A versatile dog crate has many useful benefits for the dog owner. For example, a dog crate can be used to confine a pup to a particular area of your home while you’re out at work or when you head to bed at night. Also, a dog crate can be a valuable tool that you can use when housetraining a puppy.
But would a dog crate work for you if your pooch is a confirmed escape artist? And won’t a dog crate be too flimsy to contain a super-size dog? If that sounds like you, a heavy-duty dog crate could be the answer to your prayers!
In this comprehensive guide, we take a closer look at heavy-duty dog crates that are practically indestructible. And, we’ve included in-depth reviews of four of the very best heavy-duty dog crates that are currently on the market.
At a Glance: Our Favorite Heavy Duty Crates
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Escape Artist Dog Breeds
So, what breeds of dogs are most likely to try to escape from a dog crate or a harness, and why? Check out our top ten canine Houdinis to see if your pup features in the line-up!
- Labrador Retriever: The jolly, friendly Labrador retriever is a confirmed escaper! Boisterous, curious, and determined to be around people, the Lab is not averse to forcing his way out of a flimsy regular crate.
- Siberian Husky: The husky is exceptionally energetic and was bred to run – literally. That means that these sled-pulling beauties are inclined to break out of a dog crate in search of adventure.
- Boxer: The super-energetic boxer is a determined and somewhat zany character who’s a notorious escape artist. Also known as “not the sharpest tool in the box,” the boxer thinks nothing of bashing his way right out of a less-than-robust dog crate.
- Jack Russell Terrier: The Jack Russell is a spunky little dog that will go to great lengths to claw, bite, and push his way out of a crate, often in pursuit of a cat or a squirrel.
- German Shepherd: The German shepherd is a powerful, intelligent breed that is easily bored and frustrated. For that reason, the German shepherd is also known as a canine Houdini.
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier: The Staffordshire bull terrier is a muscle-bound powerhouse who is easily capable of bulldozing his way out of a standard wire or wooden dog crate.
- Cocker Spaniel: Cocker spaniels love human company. For that reason, the breed can suffer from separation anxiety and will push and shove their way out of a flimsy dog crate to go in search of their owners. If you have an anxious dog, check out these crates built for anxious pups.
- American Pitbull Terrier: The American pit bull terrier is a great bruiser of a dog that can easily escape from a standard dog crate by using pure brute force. If you have one of these mighty pups, you’ll definitely need a heavy-duty dog crate to keep your canine companion confined.
- Golden Retriever: The perennial family favorite, the golden retriever, is also prone to escaping. Goldens are highly intelligent and smart, but they also need lots of exercise, and they can suffer from separation anxiety.
- Dachshund: You might not associate the comical dachshund with escaping, but these feisty little dogs were bred to hunt, and their prey drive is still strong. Separation anxiety can also be a problem for the dachshund, and these little dogs will try to pry their way out of a regular wire dog crate to go in search of their human owners.
Who Needs An Indestructible Dog Crate?
Most dogs can be trained to sit quietly in a crate. However, some pups point blank refuse to be confined! Some dogs have the knack of finding a regular crate’s weak point. Large dogs with a significant bite force can easily chew their way out of a wire crate, and even some smaller breeds, such as terriers, are capable of ripping a cage to pieces. Giant breeds need even more care, as many crates don’t come in giant sizes. You can see a full list of crates for danes, mastiffs or other pups right here.
If you have a smart, clever dog, he can work out how to unfasten the latch on a regular dog crate. Small dogs are the usual offenders when it comes to latch manipulation as a means of escape. Also, most crate latches are designed to be easy for a human to open quickly, so they don’t offer much resistance to a determined pup.
Many powerful, unruly breeds, including bull mastiffs and American pit bull terriers, are strong and heavy enough to break through any weak points in a flimsy crate. Unfortunately, most designs of regular crates are collapsible, meaning that they don’t have solid corners.
So, regular wire crates have a whole range of weak points that can be exploited by a dog that’s determined to get out. Heavy-duty crates, on the other hand, are built with canine escape artists in mind. If you have a dog who consistently wriggles out of a regular dog crate, you’ll need to replace that with a heavy-duty one. Now, let’s consider what you should look for in a top-quality heavy duty dog crate.
A regular dog crate is perfect for the average pup. For a full list of basic crates, check out our favorites here. However, when it comes to housing dogs who are the equivalent of a canine Houdini, you’ll need a dog crate that’s more robust and escape-proof. Also, heavy-duty dog crates are what you need if you’re planning on sending your dog on a long journey. So, as well as choosing a heavy-duty dog crate that’s the right size for your dog, you’ll need to look out for the following features too.
Features To Consider
Heavy-duty dog crates are what are termed as “overbuilt.” An overbuilt crate is designed to keep the dog safely and securely inside. So, you’ll note that a heavy-duty dog crate has thicker than usual bars and is of a much more robust construction than a regular dog crate.
You’re looking for a crate that’s made with bars, rather than wire mesh, which won’t withstand the force exerted by a large, determined dog. Heavy-duty dog crates also have fewer places where a dog could take a firm grip and use sufficient force to inflict terminal damage.
The overall build of the crate is very sturdy. Steel bars will be strong enough to prevent a strong dog from bending or warping them. Seams, hinges, and joints will be robust enough to keep Fido firmly inside, no matter how hard your pup might push and shove!
Regular dog crates have latches. That’s fine for your average mutt, but a smart dog can learn how to manipulate the latch from inside the dog crate, opening the door and making a sharp exit! Heavy-duty dog crates have sturdy locks and other design features that prevent the door from being opened from the inside by even the most determined pup.
A note on safety: Never use a carabiner or padlock to secure the door on a heavy-duty dog crate. In an emergency, you’ll need to be able to access your dog quickly and without a struggle.
Most heavy-duty dog crates are fitted with wheels for easier portability. Heavy-duty dog crates are generally much heavier than regular dog crates, and a set of wheels is essential to allow you to move the crate around your home. However, if you’re planning on using your dog crate for air travel, you must make sure that the wheels are detachable, as the crate may need to be stacked. If you plan to travel by car, there are better options. If you have a smaller pup, a small carrier may be just the ticket.
Some heavy-duty dog crates are designed to fold down to make storage and transport more manageable, which is a worthwhile quality to look for if you plan on moving around with your pet.
Although a heavy-duty dog crate must be solidly built, your dog must still be able to breathe, especially if he’s in transit. A good-quality crate should have plenty of ventilation so that your pup doesn’t have to breathe stale air. Also, a dog can easily overheat if the crate is kept in a confined space on a warm day. So, look for a crate that allows for good air circulation.
A heavy-duty dog crate should be made from durable materials, preferably a metal that’s resistant to corrosion. That’s very important, as you’ll need to wash and disinfect the crate without damaging the metal.
Toileting accidents do happen, and you’ll need to be able to clean the crate easily. Look for a heavy-duty crate that has a removable tray in the bottom.
Heavy-duty dog crates usually sit at the top of the price bracket. So, if you have a puppy, it’s a good idea to buy a crate that will comfortably accommodate your pup right through to adulthood. Make sure that the crate has a removable divider too so that you can adjust the crate size accordingly as your puppy grows.
When choosing a heavy-duty dog crate, always make sure that the crate has a large door that allows your dog to enter and exit the crate without becoming caught on the door or frame. You must be able to open and close the door quickly and easily, and it must stay secure once you’ve shut it.
Heavy-duty dog crates are typically made from aluminum or high-grade steel.Aluminum has a couple of advantages over steel in that it is lighter for easier portability. Also, aluminum won’t rust or corrode.
Stainless steel is your best bet if you want a crate to use outside. However, most high-quality steel cages are powder-coated for weathering resistance. Wood is not a good material for heavy-duty dog crates, as it’s too easily chewed. Plastic tends to be too flimsy for a large crate that’s intended to take a dog that’s prone to escaping.
Positioning Your Crate
Your dog’s crate should be a safe, secure haven for your pet. Also, correctly placing the crate can help to keep your dog calm and prevent further escape attempts. So, where should you position your dog’s crate?
- Choose somewhere quiet where your dog can get away from the hustle and bustle.
- Don’t place the crate close to a window.
- Outside influences could upset your dog and trigger an escape attempt.
- Avoid places where strong sunlight will penetrate the crate, causing your dog to overheat.
- Don’t put the crate next to a heating source such as a radiator or fire.
- Your dog could easily get too hot and try to escape from the crate to seek a cooler place to sleep.
- Avoid putting the crate in an area where the ventilation is poor, such as a cellar.
- Place the crate where it will enjoy a flow of clean, fresh air so that your dog can breathe easily.
- Site the crate somewhere it will get plenty of natural light.
- That’s important for dogs that are crated for long periods.
- If you’re using the crate for housetraining your dog, position it close to you, especially at night.
- Keeping your pup nearby will help to ease the puppy’s separation anxiety.
Outsmarting Your Escape Artist
Some dogs are brilliant escape artists! Here are a few helpful tips and tricks that will keep your pup safely in his crate.
- Keep an eye on your dog: To find out how Fido is managing to escape from his crate, you’ll need to do a little investigation and observation. Most dogs wait until their owner is absent before making a break for it, so try setting up a webcam or position a security camera so that you can see what’s happening.
- Reinforce crate seams: Many dogs escape by using brute force to pry apart the crate seams. A temporary fix would be to use carabiners to keep the seams intact, but in the longer term, you’ll need to buy a heavy-duty dog crate with reinforced, welded seams if you are to be sure of thwarting your pup’s break-out attempts.
- Distract your dog with a favorite toy: Try providing your dog with a favorite toy to play with while he’s confined to his crate. Sometimes, a toy can help to distract the dog and make him forget about trying to escape. Just make sure that the toy is safe to leave with your pet while he’s unattended.
- Exercise your dog before crating him: A very effective way of dissuading a pup from trying to escape from his crate is to take him for a long walk or play games with him that will tire him out. A sleepy dog is less likely to try to escape than one who has lots of pent-up energy to get rid of.
- Change crate placements: It may be possible to distract your dog from escaping by moving the crate to a different location every now and then. For example, try putting the crate near to a window so that your dog has plenty of distractions to watch that will keep him entertained.
5 Indestructible Crates
Now that you’ve worked your way through how to outsmart your escape artist and understand the qualities of a heavy-duty crate versus a regular crate, let’s get a little more in-depth on our favorites. There are some brands that stand out against the rest due to cost, quality, durability and other features.
In this section of our in-depth guide to the best indestructible heavy-duty dog crates, we review five of the best quality products that we could find in the marketplace today. We’ve ranked these crates in no particular order, so feel free to read up, and if you feel we’ve missed something on our list, please drop us a line in the comments section.
- 20-Gauge steel with reinforced 0.5-inch diameter steel tubes and 20-gauge.
- Grated floor with tray.
- Attach casters to the bottom of the cage to allow for easily rolling the cage to other locations or leave the casters off for added stability.
- Stands up to the toughest abuse from the largest dogs with strong latches and thick steel construction.
Top of our list of the four best indestructible heavy-duty dog crates on the market is the Guardian Gear ProSelect Empire Dog Cage. The ProSelect cage has the formidable reputation of being one of the most robust and escape-proof heavy-duty dog crates you can buy. The crate will take any amount of abuse from the most powerful pup without bending, breaking, or sagging, making this dog crate an absolute must-buy for you if you have a Houdini hound.
The ProSelect comes in medium and large sizes and has removable wheels for easy portability. There’s a steel tray in the bottom of the cage that can be removed for cleaning. The cage floor is grated so that any feces or urine fall straight through into the waste collection tray beneath, keeping your dog clean and making the cage more hygienic.
We love that the ProSelect Empire dog cage is constructed using 20-guage steel, reinforced by ½-inch diameter steel tubes that make the crate virtually indestructible. All the stress points on the cage are strengthened by welds. The cage is finished with a hammertone coating to protect it from teeth, claws, and the weather. The crate has no sharp edges that could harm your dog. Cleaning the crate is made quick and easy, thanks to the removable deep steel tray in the bottom.
Note that the height measurement is taken with the wheels attached. Deduct four inches from the cage height when the casters are removed
The ProSelect Empire heavy-duty dog crate is undoubtedly one of the sturdiest and rugged cages on the market. The crate’s high-quality construction and thoughtful design make this a winner with most owners who purchased the cage.
Our favorite features include the crate’s portability and the convenient, easy-to-clean waste tray. Most importantly, most owners reported that their dogs remained confined to the cage, no matter how determined their escape attempts!
Walnest Heavy Duty
- Made of rust and corrosion-resistant steel.
- Nontoxic finished surface keep your dog healthy and render excellent anti-rust ability.
- 4 wheels for convenient portability and easy storage and 2 lockable wheels to keep your dog crate securely in place.
- Removable (slide-out) plastic tray.
- All hardware included, just need to fit it with four wheels and screw bolts, locks were pre-assembled.
- Double door design.
Our next favorite escape-proof dog crate is the Sliverylake dog crate. The crate is constructed from heavy-duty steel, making the product exceptionally strong and durable. Even the most determined escape artist will find busting out of this crate virtually impossible!
There’s a removable composite plastic tray in the bottom of the cage for quick and easy cleanup, and the cage has four wheels for easy portability around your home. You’ll need to assemble the crate yourself, but the process is simple and the instructions provided by the manufacturer are clear.
The cage is built from heavy-duty steel, making it strong and durable. All corners, seams, and potential weak points are reinforced with strong welds. The cage is designed to resist biting, pushing and clawing. The crate is equipped with a removable composite plastic tray for easy cleaning. The bottom of the crate is grated, meaning that any excrement and urine falls through into the tray beneath. The grate is removable for easy cleaning.
The crate has two doors; one on top and one at the front, making entry and exit straightforward. The locks are well-made and easy for a human to operate. A dog, on the other hand, will find these locks unpickable! This is a heavy crate, so, to make the unit easily portable and movable around your home, the manufacturer has included four sturdy wheels. The wheels can be locked to prevent the crate from shifting if the occupant gets fractious.
We love the robust, sturdy construction and loved the smart silver finish. Favorite features included the removable waste tray, and many users were impressed by the double doors that made entry and exit to and from the crate a breeze for their pet.
SMONTER Heavy Duty Dog Crate
- Heavy duty steel frame with upgrade anti-escape lock.
- Strong and durable, suitable for many big dogs.
- Can open at the top, side, or front.
- Easy to assemble.
- Rust and corrosion-resistant steel frame and plastic tray,handiness,easy to take out and cleaning.
- 48″L X 29″W X 51″H
- Dark Sliver.
The Smonter heavy-duty dog crate is built to contain the toughest canine! The crate can be accessed from the top or from the front for easy access to and for both you and your pet. You can use this durable crate outside too, as the sturdy steel is treated with anti-corrosion and rust-resistant materials.
Although the Smonter heavy-duty dog crate is made from the highest-quality materials that are comparable to that used in the construction of high-end crates, the price is much lower. So, if you buy one of these crates, you’ll get a product that’s built to last and represents excellent value for money. The double locks make it almost impossible for even the smartest pup to break out of the crate.
This crate is built from virtually indestructible heavy-duty steel. A rust-resistant, anti-corrosion coating gives the crate longevity, making it great value for money. The crate can be accessed from the top and the front. Also, there’s a small front door that gives easy access for feeding your dog. There’s a removable plastic waste tray in the bottom of the crate for convenient cleaning. The floor of the crate is grated so that any waste passes directly into the waste tray and doesn’t finish up all over your pet.
The crate features a clever door locking system that’s easy for you to operate but extremely tricky for your pup to work out. The crate has four lockable and removable wheels for easy portability and convenient storage. The double locking system that makes the crate dog-proof but user-friendly is an extremely popular feature. Also, the three-door design is a favorite among users and their canine companions.
We love the superb quality and outstanding value for money that the product provides. The self-assembly crate is simple to put together, and the manufacturer’s instructions are easy to follow. The locks are pre-loaded so you don’t need to fit them yourself.
SmithBuilt Heavy Duty Dog Crate
- Premium-grade construction.
- Convenient two-door design.
- Rolling with locking wheels.
- Rust & corrosion-resistant.
- Removable pan for easy cleaning.
The SmithBuilt Heavy Duty Dog Crate is created with premium-grade construction materials. It has a convenient two-door design, and it’s built to last. The design is secure and ensures that pets are kept safe and confined. The thicker bars on the crate ensure that dogs don’t have the opportunity to bend or chew threw the materials, which can cause injury to dogs.
This crate has a rolling feature with locking wheels, making it perfect for those individuals that plan to move their pets around the house to different locations. The coating is both rust and corrosive-resistant. It also comes equipped with a pan that’s easy to remove for cleaning just in case your pup has an accident.
We love that this crate is built to last on a budget. It’s not as expensive as some of the other crates on our list, and the construction ensures that any escape artists in your family will have a tough time getting out. If you are on a budget, this is a great pick for a reasonable cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section of our guide, we answer some of your most commonly asked questions about heavy-duty dog crates. If you don’t see the information you need, fire us an email, and we’ll do our best to help you!
Can I buy a soft heavy-duty dog crate?
A heavy-duty dog crate should ideally be constructed from solid, robust material that will keep a confirmed escape-artist confined. Therefore, soft materials are not suitable for this type of crate.
How can I stop my dog from chewing through his crate?
If you have a dog whose bite is strong enough to chew through a standard dog crate, you should replace it with a stronger, heavy-duty one. Confirmed chewers will easily chomp their way through wooden, wire, fabric, and plastic crates. So, to keep your canine confined, you’ll need to buy a crate with thick-gauge steel bars.
Are heavy-duty crates best for big dogs?
If you have a big dog breed, such as a Great Dane, mastiff, or pit bull terrier, you should consider buying an XXL crate that will be a good fit for your pet. You don’t necessarily need to buy a heavy-duty crate unless your pup is prone to finding ways to escape. However, some large, heavy pups like to rest up against the side of their crate, and that could cause the sides to sag and buckle over time. In that case, a heavy-duty cage would be your best purchase with security and longevity in mind.
Can heavy-duty crates be used in a car?
No, not really. The dimensions of the crate are not the issue here. The problem with transporting a dog in a heavy-duty crate is that these units are generally too weighty to be easily lifted into a vehicle. Note also that the weight of the crate and its occupant could affect the car’s safe handling. You would be better to purchase a regular crate specifically for use when transporting your dog in your car.
For how long can I leave my dog in a crate?
Ideally, you shouldn’t crate your dog for more than eight hours. Puppies shouldn’t be expected to wait that long before being allowed out of the crate to relieve themselves.
Indestructible heavy-duty dog crates are best for dogs who have a tendency to escape. When choosing a heavy-duty dog crate, look for one that has a robust construction, secure locks, and is easily portable. If you intend to use your dog crate for air travel, make sure that the wheels are removable to enable airport service staff to stack the crate if necessary.
If the crate is to be used outside, be sure to choose one that’s made from solid steel, which has been treated with anti-corrosion and anti-rust protection products. Position an indoor crate in a quiet location that’s free from drafts, out of direct sunlight, and not next to a heat source. Site the crate in a shady location, and don’t place it underneath trees where fallen branches could present a safety hazard for your pet.
March 17, 2021 at 1:54 am
I am looking for any suggestions. We have a pitbull. And he suffers from major separation anxiety from my son. We have had a plastic crate and he has busted it open, we bought the regular metal crate and he literally pushed it open with his head and feet, then my husband built one using 2x4’s and he ate threw it.
So now we bought an expensive “indestructible” one just like the Parpet heavy-duty empire one above and he has learned to use his teeth and jaws to squeeze the bars together. But since doing this he can now squeeze his body out of the gaps of where he has bent the bars. I am at my last straw.
We rent our home and have had to replace window and door trim and he has jumped out of two window by shoving them open with his nose. He is an amazing well behaved dog unless left alone. But with my husband and myself working and my son in school during the day he has to stay home. Please if you have any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate them!
March 17, 2021 at 10:44 pm
Hi Rita! In this circumstance, I would consider a Gunner Crate. They are crash tested and very durable. They are more for transport and can be expensive. But the crate is basically escape-proof, and its steel construction will keep more active breeds under control. You can find our reviews for that crate on our site if you search for "gunner" in the search bar. Good luck with your pup!