Is man’s best friend getting man’s best kennel?
I’ve sat in dozens upon dozens of creative/marketing/product/brand/you-name-it meetings over the past handful of years and I would venture to say that — in 9 out of 10 of them — someone would utter the phrase, “ . . . like Yeti did/does/is doing.” Whether it’s product development, marketing plan, content creation or brand building, Yeti has become the ubiquitous gold standard for all of the above. Now this is a pure kudos to Yeti, as it’s an enviable position for any brand to be synonymous with quality, innovation, and brand-strength. So it is an incredibly high compliment and endorsement for Gunner Kennels when people ask me to describe them and I simply say, “They’re the Yeti of dog kennels.”
If that’s not enough of an endorsement for you, I’ve got a few more details coming.
Safety is the Foundation of Gunner Kennels
Unless you’ve lived under a rock over the past few years, you’ve seen the ridiculous videos showing the bomb-proofedness of these kennels. You can see it withstand 4,000 pounds of force, a 12-gauge shotgun blast at 7 steps, a 200-foot-plus cliff drop, and 630 pounds dropped from over 8 feet. And you can just scroll through Gunner’s Facebook feed to see story after story (with pics) of full-size trucks twisted into mangled heaps with a Gunner Kennel laying peacefully intact next to it. They are the only “double-walled rotomolded” crate on the market, which plays a huge part in the fact that Gunner Kennels passed the Center for Pet Safety certifications.
The door is equally impressive. A custom welded, powder-coated, reinforced aluminum frame that works with the fiberglass filled injection-molded door panel is no doubt a huge reason that the G1 Kennels hold up so well in car accidents. With every crate that I had prior to my Gunner, I could practically pull the door out without even unlatching it. And to tell the truth, I never felt very comfortable with it being strapped into the back of my truck. The Gunner, on the other hand, leaves me with no such reservations. And that actually brings me to another great feature.
The tie-down pins. Few kennels used to have them at all, and even the newer crates that are coming out with them don’t have the level of integration that the G1 has. They are fully integrated into the rotomolded kennel, which means that they won’t rip out in the event of an accident. I got the Gunner Kennels branded tie-down straps with mine mainly because I’m an aesthetic snob, but they are as beefy as the kennel itself (2500 pound load capacity buckle/4500 pound breaking strength nylon webbing), so, if you can swing it, grab a set while you’re at it. I anchor my kennel at all four corners to the four corners of my truck bed.
The Price of Gunner Kennels
The smallest crate, the G1 Small, comes in at $399 and is suitable for your Jack Russel Terrier. And before you judge me for beginning with a JRT, you should definitely check out this episode of The Hunting Dog Podcast with Alex Brittingham, who hunts GEESE with her pup.
The next three sizes up, G1 Medium (all manners of spaniel), G1 Intermediate (most versatile breeds), and G1 Large (Labs, etc.) each step up $100 so they come in at $499, $599 and $699, respectively.
Obviously, that is not cheap. However, most of us have no problem spending $200-plus on a pair of boots and, depending on where and how often you hunt, you’d be buying new ones every couple years. I firmly believe that your first Gunner Kennel would literally be the last kennel you’d ever need to buy for your dog. Oh, and they give you a lifetime warranty to back up that claim.
Those Gunner Kennels Accessories
The folks at Gunner have built out a lot of really cool accessories that are custom made for their kennels. They have a fan kit that mounts to the kennel, providing air flow on particularly hot days. And, though you should never leave your dog unattended for extended periods of time, I have to say that due to the thickness of the walls of the kennel, it stays significantly cooler on hot days — even without the fan kit. The thick walls act like a reverse-cooler, keeping it warmer inside. But if it gets really inclement where you live and hunt, you can get the all-weather kit that allows you to further restrict the airflow into the side grates.
They also have a security lock so you can literally chain your kennel to your truck bed and the door itself has a keyed lock so no one can swipe your dog. I’m so paranoid about someone stealing my dog (a Braque du Bourbonnais) out of my truck bed that I once locked the door when I was hunting (over a buddy’s dog) in the middle of nowhere in Montana. You never can be too cautious.
Conclusion on the Gunner Kennels G1 Dog Crate
I’ve been a fan of Gunner long before I actually owned a product (a testament to their excellent branding) and if you’re not following along on their Instagram, you’re definitely missing out. Even though I’m not a Lab guy, I am still proudly rocking their logo decal on my truck window and I haven’t taken off my Gunner hat since I snagged one at the SHOT Show. If that makes me a fanboy, so be it.
At the end of the day, Gunner is a family-owned and operated business out of Nashville, Tenn., doing their damndest to make one of the top kennels money can buy. Their crates are made right here in the U.S. and they only sell direct to consumer, so you should definitely swing by their website https://gunnerkennels.com to check them out. I have to say that Gunner Kennels broke the mold (pun intended) with their G1 Kennel and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
Afterthought – My one complaint is that I got my Gunner Kennel in September and it felt like the next day (I know it was a bit after that, but it felt that way) they came out with their ridiculously cool gunmetal color. Ah, too bad. I guess I’ll have to pick up a second crate. Then I’ll have two for the rest of my life.
Chet Hervey is the Managing Partner of Business Affairs at Northwoods Collective. He lives in the chimney of northern Idaho with his wife, son, and their Braque du Bourbonnais. Chet spends his falls chasing pheasant and quail, his winters coaching youth hockey, his springs chasing turkey, and summers tenkara fly-fishing and/or boating on the Snake River.