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 GSDs 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.
At a Glance: Our Favorite German Shepherd Crates
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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.
You’ll also 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 of 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 the very least, train them to roam about the house and invest in a good Doggy door for your home. Crate training has benefits, but you want to make sure you do it the right way.
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. Dogs love their dens, but you want to make sure you select the right one to match your dog’s activity levels.
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.
Frisco Double Door Folding Kennel
The Frisco Folding Metal Dog Crate is another good pick. The latch is more secure than the MidWest Homes product below, 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 adults and puppies. As is the case with most wire crates, you can fold this one to make storage and transport a bit easier.
The crate is extremely secure. It’s a great selection for even the most restless dog that try to escape from even more heavy-duty dog crates. It’s equipped with a customizable divider, meaning you can use it from puppyhood through your Shepherd’s senior years.
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.
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.
MidWest Homes Dog Crate
- Double door crate.
- ABS plastic handles for carrying.
- Divider to accommodate growing dogs.
- Easy clean pan.
- Secure bolt latching system.
- Rounded corners for safety.
- Easy setup and tear-down.
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 dog 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.
Frisco Ultimate Dog Crate
- Made with 22 gauge steel.
- Dual locks with sturdy latches.
- Forged durable construction.
- Perfect for anxious German Shepherds.
- Wheels make it easy to move.
- Hammer-tone stylish look.
- Front door allows for easy entry/exit.
The Frisco 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 dog 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
The Carlson Pet Products Secure and Foldable Single Door Metal Dog Crate is another strong contender. 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 Shep. 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.
Frisco Soft Sided Crate
- Soft-sided crate for outdoors.
- Great for a day at the park.
- Breathable mesh for outdoor breezes.
- Sizes for GSDs of any size.
- Three zippered doors for loading your pup.
- Great for hotels and temporary travel.
- Not recommended as a regular indoor crate.
The Frisco Soft Sided dog crate is another Frisco product 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 GSDs. 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 Frisco 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
What are the best kinds of crates for a German Shepherd?
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 big dog plenty of room.
What size should I buy for my German Shepherd?
GSDs 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.
Will a dog crate help with separation anxiety?
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.
Are dog crates safe?
Yes. As long as you keep the crate clean and comfortable, your dog will be happy and safe in their crate.
Can a dog crate be too small?
Dog crates can be too small and confine your dog. For a German Shep, you’re going to need an extra-large dog crate.
Why should you crate train your dog?
Crate training is part of house training. It can help prevent destructive behaviors and give your dog a place to call home.
Are dog crates cruel?
No. Dogs are den animals by nature. The right crate training will make your dog comfortable in his or her crate.
Our top pick for dog crates for German Shepherds is the Frisco 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 Frisco 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.