a first step, and allow your dog’s curiosity to take over. A lot of dogs will take to the crate naturally when you place it in their path.

If not, you should bring your dog over to the crate using a positive tone. You can add a bowl of food or a treat to the crate to encourage them to enter. You shouldn’t force your dog to enter the crate if they’re nervous or skittish. Take your time and make sure the process is entirely positive.

A great way to get your dog into the crate without a fuss is to use treats or a toy to lure them in. It may take a couple of days, but your dog will begin to think of the crate as a comfortable, safe space.

Feeding Inside

Now that you’ve introduced your dog to the crate, it’s time to get them a bit more comfortable with it. Place a bowl of food near the back of the crate that requires them to go all the way in. Some dogs will still be a bit fearful of going all the way in. In these cases, all you need to do is bring the bowl closer to the entrance and move it a bit further back with each meal.

After a few meals spent entirely in the crate, you can begin to close the door behind them. Open the door when they’ve finished their first closed-door meal, then progressively increase the time they spend in the crate.

Your dog may begin to whimper when the crate door is closed. If so, you probably upped their crate time too much too quickly. Start closing the door for shorter periods and increase the time at a slower rate.

Increasing Time

The next step is to teach your dog a crate command and praise them for entering. You can use a treat or a toy to keep them comfortable and happy. Start with five minutes in the crate and work your way up from there.

After your dog is comfortable in the crate, you can start crating them when you leave the house. You should do your best not to crate them at the same point in your routine, or your dog may sense the separation.

Leaving the house with your dog in the crate shouldn’t be the end of the world for you or them. Leave without an emotional goodbye and give your dog a treat when you get back. Remember not to keep your dog in the crate for too long, or they may start to become anxious.

Our Favorite GSD Crates

Now that you have a nice overview of what to look for and how to implement some crate training basics, let’s look at which models are our favorites for the German Shepherd.  These crates can also double up for other busy shepherds, like the Dutch Shepherd or the Belgian Malinois.

This list below should get you started on your dog crating journey.  While this list is not all-inclusive by any means, we feel it’s a great start, and should give you five viable options as you train your pup.  We’ve also included a handy FAQ about crating your GSD if you have additional questions.  Let’s dive in!

MidWest Homes Dog Crate

Dog Crate 1636DDU| MidWest Life Stages 36"...
  • Double door folding metal dog crate, Life Stages measures 36L x...
  • Versatile 2 door dog crate includes a free divider panel, durable...
  • Two heavy duty slide bolt latches (per door) securely lock dog...
  • Easy assembly & portable dog crate | Sets up in seconds w/ no...

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The MidWest Homes for Pets iCrate Dog Crate is a simple, affordable wire crate for your dog. It’s great for large breeds like German Shepherds because of the built-in divider. You can crate train your German Shepherd as a puppy and open up the crate as they grow.

The crate is also easy to clean and foldable so you can bring it with you on the ride. The durability of the crate is a concern here, however. If your dog is an escape artist, you’ll probably want a more durable dog crate to house them in.

We love that this crate is an affordable option for the size.  It comes equipped with a divider so you can train from puppy to adult.  It provides plenty of space as they grow.  The removable tray makes it easy to clean as well.  The crate also folds up, making it easily portable.

AmazonBasics Folding Kennel

AmazonBasics Single Door Folding Metal Dog...
  • Dog crate with single-door design for front entry
  • Two slide-bolt door latches for increased safety and security
  • Sturdy metal construction; folds flat for easy...
  • Optional divider panel and removable composite plastic pan...

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The AmazonBasics Folding Metal Dog Crate is another good pick for a German Shepherd. The latch is more secure than the MidWest Homes product above, and the crate comes in multiple sizes to best fit your dog. This is also an option if you are looking to crate a husky.

The divider in the crate is optional as well, so you can use this one for both adult German Shepherds and puppies. As is the case with most wire crates, you can fold this one to make storage and transport a bit easier.

Our only problem with the AmazonBasics Folding Metal Dog Crate is that some restless German Shepherds might be able to collapse it and get free from the inside.  This shouldn’t be much of a problem with proper crate training, but it’s still worth noting before you make your selection.

We love that this crate is easy to clean through the removable tray at the bottom.  It’s collapsable and easy to transport/store.  It’s available in both 36 and 42 inches, making it perfect for GSDs.  The secure latches also make it difficult for dogs to escape from.

We love that this crate is easy to clean by removing the tray at the bottom.  It’s collapsable and easy to transport/store.  It comes in a variety of sizes, including both 36, 42 and 48 inches.  The secure latches make it a great option for escape artist GSDs.

LUCKUP Heavy Duty Kennel

LUCKUP Heavy Duty Dog Cage Strong Metal...
  • Heavy duty frame: made from corrosion-resistant steel,strong and...
  • Double door & locking caster design: The front door is suitable...
  • Easy to clean:Removable (slide-out) plastic tray helps you to...
  • Easy to assemble:All hardware pack included,just need to fit it...

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The LUCKUP Heavy Duty Dog Cage is our pick for durable, heavy-duty dog crates. Some dogs just don’t like going into their crate, and owners need to be sure they won’t have an escape whenever they leave the house for a few minutes.

This crate is large, durable, and easy to assemble. Your German Shepherd will be comfortable inside and won’t be able to find a way to break free. The crate also sits on wheels, so it’s relatively easy to move around the house.

Of course, there are some downsides to picking a heavy-duty dog crate. They’re bulky, heavy, and they don’t collapse, so bringing them with you is going to be a chore. You’re also going to have to spend a bit more money for this crate, but you get what you pay for in terms of durability.

We love that this crate has extreme durability, and is practically impossible to break out of.  It has a removable plastic tray for easy cleaning.  It’s easy to assemble and break down, despite the fact that it’s thick, heavy and tough for any dog to penetrate or break out of.

Carlson Pet Products Metal Crate

Carlson Pet Products Secure and Foldable...
  • DIMENSIONS: 42-inches long by 28-inches wide by 30-inches tall
  • SECURE ALL STEEL: Single door design with secure locking system...
  • REMOVABLE AND WASHABLE: Includes a black removable and washable...
  • FOLDABLE AND TRAVEL: Foldable system for portability, storage and...

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The Carlson Pet Products Secure and Foldable Single Door Metal Dog Crate is another strong contender for one of the best dog crates for German Shepherds. The crate is strong, sturdy, and affordable. The washable pan makes cleaning easy, and you can fold the crate when you need to store or transport it.

Unfortunately, this crate doesn’t come with a divider, which means you’ll only want to buy this one for an adult German Shepherd. If you want, you could buy a divider separately, though. The lock on this crate leaves something to be desired as well. Dogs that don’t get fussy will be just fine, but restless dogs might be able to break free.

We love that this crate has a removable and washable pan for easy cleaning.  The 48 inch size ensures there’s plenty of room, although we wouldn’t recommend you go bigger than that.  Anything too big may allow your GSD to use the corner to relieve himself.  It’s also foldable for easy storage and travel.

AmazonBasics Folding Soft Edition

AmazonBasics Premium Folding Portable Soft...
  • Soft-sided carrier crate for pets that collapses down easily for...
  • Made with durable polyester and PVC material
  • Well-ventilated with multiple screened panels for your pet to...
  • Includes plush fleece-covered pet bed for comfort while on the...

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The AmazonBasics Folding Soft Dog Crate is another AmazonBasics dog crate that makes our list. The crate is double-doored with a mesh window, so your dog won’t feel trapped inside.

Although this is one of the more comfortable dog crates on our list, it won’t be ideal for all German Shepherd owners. Dogs that aren’t properly crate trained will probably want to break out and can do so by chewing through the mesh.

If you follow our tips on crate training your dog, you shouldn’t have a problem with the AmazonBasics Folding Soft Dog Crate. Those who have dogs that fall into the “escape artist” category will likely want a product with a bit more durability.

We love that this GSD crate is budget-friendly, and is both soft and comfortable.  This is a crate that you’ll primarily use for transport, or while you are home.  It’s not recommended that you use this crate while you are away from your home.  The fact that it’s lightweight makes it easy to transport, and it also comes with a one year warranty.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the best kinds of crates for a German Shepherd?
A: There are several different kinds of dog crates on the market, but the best dog crates for German Shepherds are usually wire crates. They allow your dog to get a lot of air; they’re easy to clean and give your German Shepherd plenty of room.

Q: What size should I buy for my German Shepherd?
A: German Shepherds are a larger breed of dog, which means you’re going to need a large crate – often around 42 inches. The dimensions of these crates are traditionally 42L x 28W x 31H.

Q: Will a dog crate help with separation anxiety?
A: Keeping your dog in the crate while you’re away for long periods will not help with separation anxiety. Making a dog feel comfortable and safe in their crate, though, can mitigate some of the separation anxiety for short absences.

Q: Are dog crates safe?
A: Yes. As long as you keep the crate clean and comfortable, your dog will be happy and safe in their crate.

Q: Can a dog crate be too small?
A: Yes. Dog crates can be too small and confine your dog. For a German Shepherd, you’re going to need an extra-large dog crate.

Q: Why should you crate train your dog?
A: Crate training is part of house training. It can help prevent destructive behaviors and give your dog a place to call home.

Q: Are dog crates cruel?
A: No. Dogs are den animals by nature. The right crate training will make your dog comfortable in his or her crate.

Final Thoughts

Our top pick for dog crates for German Shepherds is the AmazonBasics Folding Metal Dog Crate. This crate has nearly everything you need for a low price. You have a divider, removable tray, and a collapsible crate that’s relatively easy to transport.

The heavy-duty alternative to this crate would be the LUCKUP Heavy Duty Dog Cage. You’ll have to spend a bit more, but you have the security of knowing your dog won’t find a way out when you lock the door.  You can check out the full review on that model right here.

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