Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ruff Tough Kennels: Are they really better? - Review

Ruff Tough Kennels are appearing in the back of more trucks – check out why with  this review, product info, pictures and more. 

 As you are reading this review, you likely heard something about Ruff Tough Kennels, or maybe the name just got you wondering more about them,  or better put

Is it a product that can live up to it’s name or just more hype? 

I’m a guy who’s hunted and trained for decades (and currently has 9 bird dogs his own - wife counting).  We’ve long had crates for taking the dogs places, or just to hang out safely at home.  Like me, many of you have also seen the crates get lighter and more cheaply made while at the same time more expensive.  Dogs chew out of them, they’re brittle, thin and break or bend when you put anything on them.  They don’t seem to be all that safe or reliable anymore to keep a dog in.  I get it.  So I’m reviewing them to see if these crates rise to their claim of being Ruff and Tough.

Ruff Tough Kennels are a single piece construction Heavy duty dog crate.  They use a composite door assembly that is fully removable for free access, or can be opened in a right hand or left hand configuration.  They are also prepped for hardware installation that can join together crates in a horizontal and/or vertical configuration. 
They’re manufactured In the USA  – Tea, South Dakota by Roto-Mold, LLC

Features include:
·        Five year Warranty
·        Durability (sensing a theme)
·        Double end doors available on Intermediate and Large,
·        Easy cleaning
·        Composite double swing or easy full removal doors
·        New Pebble Granite pattern
·        Tie downs (with optional tie down kit)
·        Stackable and connectable (with optional hardware kits)
·        Sizes Small, Medium, Intermediate and Large

How did it come to be…

In Ruff Tough’s words: 

Born out of the love of Dogs... Dog Safety was our #1 Priority!

We love Dogs. Who doesn't? Wanting the best for "Mans Best Friend" along with being owners of a plastics manufacturing company (rotational molding), we had an idea for a dog crate that would fit better in the back seat of a car and be user friendly.

By molding the body of the dog crate in one piece it would make the outside dimensions smaller and the dog crate stronger. We also thought that putting a door on each end (double door) would make the dog crate more user friendly and really handy for the back seat of a car. This really cool feature would allow access form either side of the car,  thus providing a dog crate to the industry that would take the place of two to three purchases of existing dog crates."

The folks at Ruff Tough Kennels then had inquiries about making modifications to their durable dog crate from Pro trainers and Outfitters.  They put on their thinking caps and the result is development of this line of products. 

Having watched the company for the past year or so, they aren’t done thinking.  I’ve seen options and sizes continue to come to market so it seems to me like they are a company that is responsive to their consumers. 

Review Comments

I received two Ruff Tough crates I ordered from  to test and see if they hold up as advertised.  My first impression was that they were indeed much heavier duty than the PetsMate kennels that we’ve been using, and by a lot.  I’m not overly flush, so I’m not going to drop 60# weights on them or toss them out of a moving vehicle like they do in the video, but after having hands on I don’t think the video is untruthful, and it is entertaining.

·        Sizing. They seem like they run a bit on the small side for the name, so I’m glad I tend to “go big” when I order things.  Folks will want to pay attention to dimensions, especially when planning on fitting a big dog into one, or fitting them into a smaller vehicle.  They are the dimensions they call out, so go more by dimension than name.

·        Comfort. The dogs seem happy and content, and I admit when I’m driving I have a sense of confidence that if some moron texting doesn’t see me, at least the dogs stand a whole lot better chance of survival, and not escaping in the event of an accident.  This isn’t a technical reporting, I understand, but peace of mind is worth mentioning.

·        Doors.  I really like the double opening door so it doesn’t matter which crate goes on which side of the vehicle, and that I can take it all the way off and put it straight back on easily.  I’m not sure I’m sold on the composite strength against a chewer though.  I’ve got dogs that have destroyed an indestructible Kong in an hour, the jury is still out on that aspect.  I tend to like Metal personally when it comes to a door, but so far – 20 days in and they’re working fine and holding up.


·        Cleaning.  They are pretty easy to clean, though the back of the inside can be a bit tough to reach into because the crates don’t break down into two pieces.  Of course, that’s why they’re stronger, so it’s a tradeoff of sorts.  Truthfully, I rarely break down the two piece crates for cleaning either – but I could if I wanted to.

Other Testimonials and Customer Reviews from around the web.

As I mentioned earlier, I feel more comfortable with the dogs in a heavy duty crate when traveling.  I’ve heard too many horror stories about a dog getting hurt in an accident, and even more about a dog surviving the accident, but then loose on the freeway and ending up with a tragic result, so I really liked reading this review.

I wanted to follow up and with a few comments on the Ruff Tough Kennels I purchased about 4 months ago.   

I have now been hit in the rear of my truck twice while traveling with my dogs.  The first time was about 10 years ago.  At that time I used a regular kennel,  the type where you have two halves that are held together using some type of screws .  During that incident, the kennel was slammed against the side of the bed and split in 3 different places.  It barely held together and thank goodness my dog was OK.  Of course the kennel had to be replaced.

Well the second time was this weekend.  I was hit in the rear of my truck by a car traveling 40 – 50 mph at impact.  I drive a Ford F-250 and it really took a hit.  I had both dogs in the back headed to a retriever training day with our club.  Thank goodness they were both in the large Ruff Tough Kennels. Both kennels were turned sideways and one of them landed up on the wheel well on its side.  The dog in this particular kennel ended up with a bloody nose but overall they both came out in good shape. The force of her hitting the door resulted in a crack that later separated, but other than that, there was no damage at all to the kennels themselves.  I think you have an excellent product that exceeds the standard by a long shot. 

 Both I and my dogs thank you.  

 Dickie Edmund “

I read this one with interest, as I am a bit concerned especially about the composite door assembly and a chewer. 

We adopted a Brittany mix from the pound with a bad case of separation anxiety. After he chewed up our coffee table, window sill and bed. We decided our Brittany was mixed with a Tasmanian Devil and we needed to kennel him. We first started with a plastic kennel. That lasted about a week before he chewed threw the slates up top and got out and ruined the kennel. Our second kennel was the large metal cage type. Well he chipped his tooth the first day and on the second day he managed to break out of the metal kennel, this was due to the fact that they are collapsible and not that sturdy. After figuring I would probably need cinder blocks and steel for my next kennel, I was recommended the Rough Tough Kennel. I was pretty skeptic as it resembles any plastic type kennel. But to my surprise, the rough tough kennel has worked great, it has held up now for 6 months and my Tasmanian Devil of a Brittany has barely put a scratch on it. Now my kennel, dog and house are much safer.

Nicholas - Elko, MN

 My “All that glitters is not gold” segment. 

There are a few things people should take note of if looking at getting a Ruff Tough Kennel. 

·        Cleaning – as I mentioned, they are overall easy to clean as they are plastic, but the larger crates can be hard to reach to the back.  I use a longer handle scrub brush, but it’s a bit of a reach.

·        Sizing – Make sure you go by measurements vs. the name.  I think most folks will think the sizing runs about a size small by name.

·        Composite Door – It hasn’t been a problem, but there might be potential for one.  I’d like to see them come up with a composite covered metal door, best of both worlds.  For now it works, and they do offer replacement doors if needed.

·        Ship time – I had to WAIT for them.  I hate waiting, but sales are strong.  They did ship direct from the manufacturer, but expect 2-4 weeks from ordering.  On the plus side, from HuntinDawg shipping is FREE.  

Final comments

 From my chair, I’d buy another.  Nobody else has a 5 year guarantee, and it’s made in the USA which I like.  I’d make sure I get the connector and tie down kits if I need them and I really like that the shipping cost is included.  I personally think it’s a good value.  Though more expensive on the front end I think this Crate will last for a very long time and ultimately be less than buying several cheaper crates.  For those of us with several dogs - offers a discount on 3 or more which is a nice break.

All things taken into consideration,  I’d place this in the “Recommended Buy” column.


  1. Interesting review process. I like it. Would like to see a size between "intermediate" and "large" it is quite the step up in size and with vehicles getting smaller every inch matters. - Rod aka Redbirddog

  2. Thanks Rod, glad you like the format. I do too! I find I'm becoming a gearhead, but dog gear, not motor.

  3. Correction to the size crates I have. I did buy Medium crates to start with. My mistake was created by the English language. Medium and Intermediate to me are the same. Intermediate with this product was between medium and large. Confusing. Crates should be sold like men's pants IMO.. By size. H x W x L.

  4. How is the crate holding up after a few months? I'm really interested in that plastic door... I have a mutt that is a chewer and has gone through several crates/doors already. I'm very curious if the Ruff Tough kennel would work for him.

  5. Note that they now have an inside metal plate door cover (with round perforations like the kennel box). Should add strength and make the door pretty much chew-proof. Does add $60 per kennel, though. I'm considering ordering two larges (one 92# lab, and a puppy that's his nephew that I expect to be similar in size in a year). Another member in our K9 search organization has mediums for their 50# goldens and it is OK. My lab cannot begin to even get in those. Another member has the intermediates for his Drensch and Pointer (about 65#) and that seems to work fine. I may have to go down to our new Cabelas store and do a test fit, but I think the large will work well for our dogs. Huntindawgs has these for $270 with free shipping. Best price I can find on the large size.