Looking for the best dog crate for your Labrador? We researched a number of dog crates and concluded the Ellie-Bo 42″ Crate for our UK readers.
Labrador Retrievers, more commonly known as Labradors or Labs, is a medium-large breed and the most popular dog breed in the USA, UK and Canada.
As a breed, Labradors generally have a friendly, active and outgoing temperament. They are also full of energy, needing lots of exercising.
Giving your Labrador their own space in your home can be beneficial for both you and your dog. If they have their own space, like a child has a bedroom, they have a safe, comfortable place to spend some alone time and sleep.
This article will discuss the best dog crates for Labs, why you would choose a crate, consider what size cage for Labradors works best and will cover crate training a labrador puppy (or adult).
- Best Dog Crates for Labradors
- Travel Crates for Labradors
- Why Choose a Labrador Crate
- Choosing the Right Crate for your Labrador
- Types of Labrador Crates
- What Size Crate for a Labrador?
- Car Dog Crates for Labradors
- Labrador Retriever Crate Training Tips
- General Crate Hints and Tips
Best Dog Crates for Labradors
1. 🏆 Ellie-Bo 42″ Crate
|Ellie-Bo Dog Puppy Cage XLarge 42 inch Black Folding 2 Door Crate with Non-Chew Metal Tray||Buy on Amazon|
This folding 42-inch two-door dog crate is a great choice for a Labrador. It’s foldable and can be taken down and stored away with ease.
2. Veehoo Folding Soft Dog Crate, 3-Door Pet Kennel
|veehoo Folding Soft Dog Crate, 3-Door Pet Kennel for Crate-Training Dogs, 5 x Heavy-Weight Mesh...||Buy on Amazon|
The first of our soft crate options. As with all soft crates – these are best suited to dogs who are already crate trained (and house trained).
At 40″ it’s slightly smaller than the wire crates – but it should still have plenty of room for your Labrador. The crate has three roll-up doors at the top, front and left-hand side which can be closed with a zipper. This makes ventilation superb and is very friendly for day and night usage.
The internal layer is a solid steel frame with a washable fleece pad for laying on.
3. AmazonBasics Folding Soft Dog Crate for Crate-Trained Dogs
Our second soft crate is not quite as fancy as the Veehoo however it is slightly larger and still incredibly comfortable.
Travel Crates for Labradors
In addition to the two soft crates, these are some of the best selling large dog crates available.
4. Mool Lightweight Fabric Pet Carrier Crate [UK]
|MOOL Lightweight Fabric Pet Carrier Crate with Fleece Mat and Food Bag, Black||Buy on Amazon|
Why Choose a Labrador Crate
There can be many reasons people choose a dog crate for their Labrador. Primarily they’re looking to create a den or space in their home where their dog can go and get some privacy. Sometimes this will double as the Labs sleeping space.
Crates can also be used for short term confinement, transporting a dog or on the orders from a vet (for example, when recovering from injury).
Choosing the Right Crate for your Labrador
When choosing your Lab’s crate – your end goal is to pick something spacious enough that your dog will have a friendly and safe environment to hang out and snooze in.
A dog crate is not a punishment. It should not be a place to send your puppy or adult when they’ve been naughty. Nor should it be a place they’re locked in all day. Doing this is not only unfair to your Labrador but will also result in a negative association with crates.
Obviously, for a larger breed like a Labrador or Golden Retriever, you need to make sure the crate is big enough to stretch out and you have space available in your home. We will cover sizings later in the article.
Unless your dog is already crate (and toilet) trained, you will probably want to pick a wire crate. These are generally escape-proof and very secure.
Wire dog crates are also very easy to clean, which can be important if your lab is still a puppy.
Overall, you’re looking to create a friendly, comfortable environment with a dog bed or pillows and even their favourite toy to keep them company.
Types of Labrador Crates
When searching for dog crates you will find a number of different type of crates out there. Each has a particular purpose and is designed differently as a result.
The main style of crate you will encounter is the Wire Dog Crate. Usually, these are large rectangular cages with metal or steel wire bars on all sides. Also called cages or indoor kennels, these are very robust and practically escape-proof.
Wire crates can come with either one or two doors (often at the front and side). Double-door crates are a lot easier for training and daytime use – but it’s often dependent on the amount of room in your home.
A good crate will also have double slide locks on each door – at the top and bottom of the right-hand side. This prevents your pup from putting too much pressure on the door (if it only had a lock in the middle) and escaping.
The metal from these crates is also chew-proof, which can be hugely beneficial over a softer crate.
These crates are usually collapsible, so can be folded down and stored away when needed. They also tend to come with dividers for making the crate smaller when your Lab is a puppy then expanding to full size as they grow.
If your Labrador is crate trained and you fancy something a little less cage-like – there are Fabric / Soft Crates. Made from fabric they are not only soft but lightweight. We’ve owned a few of these in the past and used them as both house and travel crates when on holiday.
Mesh is usually used for the door – which makes it very breathable but not great for a chewer.
Travel Crates are either fabric crates or are made of plastic. They are generally smaller and used for short term transport or storage. Heavy Duty Dog Crates are designed for dogs who particularly are prone to escaping and finally, Car Crates are for keeping your dog safe when in the car.
What Size Crate for a Labrador?
Before you buy a crate for your Labrador you will want to make sure you choose a cage that is not too small or too large. A small crate will be cramped and a large crate may be intimidating. Your Lab needs something they can easily get into, stand up, lie down and stretch out without feeling restricted.
Although a 36-inch crate is usually fine for a smaller Labrador, we’ve found that most adult Labradors will find a 42-inch crate to be comfortable and is our recommended size.
This will give your lab plenty of space to spread out and move around.
If you’re looking for a crate size for a labrador puppy you may be tempted to go for a smaller size. Many people do this and then buy a new one once their lab puppy outgrows it.
However, this can be problematic as you’ll need to dispose of the old one and, more importantly, your lab may have become quite attached to their den.
An alternative is to buy an adult dog crate with dividers. Dividers are designed to adjust the crate size by making it smaller at the beginning. You can then gradually extend the size of the crate up to full size once your dog is fully grown.
If you are keen to determine your labrador’s size to match it against the manufacturer’s guidelines you can do this with a tape measure. Most crate sizings are given in inches, but you may find a few in centimetres.
- Step 1: measure the height by having your Lab sit in an upright position. Measure from the ground to the top of the head
- Step 2: measure the length by having your Labrador stand. Measure from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail.
- Add 4-6 inches to your total – this gives some extra room for movement and stretching out.
Should you find that your dog’s measurements are between crate sizes – you should go for the larger of the two where possible.
When considering size, also think about the size available in your home. Not only will you need space for the crate, but also enough room for your Lab to easily get in and out of the crate.
Car Dog Crates for Labradors
If you want to go on a road trip, there’s no need to leave Fido at home. You do need to make sure you keep your dog safe though, for their own sake and to avoid breaking any laws or your car insurance clauses.
There are multiple ways to secure your dog in the car, and you can use just one of them or multiple options at the same time. In the UK, for example, the law says that dogs (pets) must not be able to disturb the driver at any point, it doesn’t specify the way you have to achieve this.
|Ellie-Bo Deluxe Sloping Puppy Cage Medium 30 inch Black Folding Dog Crate with Non-Chew Metal Tray,...||Buy on Amazon|
The most common way to respect the law is by installing a dog guard behind the front seats, or in the boot of the car. You must ensure the dog guard is the correct size and there aren’t any gaps through which your dog could get through.
Another option is a seat belt, but you have to make sure a correct harness is used with those. Your usual walking harness may not be suitable, and a simple collar is definitely not the right choice.
Keep in mind that crash testing dog harnesses have only started fairly recently and many of the tested harnesses are pretty expensive.
Car crates are also fairly common, often referred to as boxes due to some of them not being of the wire kind. Suitability of these will depend on the size of your vehicle and your dog. The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in.
While they might be the better option for large dogs, there might not be enough room in your car to accommodate a box for dogs larger than a Labrador.
If you’re thinking of using a crate in your car, be sure to complete some crate training first. If your dog is not familiar with a crate, or worse if your dog is scared of the crate, you might create more problems than you’re solving.
Wire crates in the car are perfectly fine as they will provide enough restraint and comfort for your dog but do consider an aluminium box as well. They tend to be more expensive, but they are more durable and will prevent your dog’s legs getting stuck anywhere.
Zipline harnesses allow your dog to move around while still having a seatbelt. The zipline can go around the back seats, or on the roof of the car. While technically restrained, your dog has a lot of freedom, so it’s probably best used in conjunction with a dog guard.
Items such as hammocks and booster seats (or carry boxes) and even fabric crates are really more useful to protect your car’s upholstery than to protect your dog. Hammocks are really useful, but again combine it with one of the above methods. It’s certainly unlikely to be in line with the law.
Booster seats are quite useful, and depending on which one you find, they might be just what you need for your dog. We don’t recommend them for large dogs, but for tiny and small dogs, it can offer all the support and restrain they need, provided you attach their harness to the seat or a seatbelt.
Labrador Retriever Crate Training Tips
If you want to ensure your Labrador is relaxed and ready to utilize the crate, you should do some preparation. It may appear as though it’s a truly long procedure, but with our guide, you ought to gain a great deal of ground pretty fast.
These are our Labrador crate training tips.
If your Lab is just a pup, you might find this all really easy and get through the steps quickly. It’s not a given though, be sure to keep your pup’s body language in mind and to go at their speed.
For adult Labradors things can be quite different, some will be perfectly comfortable with the training if they’ve never encountered a crate before.
Some, unfortunately, might have had a bad experience with a crate in the past or they might simply be a bit anxious in general, so you might need to repeat some steps more often or add a bit of extra time to your training goal.
The main focus of our training is to always associate the crate with something good. Do not use the crate as a punishment, as all you’ll end up with, is a damaged relationship with your dog.
We wouldn’t suggest playing or using energizing toys, as you may end up with an agitated pooch sitting frustrated in the crate when you need them to be relaxed and content.
Start by just sitting before the crate and hurling a treat inside. Your pooch will probably follow the treat inside to eat it. On the off chance that they don’t follow the treat, place the treat close to the crate but not inside it, and play some games like that until your pup shows a more relaxed state around the crate.
When your pooch is inside the crate don’t go rushing to shut them in, just let them come out in the event that they wish to do so. Keep that crate door open for quite some time still.
Keep doing this until you notice your Labrador beginning to stay inside the crate for a few seconds longer each time, hanging tight for the following treat. When they start doing this you can reward them while inside the treat, then move onto the next step.
You should move to the side of the box now, pop the treat inside the crate through the bars for your pooch to enjoy. Play around with putting the treats in such a way that might encourage them to lie down.
As strange as it might sound, lying down does encourage a more relaxed state. What you need here is your Labrador resting in the crate, doing nothing or just collecting treats from the floor.
You may need to do a touch of luring to accomplish that, which is fine, just don’t begin requesting things from your dog, or shutting the crate door right now.
At the point when your Labrador is happy to get in the crate, lie down and patiently wait for the next set of goodies you can progress to the next step of introducing movement.
From your place to the side of the crate, shuffle along an inch or two, then come back to your position and treat. Make different small movements and always treat when you retreat back to your original position. This teaches your pup that whatever you’re doing, you will be back, they’re not left alone for good.
In the event that your puppy exists the crate at any point, don’t respond to it, simply utilize the past steps to get them back in the crate and in the ideal position. No force should be included. In the event that you get frustrated or unsure what went wrong, take a break and get back to it later. Go back a step or two and try when you’re feeling more at ease with the training.
Mix up your movements to include things like getting up and possibly even leaving the room. You should end up with the ability to walk out for two or three minutes without your little guy wanting to shadow you.
It will probably require a great deal of repeating little movements to get to that stage. Make certain to change up the amount of movement, otherwise, you risk being too predictable. Predictable is bad because you can’t be sure you’ll be out of the house for the exact same amount of time whenever you head out.
At last, if your little guy is glad to remain inside the box when you leave the room, despite the fact that the crate is open, you can return to step 1 and start over, however, this time you can close the door once your pooch is inside the crate. It may appear to be monotonous, but careful practice brings about promising results.
Indeed, it is still not the time to lock the crate doors. Don’t be deflated by that, if it makes you feel better, having a dog who can stay in an open crate is far more useful than one who can stay in a locked crate.
After all, anyone can shove a dog in a crate, lock the door and pretend they’ve done something. A good pet owner will invest the time to make their dog see the crate as a safe and happy place.
You need to carefully watch your dog’s body language and be able to open the crate if they show signs of wanting to come out. This teaches them that you’re there for them and being in a crate does not mean permanent abandonment and restraint.
At long last, celebrate the little triumphs. On the off chance that your little furball makes more progress than you anticipated, compensate them with a treat bonanza inside the crate. You can also feed their suppers in the crate, which will further increase their love for the crate.
Once you’ve done all the exercises, you can repeat them with a locked crate. What you’ll find is that your pup is perfectly happy and relaxed. It will likely be a fairly quick exercise, but it’s a sort of final test to make sure their body language hasn’t changed. Some dogs can get scared of the locking sound or other noises in the process, so it’s best not to skip this, just in case.
Last but not least, treat yourself to a cuppa or a nice glass of wine!
General Crate Hints and Tips
- Make sure your dog crate is well ventilated with good airflow. However, also ensure the crate is not too drafty, right by a heater/radiator or in direct sunlight.
- Pad your crate out with blankets, cushions or a dog bed. By itself, a crate isn’t a comfy environment.
- Beware of separation anxiety when you leave the room. If your dog begins crying when you’re not around – you should consider some additional training.
- Crate covers or blankets can be used to give your dog more privacy.
We hope you find our article on the best dog crates for a labrador useful in making your choice. Remember to find a crate which is big enough for the breed and work with your Lab to make the crate a positive place to be.