Spaniel in a soft dog crate

The Best Soft Dog Crates Australia - An Overview

Our #1 Pick

The Best Value for Money

Bono Fido Portable Pet Home

  • Easy to set up and fold down
  • Strong but lightweight
  • Good ventilation
  • Padded floor for comfort

Looking for a dog crate you can easily fold down and store or take with you wherever you go? Or maybe you just prefer a soft crate for your canine companion?

Today’s Soft Dog Crate Australia guide will help you find the perfect chill place for your dog.


Benefits of Portable Dog Crates

“A crate is a valuable tool for house training and management. Teaching a puppy to be comfortable and relaxed in a crate should be done as early as possible. A dog’s crate can be a place for him to get away from the complex human world” - Authors of Canine and Feline Behavior (1).

All experts in dog behaviour agree on this: crates can be really good for dogs when used appropriately. That means that a crate does not have to be a prison; or a space for a time-out when your canine companion does something bad.

“When crate training is done properly, most dogs enjoy spending time in them and actually view the crate as their own special place. The most important thing is to make the crate a pleasant experience from day one.” - Kelly Armour, a certified trainer and behaviour analysis specialist for PetMD

 And when dogs get used to being able to spend time in the crate, when they want to, they also start expecting this safe place to be there, no matter what. If you travel often with your dog, or just go on extended outings, it’s only logical to have a crate to take with you. However, bulky metal or wooden crates are simply not practical for this. Although somewhat less sturdy, soft-sided crates are perfect for providing a safe space for your dog on-the-go.


How to Choose a Soft-Sided Dog Crate

Soft-sided dog crates and carriers are very practical, but it’s important to choose one that is well-made. Especially if you expect the crate to last. Answering the questions below can help you find the perfect crate for your canine companion.

How big is your dog?

In general, soft-sided dog crates work better for smaller dogs. If your dog is not very heavy, you’ll be able to find a soft-sided crate that also works as a carrier. If this is the case, and you plan to take the dog with you sometimes while inside the crate/carrier, make sure to check the weight limit. If the crate is going to stay in place only, then your only concern is the size. Larger crates that are soft-sided are more difficult to find, but there are a couple of options available (you’ll find them on the list below).

Is your canine companion crate-trained already?

Dogs that are not crate trained tend to try to chew their way out sometimes. Some dogs (especially while puppies) are simply chewers and will destroy anything around them if not thought otherwise. When dogs are used to being in a crate, the chewing issue usually disappears. However, if it is your first time trying a crate with your dog, you might want to be careful with soft-sided options. No matter how well-made they are, these cannot withstand chewing attacks.

Indoors or outdoors?

Do you plan to use your new crate only indoors, or also outdoors? This is important to decide because some soft crates work very well outdoors, while others don’t. For example, you’ll want the crate to have a solid, water-resistant roof, sides, and floor if you plan to use it outside from time to time. If you only plan for indoor use this is not that much of an issue.

Ventilation and Light

Last but not least, any dog crate needs to be properly ventilated. In most soft dog crates, the airflow is regulated by opening windows which are protected with mesh to prevent the dog from jumping out. Make sure there are enough of these openings, especially if you want to use the crate in warm weather.

Moreover, while lots of windows and openings are good for the airflow, they also let in significant amounts of light. For some dogs this is fine, but some canines can benefit from having a dark space to sleep (especially if they are anxious). Of course, it is always possible to shut out the light by covering the crate with something, but it is something to keep in mind when shopping for crates.


Best Soft Crates For Dogs 2021 Reviewed

When buying a soft crate, it’s especially important to get a quality product that is well made. Below, you’ll find some great options, for small canines as well as those on the larger side.

#1: Best Overall: Bono Fido Portable Pet Home

What sets this product apart from the rest?

  • Easy to set up and fold down
  • Strong but lightweight
  • Good ventilation
  • Padded floor for comfort

Portable soft dog crates that are strong and durable can be difficult to find, but the Bono Fido Portable Pet Home is the perfect example of how they should like. This portable carrier can be set up and folded down in a matter of seconds, and it even comes with its own canvas bag for carrying the crate around folded when not in use.

Once you open this pet home, you’ll notice that it’s very spacious and comfortable. No features were sacrificed to achieve portability. The floor is padded to increase comfort, the walls are made of a durable fabric and the frame is quite strong. There is a zippered door at the front for the dog to come in and out of the crate. On the backside, there is a cute pocket to store small dog-related items. There are also two large windows on both sides. The windows are, of course, covered with mesh fabric to prevent the dog from jumping out. The windows can be opened and closed using zippered flaps on the outside. By opening and closing the windows, you can also regulate the airflow. On the top of the crate, there is also a handle for moving it with the dog inside.

Overall, this is a great pet crate for travelling, dog show, and similar occasions. It is as comfortable as any other crate and it works both as a movable pet home and as a pet carrier. The only sad thing about it is that it only works for smaller dogs (which is usually the case with soft-sided crates). This portable pet home comes in 3 sizes - the largest one being 77 cm long. This will be enough, approximately, for dogs who weigh less than 20 kg.

Verified Review - 4/01/2019
Great Buy
"Great purchase easy and light to carry and clean. Stores away well also, great for holidays."

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to set up and fold down
  • Only for small dogs
  • Strong but lightweight
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  • Good ventilation
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  • Padded floor for comfort
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  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Spacious interior
  • Comes with a soft fleece pad for the floor
  • Good ventilation

This crate from AUSWY is another great product for those who need a portable home for their dog. The sturdy steel frame, the lightweight but durable fabric, and the functional design make it a great choice for anyone who is often on the move with their dog.

This soft crate folds down completely when you need to carry it with you, but it quickly turns into a spacious home for your dog. The crate is over 120cms long and almost 80cms wide. This means it offers enough space even for (somewhat) larger dogs to spread out.

This crate succeeds at being strong even though the walls are made of fabric. This is possible thanks to the tough frame made of powder-coated steel. The fabric the walls are made of, in turn, is tightly woven polyester which is water-resistant as well as lightweight. Thanks to the water-resistant exterior, this crate is suitable for being used outdoors too.

Another thing we liked about this crate is that it has windows on all sides. The window openings are protected with mesh everywhere, and you can close each of them with external flaps. This allows you to regulate the airflow perfectly. You can open everything to create an airy space for your dog when the weather is warm or close the windows when it’s cold outside or you just want to calm down your canine companion. Finally, this crate also comes with a pad for the floor. This reversible pad is made with warm, fluffy fleece on one side and water-resistant polyester on the other.

Pros

Cons

  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Not suitable for carrying with the dog inside
  • Spacious interior
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  • Comes with a soft fleece pad for the floor
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  • Good ventilation
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  • Affordable
  • Water-resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Lightweight

This travel carrier from PPOGOO is a quick solution if you have a small dog (only up to 10kg!) and don’t want to invest too much in a portable crate. This is technically not a crate, but a pet carrier, but for small dogs, it can work just as well as a comfortable place for sleeping.

This carrier is shaped somewhat like a gym bag. It has a sturdy, thick bottom and walls made of polyester. The carrier features mesh windows on all sides, as well as on top, so you can rest assured your canine companion will get enough air in there.

On the top of the carrier, you’ll find cute handles for carrying. The front of the carrier opens up completely when needed. This way, you create an entrance through which your dog can walk comfortably.

Truth be told, this is not the most durable carrier you can find. The hardware is not the toughest and could use a little upgrade. However, it is a good deal for the price. This is also a great choice for puppies, who will overgrow this crate/carrier anyways.

Pros

Cons

  • Affordable
  • Not the most durable
  • Water-resistant
  • Only for small dogs
  • Easy to clean
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  • Lightweight
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#4: Best for Small Dogs: Kurgo Wander Pet Carrier

  • Easy to use
  • Great for taking your pup everywhere with you
  • Multiple entry points
  • Quality hardware

This ped carrier from Kurgo is one of the most well-made soft carriers we have seen, but it’s only made in a small size. It only supports dogs weighing up to 8 kg.

That being said, if your dog is small, you will enjoy using this carrier. The Kurgo Wander can work both as a carrier and a portable crate. There are shoulder straps that let you take your pooch with you anywhere. There are zippered entry points both at the front and at the top, so you can also let your pooch stick their head out when you are going somewhere.

The inside space of this carrier is shaped almost like a crate, so it can become a comfortable space for your dog to rest when needed. In addition to this, this carrier is also great for car travel. There are special loops on the exterior that let you attach the carrier to your seat belt, thus adding a layer of security when driving with your canine companion.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to use
  • Only available for tiny dogs
  • Great for taking your pup everywhere with you
  • No soft padding on the floor
  • Multiple entry points
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  • Quality hardware
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#5: Best for Large Dogs: Bono Fido Soft Kennel

  • Flexible design with multiple entry points
  • Soft fleece floor mat included
  • Good airflow control
  • Durable

The Bono Fido Soft Kennel is soft-sided but robust and stable just like any other crate. This kennel is made with a strong frame covered in a thick fabric that makes it look like a tent. The crate includes everything your dog needs for a comfortable night, including large windows that can be opened or closed as needed and a soft fleece pad for the floor.

What we really love is how this square soft-sided crate was designed. There are large windows/doors on 3 sides of the crate. The window is covered, first, with a strong mesh material, and then with another flap to close it. Each of these layers closes with a quality zipper. The system creates a lot of flexibility, as you can create the entrance for your dog on either side, depending on the occasion. It is also possible to open up the top for easier access.

Finally, this crate was built to last, despite being soft-sided. It can also be used indoors and outdoors. The bottom features rubber pads to prevent slipping, and all the corners are reinforced with additional thick fabric.

Overall, this is a great crate that can work well both at home and when you are travelling. When you need to move, the crate folds down easily, but it looks very nice when all set up so you might as well end up using it all the time. Those looking for an extra large dog crate will also be happy to know that this one from Bono Fido does come in bigger sizes.

Verified Review - 4/06/2020
One Of The Best Purchases We Made For Our Pup!
"Despite being soft-sided, this crate is robust and resilient. Our intense and rough German Shepherd pup has used a Bono Fido crate from 8 weeks old, and it has withstood it all. Easy set-up, easy to move around, strong and durable. Easy to clean too. One of the best items we bought for this pup. We now have the Large and the XLarge as he is growing out of the Large, and he happily uses both. We use it for short term day crating and all night crating. Will also use it for travel in the future."

Pros

Cons

  • Flexible design with multiple entry points
  • Not chew-proof
  • Soft fleece floor mat included
  • A bit expensive
  • Good airflow control
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  • Durable
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#6: Best Portable Kennel: Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Kennel

  • Easy to fold down and set up
  • Lightweight
  • Quality stitching for durability
  • Lots of space inside

This foldable playpen from Zampa works just like a pop-up tent. No special assembly required. Simply take out the “tent” from its cute carry bag, spread it out, and there is the playpen for your pup!

This particular product is called a playpen because it is shaped differently from most dog crates. Namely, it has an octagonal shape. The enclosure consists of 8 panels that are connected. The walls and the floor are made of water-resistant polyester. There are mesh windows on all sides as well as storage pockets on the outside.

To be honest, this collapsible soft dog crate will not work for every dog, but for some canines, it’s the best possible option. First of all, this is not a crate for heavy chewers. Truth be told, it is quite easy to chew through if the dog is dedicated to escaping. However, the spacious octagonal design creates a perfect space for a small to medium dog to stretch out inside - and many of them love this. There will be enough space inside to add a sleeping mat, a bowl with water, and some toys.

And, of course, when you need to go travelling, this crate comes with you easily. Just fold it down (a bit tricky, but once you figure it out it takes literally 30 seconds) and put it in its own carry bag with handles.

Verified Review - 1/04/2021
Easy To Store
"I love hoe this folds down flat for storage. It's not the sturdiest thing ever, but it will do perfectly for an indoor brooder for the first two weeks of chicks."

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to fold down and set up
  • A bit difficult to fold down neatly
  • Lightweight
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  • Quality stitching for durability
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  • Lots of space inside
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Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a portable soft crate, that’s also aesthetically pleasing, the Bono Fido Portable Pet Home is a great choice. It’s durable, cleverly designed, and comfortable - it simply checks all the boxes.

On the other hand, the AUSWY Portable Soft Dog Crate features a similar design but comes in slightly larger sizes.

FAQ

How big should a dog crate be?

The universal advice is: the crate should be big enough for your dog to stand up, lie down, turn around, and stretch (3). But how big is that exactly? The best thing you can do is measure your dog while standing up. Measure the height from the floor to the top of the head, the length from nose to tail and the width at the widest point of your dog's body. This should give you an idea about the size you should look for, but make sure that the crate is a couple of inches larger than your measurements, to ensure your pup will feel comfortable in there.

Do dogs need crates?

Well, dogs don’t necessarily need crates, but cate-training your dog actually comes with benefits to you and your dog. Crate-training helps with teaching your dog to be well-behaved, it creates a safe space for your dog, and it can help with transporting your dog from one place to another.

Are crates cruel to dogs?

As we mentioned above, crates can bring benefits to dogs, mainly by giving them their own space where they can feel safe. Crates are not cruel if used appropriately. What is cruel, however, is locking a dog inside a crate for long periods of time.

How can I start crate-training my dog?

The most important thing with crate-training (and most other things) is to not force anything. Use positive reinforcement and give your dog time to get used to the crate. In the beginning, you can encourage the dog to go inside the crate by placing a treat or their favourite toy inside. Once the dog is used to being inside, you can try feeding your dog inside the crate and closing the door for short periods of time.

References
  1. Martin D, Campbell L, Ritchie M. 2017. “Problem Prevention”. In: Martin, D., Shaw, J., Eds. Canine and Feline Behavior for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.: Chichester; pp. 145-203
  2. “How to Make Your Dog’s Crate Feel Like Home”. September 24, 2018. PetMD. Retrieved January 25, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/how-make-your-dogs-crate-feel-home
  3. “Why and how should I crate train my dog?”. RSPCA. Retrieved January 24, 2021.https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/why-and-how-should-i-crate-train-my-dog/#ftn1
Vedrana Nikolic

Vedrana Nikolić is a professional writer, anthropologist & dog lover with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. Currently pursuing a Masters degree in Semiotics studying the communication between animals and humans. Vedrana is able to use her expertise to analyse and review dog products and write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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