A mid-cost solution to premium built bird dog kennels and crates from Dakota 283
We’ve all heard the horror stories lately — where the truck rolled over in bad weather, and the kennel door opened, letting the dog run free on the interstate — the severe rear-ending in traffic when two dog crates were in the back of an SUV — the time my rambunctious puppy knocked himself, while he was inside the crate, off the tailgate when I was unloading the truck at grouse camp. I’d venture to guess that one of the perils of traveling with bird dogs has bit us all at some point or another. Luckily, my pup was okay, but luck like that isn’t always the case.
As I grew up as a struggling do-it-yourselfer, I didn’t have a lot of money for the expensive, Yeti-like bird dog kennels that are available today. I did what I had to do, and pressed my luck with the flimsy, thin-walled plastic kennels with the low-rate, wire-metal doors. They kept my bird dogs contained. But while on a hunting trip, I just had to pray we didn’t get in an accident.
As I grew older, and hopefully wiser, I knew I had to graduate to a better-quality travel kennel — call it bird dog insurance, if you will. Spending a little extra money to ensure your favorite four-legged hunting partner is safe over the thousands of miles you might travel, is an excellent idea and not something to be taken lightly. At the same time, you don’t have to break the bank when looking for this kind of travel insurance.
When viewing the top kennel options on the market, a hunter can spend a literal premium — over $500 for a kennel in some instances. While these products are excellent in their own right, and certainly do the job that you may need, they may not be in the target budget for all hunters. The opposite of premium on the kennel spectrum is the thin-plastic walled kennel you can buy at any fleet store. But again, I wouldn’t recommend gambling your hunting prowess on every trip with one of those.
Dakota283 – Protection for your Pet
When I was researching the market and trying to find that safe kennel for my bird dogs, I came across Dakota283 at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nev., in what I believe was their first year of production. I met the company’s founder, Greg Cronkhite, whose pride and passion for his product was evident — motivated traits that have carried Dakota283 to make great strides to the current day.
If safety is of utmost importance for you, the Dakota283 is a good option. Their tagline is “Unparalleled Pet Protection — Kennels Built to Last a Lifetime.” After spending some time with their G3 Framed Door Kennel, this sentiment is certainly true. After handling a Dakota283 kennel, you can tell these dog kennels were specifically created to protect your dog beyond the field. I think they are probably indestructible, and they just might last a lifetime as advertised.
Watch Dakota 283 Founder, Greg Cronkite’s Story: That’s How We Got Started
G3 Framed Door Kennel Review
The G3 is created in one solid, roto-molded piece, molded and assembled in the USA. The crate construction resembles the thick-walled coolers that have become popular over the last few years. The kennel features a top-grip handle, keyed latching door, large ventilation holes, a drain hole and recess for crate stacking.
Having handled and used many different bird dog kennels over the years, I found that the single, recessed handle — located in the top, middle and molded in the overall structure of the kennel roof — coupled with the overall weight of the crate made the G3 a bit unbalanced, but easier to carry back and forth from the truck to the garage that other premium brands. For hunters who do not have the luxury of leaving the crate in their vehicle through most of the season, this is something to consider in an kennel purchase.
I run two English setters and the “Large” size G3 was the best fit for the size of my dogs. Dakota283 advertises: “Kennels fit on the interior seat, back of SUV, or truck or hatchback car . . . Designed for maximum space, two crates fit between most truck wheel wells.” For my mid-sized SUV, the wide construction is roomy for my dogs, but two crates wouldn’t fit together, side-by-side, in the back — this is obviously relative to your current vehicle situation and not a problem if you have a full-sized truck — but something to consider if you don’t. Many consider the medium dog crate option in the G3 line a suitable size for Setters an also allows for this side by side fit. Lastly, the metal door with keyed feature and the overall solid construction make for a great overall durable construction.
Certainly, there are other brand-named dog crates on the market that are more affordable on the bird dog kennel spectrum. But at the same time — especially if safety is of utmost importance — why not spend a little more for that travel insurance we previously discussed? And, don’t forget: there are also kennels on the market that are more expensive too. Dakota283 brings the safety, and solid construction, for the value; the G3 I handled has an MSRP at $379.
This kennel comes in five colors for your discerning tastes: dark granite, desert sand, olive, orange, and coyote tan. Watch the sizing closely for your particular needs: Medium is 30.5 inches long, 21.5 wide, 25 high, and weighs 40 pounds. The large is 35 inches long, 24 wide, 26.25 high, and weighs 44 pounds. An XL is available too, coming in at 38.25 inches long, 25.5 wide, 29.25 high, and weighing 59 pounds.
Check out the wide range of premium dog kennels and crates solutions the Dakota 283 line is producing and find “unparalleled pet protection.”
Matt Soberg is editor of Covey Rise, Project Upland, and Ruffed Grouse Society Magazine. He is an award-winning journalist and passionate conservationist. You can find Matt in his home state of Minnesota either behind his English Setters or casting a fly on the water.