12 Best Dog Carriers for Big Dogs

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I’m just going to say this right from the start: while I might have two little pipsqueaks for dogs—a shiba inu who was the runt of his litter and a tiny affenpinscher mix—I love big dogs.

I’ve been the lucky owner of a few gentle giants. First, there was Boone, a 180-pound Rhodesian ridgeback. I also fostered and then adopted a beautiful yellow Lab, Dani, who tipped the scales at an unwieldy 150 pounds. After putting her on a diet and getting her more exercise than her previous owners had, we got her down to a still-very-large 85 pounds. And I loved every over-sized pound of both of them.

Of course, having a big dog as your best pal isn’t all over-sized cuddles and snuggles; a big dog comes with its own set of challenges as well. One of the, um, largest? How the heck do you travel with a big dog if you have to crate him? You could try to be as creative as these New Yorkers endeavoring to get around subway regulations for traveling dogs. Or you could make everyone’s life easier and get a dog carrier made more large canines.

Let’s take a deeper look at the best dog carriers for big dogs in three categories: hard-sided carriers, soft carriers, and car carriers. Additionally, you can scroll past our suggested carriers for a look at some other things to keep in mind when you’re choosing a big dog carrier such as how to size it and features you might want if you’ll be utilizing your carrier for airplane travel.

Best Hard Dog Carriers for Big Dogs

Hard-sided carriers, often referred to as kennels, are the hefty carriers usually made out of molded plastic or polymers. The benefit of a hard-sided carrier over a soft dog carrier is that they tend to be sturdier and help keep your dog more protected inside, which is essential for certain types of travel such as flying.

The disadvantages of hard-sided carriers are that they tend to be heavier than some other carrier options, they don’t pack away easily, and they can be more tedious if you’re planning on moving the carrier from place to place often.

This portable kennel by SportPet comes in multiple sizes for your big, large, or extra-large dog. It’s airline approved and has a rugged design that can hold even the sneakiest dogs in while keeping them safe from dings. I especially love the wheels that make lugging it around a whole lot easier.

Features of note:

  • Removable wheels give it double duty as a travel crate or in-home kennel
  • Plenty of side ventilation to keep good airflow
  • Double dog dishes that firmly attach to wire door
  • Durable construction to withstand rambunctious dogs or traveling stress

Buy Now on Amazon for $79.99-$279.15

This dog carrier by PetMate is a top choice on Amazon for a reason. It features 360-degree ventilation, durable construction, a slew of add-on features that make it perfect for air or train travel, and eco-friendly plastics made from recycled materials. The only thing it’s missing, in my opinion, is a wheeled option to make transit easier.

Features of Note:

  • 360-degree ventilation means your dog’s airflow will stay consistent even if loaded up next to other cargo
  • Thick steel wires for windows and doors for added security
  • Clip-on bowls, “Live Animal” stickers, and ID tags included for easy travel
  • Airline approved
  • Available in 6 sizes including a 48″ size for extra big dogs

Buy Now on Amazon for $99.96-$269.99

The feature I like the most about this carrier is the 360-degree ventilation that allows airflow from top to bottom. It also has a 2-way door that allows you to open the kennel from either direction as well as extra door clips to make it almost impossible for even wily dogs to escape. The lower price point makes this a good option for thriftier-minded shoppers.

Features of note:

  • Meets most airline specifications for air travel
  • 360-degree ventilation that allows easy airflow as well as plenty of visibility for both owner and dog
  • Sliding components to make cleaning simple
  • Durable construction for added peace of mind

Buy Now on Amazon for $89.95-$137.95

The Ultra Vari kennel is built tough, with metal screws and extra rigid plastics, and eco-minded consumers will appreciate that it’s constructed with recycled plastics to make it more eco-friendly. Featuring steel windows and doors as well as 360-degree venting, this classic dog carrier is a great choice for anyone looking for a functional, simple kennel that will last for a long time.

Features of note:

  • 360-degree ventilation for continuous airflow
  • Crafted from eco-friendly recycled plastics
  • Super heavy-duty plastics, steel wires, and metal screws help ensure the integrity of the carrier
  • One-handed easy-open latch makes getting in and out of the carrier easy

Buy Now on Amazon for $94.95-$137.66

Best Soft Dog Carriers for Big Dogs

Soft dog carriers have a few advantages—and disadvantages—of their own. Compared with hard-sided carriers, soft carriers are much less unwieldy, lighter weight, and easier to move around. Many soft carriers are collapsible, making them easier to store and travel with than a hard-sided carrier.

There are also possible disadvantages of soft dog carriers that you might want to consider depending on your needs and your dog. Soft carriers don’t offer as much protection from outside forces as hard carriers, so if you’re flying or planning to pack your pooch up in the back of the car with luggage, you might want to choose a plastic or metal crate. Also, if your large dog is a chewer, the fabric design of soft carriers can make it much easier for your dog to chew through and escape.

This stylish soft-sided crate by Dogit is a great choice for dog owners who love to travel, camp, or go to dog shows. It comes with a carrying case to make it simple to stash away. Its waterproof design ensures it will stay clean and dry in rainy conditions or if your dog just has an accident.

Features of note:

  • Lightweight and durable with reinforced corners and extra-sturdy zippers and seams make it difficult for even Houdini-dogs to escape
  • Mosquito-proof mesh helps keep the critters away from your dog
  • Easy fold-up for travel and storage
  • Exterior pouches and holders offer space to stash treats, water, or food.
  • Rollup window covers to allow extra ventilation or help darken the space for a dog who needs to rest

Buy Now on Amazon for $107-$122

This folding soft pet carrier by AmazonBasics is highly rated for a reason; it might not have a lot of whistles and bells, but it offers a lot of features at a budget-minded price point. Featuring a roll away door, handle and shoulder straps for easy carrying, and 360-degree ventilation plus a window on the ceiling, this carrier could make a great home-away-from-home for your dog.

Features to note:

  • Side pocket storage for your dog’s food, treats, toys, or accessories
  • Large roll-up door to make getting in and out easy for you and your dog
  • Plush fleece bed included
  • Easily collapsible for travel or storage
  • Top handle and shoulder strap for carrying or moving

Buy Now on Amazon for $52.99-69.99

The first thing to love about this portable dog carrier from Petsfit is the sleek styling and design. Featuring multiple roll away doors, a plush fleece mat that can be replaced if needs be, three mesh sides, and easy setup and breakdown with an included carrying case, this soft carrier is a great choice for anyone looking for a breezy carrier that’s easy to see in and out of.

Features to note:

  • Rollaway giant mesh doors on three sides for easy access and superb ventilation
  • Replaceable and machine washable plush mat included
  • Easy setup and folding away make it good for travel
  • Top handle for easy moving

Buy Now on Amazon for $69.99-$79.99

Don’t let the picture fool you, this folding dog carrier from DogGoods comes in multiple sizes to fit dogs up to 47″ long. With roll-down blackout shades, an extra door on the roof of the carrier, cozy padding, and extra-durable construction with a patented steel frame, this carrier can withstand the extra stress and strain our big dogs exert on their carriers.

Features to note:

  • Steel frame, thick canvas, and reinforced corners, zippers, and seams make this an ultra-durable choice
  • Easily folds up and stows away in included carrying case for easy travel or storage
  • Roll down blackout shades for extra privacy or cozier naps
  • Waterproof and leak proof for use inside or out
  • Multiple zip away doors including on the ceiling offer extra headroom and easy access to the carrier

Buy Now on Amazon for $188.98-$249.98

Best Car Carriers for Big Dogs

Car carriers are a necessity for many dog owners. For some, a good dog carrier is a necessity to keep their dogs off of the seats if they love wet and dirty activities like swimming or hiking. For dogs who are overly anxious or suffer from car sickness, a car carrier can help give them (or you!) peace of mind. Additionally, a good car carrier can turn your trunk into a cozy, safe spot for your big dog to make room for the rest of the family up front.

Made from the thickest wire gauge available, this metal dog crate by Ultima Pro makes a great carrier option for big dogs who try to escape. Featuring both a front and side door for easy access and versatility, attachable wheels, and folding for travel and storage, this carrier/crate is simple and full of features.

Features to note:

  • Double doors for added versatility
  • Included divider panel makes it easy to section off for puppies, dogs who are crate training, or multiple dogs
  • Hefty construction and double slide door bolts keep even the strongest dogs in
  • Removable bottom for easy cleaning
  • Collapsible for easy storage

Buy Now on Amazon for $79.99-$118.99

AmazonBasics is known for making things that are simple, well made, and cheaper, and they’ve done it again with this double-door dog crate that’s a good choice for a big dog who needs a safe spot in the car. Featuring double doors in front and on the side, a reinforced handle for easy carrying, and an easy-clean plastic floor, this is my choice for anyone who wants a budget-friendly carrier that will get the job done.

Features to note:

  • Easy setup and fold-flat storage for easy travel
  • Double doors make this a versatile choice
  • Double door latches and hefty steel design means this carrier can stand up to stress
  • Comes with an adjustable divider for flexibility of use

Buy Now on Amazon for $42.99-$74.99

There’s a lot to love about this three-door soft-sided carrier by Pet Gear. First off, those three doors make this carrier both easy to access as well as super airy. It’s soft canvas design and curved corners mean it won’t do a lot of wearing and tearing inside of your trunk, and the lightweight construction makes it easy to move in and out for travel or when you just need a bit more trunk space.

Features to note:

  • Triple doors for versatility and ease of use
  • Removable waterproof mat and fleece bed help keep your interior protected and your dog comfy
  • Super compact folding allows for easy storage both in and out of your trunk
  • Strong steel tube frame for durability
  • Push button mechanism for easy collapsibility
  • Top and side storage pockets make it easy to stash away food, water, bowls, etc. for your dog

Buy Now on Amazon for $109.99-$180.10

This versatile and collapsible dog carrier from A4Pet makes a great choice for dog owners looking for car-friendly options. With a waterproof bottom that will protect your vehicle from spills or accidents, two easy-access doors, one in front and one on top, and rounded corners to prevent scratches or dings inside your trunk or vehicle, this carrier makes car travel easy.

Features to note:

  • Rounded corners help fit inside of narrower trunks and help prevent wear and tear on your vehicle
  • Waterproof bottom keeps any spills or accidents away from your car’s interior
  • Easy access front and top doors offer both ventilation and versatility
  • Top handles allow for easy tie-down to keep carrier secure
  • Collapsibility offers easier portability for dog owners looking for a dual-purpose carrier

Buy Now on Amazon for $71.99

More Tips on Dog Carriers for Big Dogs

First of all, it’s important to make certain that you’re properly sizing your crate so that your big dog has enough room to feel comfortable inside. You’ll want to measure your dog for height from the top of his head down to the floor to make certain that he’ll have plenty of room for standing up. Measure length from the tip of the nose to his rump or tip of tail depending on if its tucked or not.

To choose the correct size carrier, look for at least an inch or two of clearance for height and four or more inches of additional length. The crate should be wide enough that your dog can turn around and reposition himself inside. Width isn’t generally an issue, but if you have a particularly hefty dog, you’ll want to pay attention.

If you’ll be using your carrier for traveling on a plane, it’s important to check and make certain that it meets the specifications of the airline. You’ll also want to be sure that there’s plenty of ventilation to make certain your dog has good airflow when he’s checked beneath the plane. You might also want to choose a carrier with wheels to make transporting it to, through, and from the airport a bit easier.

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