Whether you’re crate training your dog for the first time or looking to improve your dog’s quality of life, a soft kennel will meet all of those needs and more. We are going to tell you about our favorite soft sided crate options, including our top pick, the EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate. We will also give a little Soft Kennel 101 training on what factors make them worth purchasing.
How to Pick the Right Soft Kennel
One thing dog owners notice once they start looking at different soft kennels is how different some of them can be from one another. This is great since you can find a kennel that is more individualized for your pup, but what exactly are the right features to look for? In this section, we are going to discuss the factors we recommend considering before making your purchase.
Size and Height
The first place you should start is determining what size soft pet crate most appropriately fits the size of your dog. Choosing a soft crate that is too small will make your pup feel cramped and confined, while a large crate can sometimes cause anxiety in small dogs. We recommend choosing a kennel that is tall enough that your dog can stand up inside of it without dipping their head down. Your dog needs enough space to stand up, turn around, choose which size of the kennel to sleep on, and adjust themselves without having a large amount of excess wasted space. For small dogs, excessive space can lead to anxiety and for dogs in general, it can cause issues during crate training.
Durability, Construction, and Materials
Soft kennels can be made from several different types of materials. These materials can be waterproof or water-resistant, which is a plus if you’re wanting to take your kennel outdoors, like on a camping trip. The materials should be durable enough to handle a little bit of pawing from your dog, especially if they’re new to using a kennel.
Soft crates aren’t designed for dogs who are like chewing or escaping because soft kennels are more likely to suffer from tearing than hard-sided or wired kennels. Even if your dog is a destructive Houdini, a soft kennel is still great for temporary stays, such as vet visits or quick trips. Finally, you’ll want a soft kennel that is lightweight. This means you’ll want both lightweight materials and a lightweight frame. Most soft kennels are intentionally designed to be lightweight so you can easily carry it or pack it away in your car.
Soft kennels are generally constructed to be extremely lightweight. This makes them highly portable and great for travel. If portability and travel are some of the reasons you’ve got a soft crate on your shopping list, then you should definitely consider how heavy it will be. Soft crates designed for smaller dogs are often constructed so you can carry your dog using a shoulder strap while they are inside the kennel. Even if you’re not planning to use it as a travel carrier, being able to simply pick it up and relocate it without straining is a great added convenience.
Visibility and Ventilation
Visibility and ventilation generally go hand-in-hand. Soft kennels can have a number of mesh windows to allow airflow in and give your dog a peek outside. Most of these windows have a zippered flap so if your dog prefers to sit in the dark and in the quiet, you can close most of the windows while leaving a few open so your dog will still feel the fresh air. Some soft kennels have large side doors with roll-up flaps to open them entirely up. For dogs that enjoy spending time in their kennel, this is a great way to keep them comfortable and give them some extra freedom.
There a few things that can make a kennel feel like a safe haven instead of a tiny prison. Soft crates can include a soft padded bottom, which is great for older dogs or pups that spend extended periods of the day in their crate. Depending on what stage of training and life your dog is in, you may want a certain kind of pad in the kennel. Older dogs may find comfort using an orthopedic pad, while puppies may be better suited with a pad that is waterproof and easily washed.
Here is a video of a dog getting introduced to her new soft kennel for the first time.
As you can see from the video, there are a number of ways to add your own personal touch to whatever kennel you purchase, such as blankets and pillows. The door panels can normally be entirely opened as an added convenience, especially for a big pup like the one seen in the video.
Our Favorite 10 Soft Kennels for Dogs
The EliteField Soft Crate isn’t just our favorite, but the favorite of many other dog lovers! It is available in five sizes and five colors, so you have plenty of ways to make it more personalized. It is water-resistant and made with strong polyester and PVC materials. Your dog’s favorite part will be the plush fleece cushioning on the inside. There’s a top and a side zippable door, and four ventilated windows.
- Folds flat
- Reasonably priced
- Five size and color options
- Lightweight, durable, and water-resistant materials
- Four ventilated windows and two zippable doors
- Multiple storage pockets
- The kennel can only be spot cleaned and cannot be machine washed
- It does not include shoulder straps
The Noz2Noz Soft-Krate Crate is designed for indoor and outdoor use. It has a washable cover and a water-resistant base. It is constructed out of tight-weave mesh for added durability. It includes two zippable door flaps, which can be folded open and secured. The kennel can also be completely folded down and secured using buckled straps. It also features several wide windows to keep your dog cool and give them a view of the outside.
- Available in multiple sizes, with the largest size able to accommodate dogs up to 90Ibs
- Can be folded flat and secured with buckled straps
- Tight-weave mesh material
- Washable cover and water-resistant base
- Spacious design
- Windows are well ventilated and large, and can be completely unzipped
- Does not include an inner pad, though Noz2Noz has designed orthopedic pads that can be purchased separately
The Petnation Port-A-Crate is an affordable kennel with four size options. It’s lightweight, portable, and designed for travel. The smallest size can accommodate dogs up to 25Ibs and the largest size can accommodate dogs up to 70Ibs. It is constructed with durable and waterproof tight weave mesh material. It’s easy to clean, has two door panels and two small dog bone-shaped side windows.
- Multiple size options
- Made with waterproof material that is easy to clean
- Has two zippable door panels
- Dog bone-shaped windows that are functional and cute
- Outside shell made with durable tight-weave mesh material
- Can be completely folded down
- Does not include a padded floor mat, though one can be purchased separately from Petnation
- The side mesh panels are small
Don’t worry small dog lovers, there are soft crates for you too! The 2Pet Foldable Dog Crate comes in several sizes, with the largest size advertised to hold up to 50Ibs. It includes a handy shoulder strap and is designed for use as a travel carrier. It has an Oxford 600D fabric cover that can be removed and machine washed. It has a waterproof inner mat to make crate cleaning less of a headache. Finally, it has several mesh-type windows and two zippable door panels.
- Removable and washable outer cover
- Shoulder strap included and has an attached handle for carrying
- Designed for convenient travel and can be completely folded down
- Has several mesh panels and two zippable door flaps
- Food and water bottle container holder on the outside of the kennel
- Some reviewers complained that the hardware felt cheap
- A few reviewers felt that the size of the door panels was inadequate for the overall size of the kennel
These soft crates another fantastic option. It can hold dogs weighing up to 70Ibs and has a zippable door on the front, side, and top. All of the panels are made of mesh for optimal ventilation. It’s machine washable and has a waterproof base. It can be easily folded down and reassembled because of its well-designed snap frame and retractable springs. It has a handle to make carrying more convenient.
- Three zippable door panels
- All panels are designed with mesh for ventilation
- Machine washable and waterproof base
- Convenient snap frame with retractable springs
- Multiple size options
- Includes a handle for added convenience
- Does not include a shoulder strap
- Does not include an inner pad or carrying case
The AmazonBasics Soft Crates are a great value with an excellent reputation. It is available in five stylish colors and five sizes, so it can accommodate most breeds. It easily collapses down for easy storage. It includes a plush fleece-covered pet bed for comfort.
A top handle and shoulder strap are included to make carrying your dog around a breeze. It is designed with durable polyester and PVC materials and has several ventilated panels. It also has a detachable pouch that can hold small items, like treats or a leash.
- Completely folds down for portability and storage
- Includes a handle and shoulder strap
- Available in five sizes
- Five stylish color options
- Includes a plush fleece-covered inner pad
- Has several ventilated mesh panels and is made of polyester and PVC materials
- A few reviewers complained that the zippers easily broke
- A small number of reviewers advised that their puppies were able to chew out or escape, though supervision is generally recommended for any dogs new to crate training
This spacious soft kennel is a really great option for those with larger dogs. The kennel comes in several different sizes and can accommodate most breeds. It has large nylon mesh windows for plenty of ventilation. The plush bottom pad can be removed for easy cleaning and the kennel is entirely water-resistant. It can be completely folded down and has its own carrying case. It has side and rear pockets for small items and includes a water bottle pouch.
- Water-resistant construction
- Removable inner pad
- Folds up easily and into the included carrying case
- Has side and rear pockets and a pouch for holding a water bottle
- The top panel and three sides are designed with large mesh window panels that can be opened
- Includes a handle and buckle strap for carrying the kennel once it is folded down
- It also includes four ground stakes
- A few reviewers complained that the zippers broke easily
- A small number of reviewers advised that their dogs were able to tear out the mesh panels
The Pet Gear Portable Soft Crates are a great crate for those who want options. It’s available in five sizes and five colors. It has three ventilated door panels and one large side door for easy access. It includes a removable fleece pad and waterproof mat for easy and convenient cleaning. It has two small pouch compartments for holding small items. It is also made with a removable and washable cover that is constructed with durable 600D nylon.
- Cover is made of 600D nylon and can be completely removed and washed
- It has a removable fleece inner pad and a waterproof mat
- Available in five sizes and colors
- Has two small pouch compartments
- Several ventilated window panels and a large side door panel
- Can be completely folded down
- May be too expensive for some buyers
The Go Pet Club Soft Crate has all the comforts needed for a great soft sided crate. It has a removable faux-lambskin pad to keep your dog comfortable. There are three mesh windows that can be rolled up and secured. It is made of durable and water-resistant polyester and PVC materials. It includes a handle to assist with carrying and can be easily folded down for storage.
- Includes a removable faux-lambskin pad
- Three mesh windows
- Made of durable polyester and PVC and is water-resistant
- Available in five different sizes
- Includes a handle at the top to make carrying simpler and more convenient
- Can be folded down for portability and storage
- Does not include a shoulder strap
- Few reviewers complained that their dogs were able to chew through the mesh
The Petsfit Collapsible Soft Sided Crate is a great option if you’re on a budget. It comes in three sizes and can accommodate most dog breeds. There are two color options, black and gray, and it includes a removable washable pad.
The kennel has two doors that can be unzipped and completely opened. The top panel also opens, so you can easily reach into the kennel to give your dog treats, food, or toys. The entire cover can be removed and machine washed. It completely folds down and has two small handles for moving it after it is folded flat.
- Easy to fold down and secure with a buckle strap
- Removable washable bottom pad
- Lightweight frame and durable nylon material
- Cover can be removed and machine washed
- Rubber grips on the bottom to keep it secured to the floor
- Three size options and available in two colors
- The frame is exposed on the inside, so it may not be ideal for dogs who tend to chew
Soft kennels are an excellent option for dog owners who want to give their dog’s a little more when it comes to their kennel. They are a lightweight, portable, travel crate, and are often designed for indoor and outdoor use. You’ll love the ability to easily fold it and carry it with you and your dog will enjoy the ventilated window panels and airy materials.
We’ve gone over ten different soft sided crate options that we recommend, including our favorite, the EliteField Soft Sided Crate. It has all of the things you could need in a soft kennel and exceeds expectations, all at a great price.
As you begin your search for the soft sided crate that is right for you, remember to keep in mind the things that we talked about. The kennel should be an appropriate size, have plenty of ventilation, and be lightweight and portable. You’ll also want to consider soft crates designed with water-resistant materials and is easy to clean.
We are glad that we were able to help get you started with our recommendations and tips. We know that you’ll pick the one that is right for you and your dog.
Image Credit: Elf
Last update on 2019-11-05 at 12:29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API