There are three most common materials used – steel, aluminum, and wood. The steel ones are the most durable and an excellent option for the aggressive dogs. The aluminum kennels are a bit lighter but equally as durable, while the wooden ones look the best but aren’t as safe as the two previous versions. For smaller and not aggressive dogs check top soft-sided crates.
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Addendum added January 28, 2013: My vet had never noticed these carriers because I had never put one up on the exam table until my last vet visit. She looked at it with interest and totally concurred with my opinion of having a small, but open carrier for my two (panicky) cats. She has seen more than a few overheated pets in too enclosed carriers. Since I live far from the vet I always carry spare towels for the bottoms of the carriers and she found that the "stable floor covering'* I use was an additional comfort feature for my pets long trip to their appointments. (I just ordered the larger size of this carrier for my "Phat Kat" and will donate her previous carrier to our local animal shelter.)
Overview: This is an extra large dog crate with soft sides. It is usable for both indoor and outdoor use and it also is waterproof, so you can take it camping with you (it looks like something you’d take camping). There is a storage case included with purchase and it folds down into that case conveniently. The measurements are 48 x 32 x 38.5 inches and the crate itself comes in other sizes for smaller animals as well (this is their XXL). The entries are front, side, and top.
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I love the size of this crate and the tray on the bottom it's a great thing to have when a "time out" needed. However, we experienced some of the same problems as others; puppy tearing it apart because of small gage wire, welds not holding, needing to use zip-tries to hold the walls together and problems opening the door latches - this is why it received 3 stars for this review. My husband called the company and they readily fixed the issue without a hassle or argument; the company itself gets 5 stars for their customer service.
I purchased the 24.6" x 16.9" x 15" size which is good for my smaller Shiba - who is about 15 lbs. This is a good lightweight kennel for smaller dogs and makes moving your dog (when in the kennel) easy. The door swings both left hand and right hand which is very convenient - however the door does not operate as smoothly as earlier Petmate Kennels. Assembly is very fast and easy. There are no tie-down holes in this unit - which I think is a minus. Like earlier Petmate Kennels, this particular kennel size has a carrying handle at the top. Be aware that the larger sizes do not have a carrying handle - which I think is a minus. I would give this a higher rating if there were (1) tie-down holes at the four corners, (2) a handle ... full review