Spaniel in a soft dog crate

The 7 Best Soft Dog Crates Australia: Tested & Evaluated 2024

Written By Vedrana Nikolic | Canine Coach, B.A Ethnology & Anthropology, M.A Semiotics.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | Double B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 8th January 2024

Looking for a dog crate you can easily fold down for storage or take with you wherever you go? Then a soft dog crate is for you. Some pet parents also prefer a soft crate over the traditional hard-sided crate for their canine companions.

Today’s Soft Dog Crate Australia guide will help you find the perfect chill place for your dog. How did we determine the best of the best? We teamed up with local veterinarians and dog behaviour specialists to test dozens and dozens of the most popular soft dog crates Australia offers. After months of testing and plenty of debate, we finally agreed on this comprehensive list. Curious to see our top contenders? Then let's get to it!


Quick Picks - The Top 3

i.Pet Soft Pet Carrier XL

Our Number 1 Pick - 
i.Pet Soft Pet Carrier XL

  • Easy setup
  • Folds down flat
  • Multiple access points
  • Strong frame
  • Removable and washable cover + mat

Bono Fido Portable Pet Home

Runner Up - 
Bono Fido Portable Pet Home

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

AUSWY Portable Soft Dog Crate

Third Choice - 
AUSWY Portable Soft Dog Crate

  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Spacious interior
  • Comes with a soft fleece pad for the floor
  • Good ventilation


Australia's Best Soft Crates For Dogs 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. These are the soft dog crates that withstood months of testing from our panel of independent experts, including their canine companions of every shape and size.  

#1: Best Overall: i.Pet Soft Pet Carrier XL

i.Pet Soft Pet Carrier XL

What sets this product apart from the rest?

  • Easy setup
  • Folds down flat
  • Multiple access points
  • Strong frame
  • Removable and washable cover + mat
Dr. Kathryn Rosalie Dench

Dr Kathryn Rosalie Dench - M.A VetMB MRCVS.

Gentle Dog Trainers Expert Reviewer

"There's not too many differences in the soft crates that we tested. I'm happy with the i.Pet Soft Pet Carrier being listed as the best. It's functional, affordable and has multiple access points meaning our pups won't be getting too claustrophobic."

The i.Pet Pet Carrier is one of the nicest-looking pet carriers we’ve seen so far. But it doesn’t just look cute and stylish, it’s also very convenient and easy to use.

This foldable pet carrier folds down completely flat for storage, but it’s also super easy to set up when you need it. I simply put the sturdy metal frame together, connected it to the cover, and there you go! In seconds, I had an amazing soft carrier ready for my pupper to explore. This sets it well above other options on our list that are more difficult to assemble, like our third choice.

This portable crate has mesh windows on all sides thus ensuring your canine companion gets enough air at all times. There is a zippered front door for going inside and out, but if that doesn’t work great, you can also open the roof of the carrier and simply place your pet in from above.

The carrier also comes with a removable fluffy mat for the floor. Two long nylon webbing straps allow you to carry the crate just like a duffle bag. Overall, our entire team of researchers agreed that it’s very functional while also being comfy for your pet.

The fabric cover is made from 600D Oxford cloth. This type of fabric is very dense which makes it water-resistant and able to withstand continuous wear and tear. As a plus, you can also completely remove the cover and wash it in the washing machine if it gets dirty.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy setup
  • Not all windows have shades
  • Folds down flat
  • Multiple access points
Cell
  • Strong frame
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  • Removable and washable cover + mat
Cell

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 be. 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.

Like our first option, there is a zippered door at the front for the dog to come in and out of the crate. On the backside, I loved how 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 easily regulate the airflow.

On the top of the crate, there is also a handle for moving it with the dog inside.

The Bono Fido Portable Pet Home being tested by our independent expert team.

Bono Fido Portable Pet Home being tested by our review team.

Overall, our team of experts think this is a great pet crate for travelling, dog shows, 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.

Pros

Cons

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

  • Folds flat when not in use
  • Spacious interior
  • Good ventilation
  • Multiple entry points

This soft crate from Amazon Basics is a basic - but pretty good - option. This bare-bones crate doesn’t have any fancy features, but it offers exactly what you need: a functional and comfortable soft crate.

The walls of the crate are made with Oxford fabric and they feature mesh windows on 3 sides and a mesh door on the front. So far, this sounds pretty similar to our first two options. However, the door can be opened and closed with a zipper, but the windows, unfortunately, don't have any zippers. Still, the mesh fabric lets the air freely circulate, so you can rest assured your pooch is not suffocating in there. The crate can also be opened from the top.

In addition, a cute storage bag is included which attaches to the top of the crate. When not in use, this crate can be folded down flat - really great for storage. Overall, this is a good, reasonably priced option. Every participant on our research panel appreciated that its available in various sizes as well as 5 different colours. 

Pros

Cons

  • Folds flat when not in use
  • Putting it together is a bit fiddly
  • Spacious interior
Cell
  • Good ventilation
Cell
  • Multiple entry points
Cell

  • Suitable for car travel
  • Pull-down shade for doors
  • Easy popup assembly
  • Convenient storage
  • Machine -washable removable pad

This pop-up crate by SportPet Designs is a great budget pick for trips with your furry friend.

Like our number one soft crafte choice, this one comes in one size only. When expanded, it has dimensions of 80 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm. This makes the crate suitable for small and medium dog breeds.

When not in use, this soft dog crate can be folded down into a compact round shape and stored inside a draw-string bag. That way, it takes up practically no space, so you can store it in your car for future use.

The SportPet Designs Large Pop Open Kennel being tested by our independent expert team.

SportPet Designs Large Pop Open Kennel being tested by our review team.

Next, we'll share the features that our panel of experts loved most when testing out this crate. One side of the crate features two loops around the bottom edges, which allow you to pass the seatbelt through and secure it in place during driving. The crate has front and side zip doors, both covered in mesh to ensure there’s enough airflow inside. Each door has a pull-down shade, which comes in handy for nervous pooches or during sleepy time.

Another thing we really appreciate about this soft crate is the removable bottom pad. The top side of the pad is covered with soft fleece, while the bottom is 100% waterproof so it protects the floor or your car seat from leaks. It's a nice feature that sets it apart from the other crates here.

Pros

Cons

  • Suitable for car travel
  • Not as durable as other picks on the list
  • Pull-down shade for doors
  • Only one size available
  • Easy popup assembly
Cell
  • Convenient storage
Cell
  • Machine -washable removable pad
Cell

#5: Best for Small Dogs: Kurgo Wander Pet Carrier

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

This pet carrier from Kurgo is one of the most well-made soft carriers we have seen, but it’s only made in a small size and 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 pup stick their head out when you are going somewhere.

I liked how the the carrier's interior is shaped almost like a crate, so it become a comfortable space for my dog to rest when needed. In addition to this, this carrier is also great for car travel. Like our number four choice, 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
Cell
  • Quality hardware
Cell

SONGMICS Lightweight Fabric Pet Carrier Crate being tested by our review team.
  • Sturdy design
  • Moisture-wicking bottom mat
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Features a pocket and a pouch for storage

For large dog owners, searching for a soft crate is twice as hard. Not only do they need to find a model that’s big enough to fit their pooch, it also needs to be sturdy enough to handle the weight of the dog.

This soft crate by Songmics features a strong frame covered with thick Oxford cloth. The design is actually pretty impressive. Each side is covered with mesh windows/doors, so the crate is breathable from any direction. Each of those openings also has a screen flap to keep the light out when needed.

The SONGMICS Lightweight Fabric Pet Carrier Crate being tested by our independent expert team.

SONGMICS Lightweight Fabric Pet Carrier Crate being tested by our review team.

Regarding the size, the biggest version of this crate measures 81 cm x 58 cm x 58 cm. Not huge, but quite roomy.

For additional comfort, the bottom is covered with a Berber fleece mat which has a soft, fur-like texture. But what’s amazing about Berber fleece is that it wicks moisture and has the excellent insulating ability, so it will keep your pooch comfortable while inside. The mat is removable and machine-washable, so caring for it is a piece of cake.

Finally, the top zip pocket on top is a great final touch. It allows you to easily store your dog's travel essentials, like poop bags and snacks. Like our number four option, there is also an additional storage pouch on one side which can be removed as needed. 

Pros

Cons

  • Sturdy design
  • The floor mat might slide around
  • Moisture-wicking bottom mat
  • Not suitable for very big dogs
  • Excellent ventilation
Cell
  • Features a pocket and a pouch for storage
Cell

#7: Best Portable Kennel: Zampa Portable Foldable Pet 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 handy 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.

The Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Kennel being tested by our independent expert team.

Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Kennel being tested by our review team.

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, as some of researchers noted. 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.

Pros

Cons

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

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, our team of independent experts want you to know that soft-sided crates are still perfect for providing a safe space for your dog on-the-go.


How to Choose a Soft 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. By answering the questions below, our panel of experts say that you can 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 only stay in one place, 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 (we've got you covered and have included one in our list). 

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. When dogs are used to being in a crate, the chewing issue usually disappears. I was happy to learn this firsthand with my rambunctious pup!

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 then 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 a blanket or sheet, but it is something to keep in mind when shopping for crates.


Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a portable soft crate that’s also aesthetically pleasing, then our independent panel of experts agree that 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, we also like that 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”. March 27, 2023. PetMD. Retrieved April 16, 2023. 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 April 16, 2023. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/why-and-how-should-i-crate-train-my-dog/

Vedrana Nikolic


Vedrana Nikolić is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach, Professional Writer, Anthropologist & dog lover.

With a Masters Degree in Semiotics & Bachelors Degree in Anthropology, 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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