The evolution of the dog crate is proof of how we view our sporting dogs these days versus just a couple of decades ago. Today's kennels are almost universally built to nearly bomb-proof standards, and while most are clearly crafted with an eye toward safety, they are also built for comfort.
This is because our hunting dogs are far more than just pointers, flushers and retrievers; they are a part of the family. This means that while they are at home or on the road with us, they deserve proper care and treatment. Fortunately, there are plenty of companies with the same view, and they have churned out some killer products for 2018.
Gunner Kennels G1 Medium
The problem with a lot of the available crates out there is that they are simply too big for many of the upland breeds. The minds behind Gunner Kennels clearly noticed this and decided to do something about it because they've released their new G1 Medium. This nearly indestructible kennel is designed to fit dogs that weigh up to about 45 pounds. It's also backed by a lifetime warranty, made right here in the USA, and boasts a Five-Star Crash Test Rating. If you're running a springer or a Brittany or an English setter or any of the other mid-sized upland hunting breeds out there, this is the crate for you.
$430 | gunnerkennels.com
Avery Quick-Set Fabric Kennel
The problem with a lot of kennels is they are anything but portable. This is not the case with ASD's Quick-Set Fabric Kennel. This collapsible kennel is built on a lightweight aluminum frame that folds up easily for storage and transport. Four sizes of the Quick-Set are offered, as are a couple of camouflage choices, and you can rest assured that this over-the-road must-have will fit in your vehicle no matter whether you drive a truck, SUV, or even a car.
$70-$120 | averyoutdoors.com
Custom Molding Easy Loader
Custom Molding Services is no stranger to producing high-quality dog products and it's pretty hard to beat their Easy Loader. This double dog kennel will fit all standard pickups and large SUVs, and is designed with high-density polyethylene, meaning it is nearly bombproof. To further ensure that you'll get years and years of usage out of your Easy Loader, each is created with an Ultra Violet Stabilizer, which keeps the kennel from breaking down or cracking.
$289 (per kennel) | easyloaderkennels.com
Canine Cargo Carrier Honeycomb
Crates are a necessity, but they are also usually bulky and not all that accommodating when it comes to saving space. The Honeycomb Dog Boxes allow you to stack quite a few before running into space issues, but the best combo for most sporting dog owners might be a three-box pod, which will fit in-between the wheel wells of most pickups. This also allows for storage underneath the middle box.
$595 (3-dog pod) | getmypointllc.com
Ruff Tough Intermediate SUV
I spend my fall in a full-sized pickup, but a good bird-hunting buddy of mine drives an SUV. I'm always amazed at the difference in how we have to pack and crate our dogs when he drives on a trip versus when I do. Fortunately for him and other SUV fans, there are crate options out their like the latest from Ruff Tough. Their intermediate SUV kennel measures 31" long and 20" wide (23" tall), weighs only 18 pounds, and is designed with a top back edge cut-out in order to fit most SUVs and crossovers.
$191 | rufftoughkennels.com
Dakota283 Framed Dog Kennel
To ensure the Framed Dog Kennel will survive loads of abuse, it is molded from one solid piece and outfitted with a keyed paddle latching door. It is also designed with an easy-grip handle, easy-to-clean drain hold, and recesses in case you need to stack crates. Three sizes — medium, large and x-large — are offered to accommodate dogs of all sizes, and you can choose between five different crate colors that include granite, desert sand, olive, orange and coyote tan.
$349 (start) | dakota283.com
NorthStar 901E Dog Boxes
NorthStar produces a lot of really cool dog transport options, but one of the best for the upland crowd has to be the 901E, which is constructed of durable high-density polyethylene plastic. These extremely rugged dog boxes are much cooler in summer and warmer in the winter than metal boxes, are very easy to load and unload, and provide a dry, comfortable environment throughout transportation. They also feature fully removable floor panels, drip trays, and a center divider for easy cleaning and customization.
$629 (start) | northstarplasticsinc.com
K-9 Kondo Chew-Proof Dog Door
The Igloo Dog House is a popular option for housing dogs and K-9 Kondo has figured out a way to make it even better by creating their Chew-Proof Dog Door. This add-on features a six-inch rain shield, a heavy-duty design, and is made-in-the-USA. K-9 Kondo also offers up Dog Den kennels (starting at $340), which are built-to-last and decked out with insulating foam that is built into the ceiling and floor. Choose from two sizes of the Dog Den to house sporting dogs weighing up to 110 pounds.
$95 (door) | k-9kondo.com
If you have an outdoor kennel or a few dog runs, or just need a place to keep your dog high and dry then check out Kennel Deck, which is molded from high-density plastic resins. This, along with its unique design, allows it circulate air, drain easily, and provide warmth to your dog. It also sports a non-skid surface and will not absorb odors. I bought a section (2'x4'x2") for our trailer at the lake to use under the outdoor shower to hose off my Lab and my kids, and it's perfect for the job. Each section weighs only 8.5 pounds and can hold up to 1000 pounds.
$37 | kenneldeck.com
Mason Company Chain Link Runs
Not everyone lets their bird dog sleep in the bed with them at night. Some folks still prefer a quality dog run, like those offered by Mason Company. Their unique offerings allow you to truly customize an individual run, or connect multiple runs. Choose from four different diamond opening mesh sizes as well as three wire gauges, which are designed to be smooth to the touch and not covered in sharp edges or burs. If chain-link runs aren't your thing, don't fret. Mason Company offers a ton of different indoor and outdoor kennel options.
$TBD | masonco.com
Redwing Hound Haulers
Perhaps you've got a bird dog that needs to visit a trainer four states away but really don't want to make the trip yourself? Give Redwing Hound Haulers a call. For over two decades they've been safely transporting dogs of all varieties across the country in a clean and climate-controlled truck. Redwing provides food and bedding, and will transport pups as well, meaning that if you should find that English setter litter with the right pedigree but it happens to be 500 miles away, they'll deliver it to your doorstep.
$400 (start) | redwinghoundhaulers.com
Jones Trailer Company WJ
If you're lucky enough to spend the first part of your fall hunting roosters in the Dakotas and the second part deep in quail country, you might want to consider a WJ Model trailer from Jones Trailer Company — especially if you're running a few dogs. This high-quality trailer is decked out with a litany of features like full insulation, an exhaust fan, adjustable louver door vents, dog tie out loops, and a raised top storage area among many, many others. Choose from four-, six- or eight-stall models and a host of custom options.
$4,315 (start) | jonestrailers.com