Dogs love spending time outside, but without a fenced-in yard or electric dog fence, owners will need outdoor dog kennels to keep their canines safe and secure.
Dog kennels are also great for those running their own dog boarding facility, as some outdoor dog kennels are designed to hold multiple dogs at once.
We’ll be detailing the key features to consider when selecting an outdoor dog kennel, as well as recommending top picks.
Best Outdoor Dog Kennels: Quick Picks
- Advantek Pet Gazebo [Best Octagon Kennel] This gazebo-style octagon kennel comes in several sizes (3, 4, 5, and 8 ft). Includes cover for shade and rain protection.
- PetSafe Do It Yourself Kennel [Most Affordable] This basic 12.5-gauge chain-link kennel comes in a 7.5 ft square. Simple, not very attractive, but the most budget-friendly option.
- Advantek Modular Outdoor Dog Kennel [Best Open Top] This open-top kennel a double door design that allows you to open the top window to feed the pups, and open the bottom panel to let them in and out. The bronze coloring makes for an attractive design. Comes in 4′ ft square.
- K9 Kennel Store: Ultimate Kennel [Largest & Fanciest Option] K9 Kennel Store offers high-end kennel runs with several sizes ranging up to 24ft long! Several add-on features include digging prevention bars, floor tiles, dog septic system, mounted swivel dog bowls, roof cover, dog cot, and more! Naturally these are quite expensive.
Outdoor Dog Kennels: Factors to Consider
You don’t want to just run out and buy the first outdoor kennel you see. There are a lot of options on the market, so be sure to consider the following things when making your choice.
- Material. Most dog kennels are made of either steel wire, chain-link or expanded metal. Different materials will provide varying degrees of durability (and will also result in a different look, so personal tastes have an influence here too).
- Size. Outdoor dog kennels come in a variety of sizes. Your ideal kennel dimensions will depend on your dog’s size and if you plan on housing a single or multiple dogs in your kennel. You’ll want to provide plenty of space for your dog to move around and play. Also consider if you plan on including a dog house or other objects in your kennel, as this may also require a larger structure.
- Weather Resistant. You’ll want to ensure that the kennel you choose to sturdy and weather-resistant against the elements, especially if you’ll keeping your kennel in an outdoor, unprotected area such as a backyard.
- Enclosed Top. Some kennels come with enclosed tops, while others are open. Owners with small dogs who are concerned about predators will want to make sure to purchase a kennel with a covered top.
- Material Cover. You may also want to consider purchasing a tarp-style cover for your kennel. This provides protection, protecting your dog from the heat in the summer, and keeping out snow and rain in the winter.
- Number of Doors. You’ll also want to consider how many doors you dog kennel has. Some kennels provide a set of double safety doors so that a dog cannot rush out when you enter the kennel. Some kennels also provide waist high doors so that owners can put in food, water, and toys without allowing the dogs to escape.
- Food and Water Attachments. While food and water dishes can be pushed and attached to kennel walls, some high-end kennels come with food and water dishes pre-attached to panels that can then be swung around to the outside of the kennel. This lets an owner add food and water without stepping in to the kennel at all.
- Digging Prevention. Some dog kennels come with digging bars that sit agains the ground, around the edge of the kennel. These bars prevent dogs from digging under the kennel and escaping, and are great for owners with digger dogs.
The Best Outdoor Dog Kennels: Best Options for Your Four-Footer!
We compared dozens of different outdoor dog kennels, dog runs, and other types of fenced enclosures to help you pick the best one for your pet. Check ’em out below!
1. Advantek Pet Gazebo
About: The Advantek Pet Gazebo is an outdoor dog kennel that allows your dog to relax outside in a safe, enclosed area. While most of the kennels listed here are designed to be permanent, this pet gazebo can be disassembled without too much work if you need to relocate it. For regular travel though, we’d recommend going with a portable dog fence.
- Unique Design. This dog kennel’s octagonal design sets it apart from others.
- Various Sizes. The pet gazebo comes in several sizes, and gazebos can be linked together for play areas.
- Sturdy Construction. Made from steel and powder-coated in AztekGold finish for protection against weather wear.
- Includes Cover. Comes with polyurethane reversible gazebo cover that is water resistant, to protect your pooch from the elements.
- Easy Setup. Fast and easy installation, with no tools needed.
- Good for Medium to Large Pets. This kennel is ideal for dogs up to 100 lbs, measuring an assembled size of 60 x 60 x 60 inches.
Unique design, with ability to connect gazebos. Also is fairly easy to disassemble and travel with.
Small dogs may be able to get under the bottom bars – some owners resolved this by lining the bottom with bricks or stones. Some owners with larger, tougher dogs find this kennel to not be sturdy enough.
2. AKC Uptown Premium Kennel Kit
About: The AKC Uptown Premium Dog Kennel is available from Home Depot. It’s a sturdy, relatively easy to setup outdoor dog kennel made of welded steel, along with a waterproof cover.
- Lockable Gate. The lockable gate helps make sure you pets stay put, and the raised legs make it easy to clean the kennel area without hassle.
- Size. Measures 4ft wide X 8ft long X 6ft tall.
- Easy Setup. No tools are required, making this kennel is fairly easy to set up
- Materials. Steel welded wire for durability, powder-coated finish, with no sharp edges. Also includes a waterproof cover.
- Officially Endorsed By AKC. As an added word of praise, this is the outdoor dog kennel endorsed by the American Kennel Club.
Owners note that this kennel has a solid, durable construction and that their dogs love lounging outside in the kennel.
This model may not be ideal for large and hyper dogs. If your dog is a digger, you’ll need to make sure to place this kennel on a solid foundation. However, for relatively calm down, this outdoor kennel seems to do very well.
3. PetSafe DIY Dog Kennel
About: The PetSafe Do It Yourself Kennel is a outdoor dog kennel made from 12.5 chain link fencing. It features a convenient door which can be opened and closed to let your dog in or out.
- Materials. Made of durable 12.5-gauge chain link and galvanized steel that is weather-proof and rust-resistant.
- Fairly Easy to Assemble. Basic tools are required, but it should still be easy to construct.
- Multiple Sizes. This dog kennel is available in 3 different sizes to choose from:
- Boxed Kennel Medium: 7.5L x 7.5W x 6H feet
- Boxed Kennel Large: 12L x 7.5W x 6H feet
- Boxed Kennel X-Large: 13L x 7.5W x 6H feet
Owners note that this construction can house even the tough and rough dogs. This outdoor dog kennel is also on the more affordable side, making it a good economy choice.
Not as attractive as other outdoor dog kennels. Some also note that the large gaps are not safe for puppies, and that the holes at the top and bottom of the gate can allow a small dog to escape. For this reason, this kennel is probably only suitable for larger dogs.
4. Advantek Modular Outdoor Dog Kennel
About: The Advantek Modular Outdoor Dog Kennel is made of galvanized steel, that’s been power-coated and made weatherproof.
- Size. Available in 4 x 4ft or 4 x 8ft.
- Materials. Galvanized, power-coated, weatherproof steel with 1.5 in tubing and 8-gauge wire for durability and security.
- Easy to Assemble. No tools required, easy assembly.
- Double Doors. This kennel features double doors, allowing owners to open top doors to feed pets without them escaping, while bottom doors can be opened to let dogs in and out as desired.
- Pet-Proof Lock. Uses pet-proof locks to prevent canine escape.
- Easy Cleaning. Raised leg design allows owners to easily clean the kennel, while also keeping the kennel dry and comfortable.
Great for owners who want to make sure of the double doors, allowing owners to feed their pets without opportunity for escape. Also, because it’s made of galvanized steel, this is likely one of the strongest outdoor dog kennels around.
Not much to report here – it’s a well received kennel among owners.
K9 Kennel Store
The K9 Kennel Store provides a large number of super advanced, customizable outdoor dog kennels. We will be detailing the Complete Kennels (the standard offering) as well as the Ultimate Kennels (which are their deluxe editions).
5. K9 Kennel Store: Complete Kennel
The K9 Kennel Store’s Complete Kennel is similar to the standard outdoor dog kennels already listed, but with tons of bonus featured and added benefits.
- Several Sizes. Available in seven different sizes depending on how much space you want to give your dog, from 6x6ft to 18x18ft. In addition, kennels use modular designs, which means you can swap around the shape and size of the kennel by moving the panels easily.
- 5 Minute Setup. Quick and easy setup with no tools required.
- Materials. Customize and choose your material – thick welded 6-gauge wire or 14-gauge expanded metal.
- Digging Bars. K9 Kennel Store kennels come with digging bars, which are bars placed an the ground, along the edges of the kennel to prevent your dog from digging out.
- Snap N Lock Food Bowls. Snap and Lock Food Bowls are designed to clip easily into your dog’s kennel, for raised, mess-free eating. Install the brackets anywhere on your kennel and clip in the bowl to keep it in place.
- Covered Canvas Tops. Kennels include waterproof canvas top to keep out the elements.
- Roof Support Bars. Some models of the Complete Kennel also provide roof support bars, adding further support for the canvas tops.
For Dog Care Professionals:
K9 Kennel Store also provides larger scale kennels designed for vets, breeders, dog boarders, or other pet service operators.
In addition to the features above, Pro Series kennels can have multiple compartments for different dogs, can be backless to rest against a building, can be made with designated “play zones” and more.
6. K9 Kennel Store: Ultimate Kennel
For those who want the cream of the crop for their canine, K9 Kennel Store also offers Ultimate Kennels, which are tricked out with even more bonus features!
Extras that come with Ultimate Kennels include:
- More Sizes. Ultimate kennels provide additional sizes, as large as 8x24ft.
- Swivel Bowl Brackets. These swivel bowls are installed into your kennel’s door panel at manufacturing and allows you to easily swivel in food and water to pets without needing to enter the enclosure, saving time and preventing opportunities for escape.
- Dog Septic System. Dog septic systems allow you to easily scoop the poop from your dog run and deposit the materials into an in-ground septic container – this makes cleaning up after your dog easy as possible. Also comes with a dog waste scooper shovel!
- Flooring Tiles. Flooring tiles give a hard surface for your kennel to rest upon. Owners also have the option to upgrade to raised flooring if they choose.
- Canvas Top With Roof Support Bars. In addition to the standard waterproof canvas, the ultimate kennels also come with roof bars, providing the most stable roof setup for your outdoor dog kennel. This is ideal for dogs who will spend large amounts of time in the outdoor kennel and need a roof that will hold out rain and snow on a regular basis.
In addition, the K9 Kennel Store provides a host of other bonus accessories you can add to your kennel, including:
- Fans, misters, and cooling systems,
- Heating and warming pads
- Kennel lighting
- Doggy doors
- Potty training areas
- Auto-feeder and watering bowls
- Braces, brackets, wall-stablizers, and anchors, and grounding stakes.
- Safety doors, sliding doors, glass doors
- Dog houses
- Climbing prevention
- Welded wire roofs
- Canvas side covers
- and more!
Pretty much any nifty feature you can think of, and K9 Kennel Store has it.
For convenience, we’re using the pros and cons section to cover all K9 Kennel Store offerings.
The advantages here are obvious – all kinds of features and sophistication that no one other kennels even come close to offering. K9 Kennel Store also is loaded with extras and bonus upgrades you can add to customize your kennel exactly the way you’d like it. If you’ve imagined a cool feature, K9 Kennel Store probably offers it.
These kennels are more advanced than other, and therefore, also more expensive (especially when you factor in shipping). Another problem is that the K9 Kennel Store is quite difficult and confusing to navigate, so if you’re used to a streamlined shopping experience, you may be thrown off by K9 Kennel Store’s messy and cluttered website.
The Benefits of Outdoor Dog Kennels
While some owners never consider setting up an outdoor kennel or outdoor dog run for their pet, most owners who do wonder how they ever survived without one!
Simply put, outdoor dog runs and kennels are amazingly valuable for your pet, and they’ll often make your life much easier too. A few of the most notable benefits they provide include:
Outdoor Kennels Allow Your Dog to Enjoy the Great Outdoors
As long as the weather is nice, most dogs love spending time outside, as it gives them the chance to see and smell all kinds of stuff they wouldn’t get to enjoy if they were sequestered indoors.
Many dogs will get bored hanging out indoors, but outdoor kennels give them the chance to bark at squirrels, sniff interesting things in the air, and feel the wind blowing through their fur.
Outdoor Kennels Are Helpful Dog Management Tools
From time to time, most owners will need to put their dog in a safe, secure place while they host guests, clean the house, or complete complicated projects (you don’t want your pooch running through the room when you’re trying to decipher IKEA instructions and put together your new book shelf!).
Outdoor dog kennels are perfect for these times, and they’ll give your dog more room than a typical crate will.
Outdoor Kennels Are Often a Better Option than Crates
Dog crates are invaluable tools, and most owners should have one on hand for their pup. They’re not only helpful for house training dogs, they’re also great for keeping your dog safe when you can’t directly supervise him.
That said, most dogs would surely rather hang out in a spacious outdoor kennel than they would in the relatively confined space a crate provides.
Outdoor Kennels Don’t Force Your Dog to “Hold It” All Day
Adult dogs can usually go 6 to 10 hours between bathroom breaks without difficulty, but there are still going to be times when your pup drinks a little more water than usual. This may cause your dog to end up doing the pee-pee dance for a few hours while waiting for you to return and let him go outside.
But an outdoor kennel will allow him to tinkle (or poop, as the case may be) at his leisure, which will keep him more comfortable while you’re away.
Outdoor Kennels Can Allow Your Dog to Get Some Exercise
Some dogs get destructive when their owner leaves, so they need to be confined while you’re out running errands. A crate is a safe and acceptable option, but crates don’t allow your dog to do much but sit there and bark at stuff.
By contrast, a spacious outdoor kennel will keep your dog safe while you’re away, but it’ll also let your dog run, jump, and play quite a bit while contained.
They’re a great option for keeping your dog contained in a yard without a fence going around the entire perimeter of your lawn.
Outdoor Dog Kennel Safety
As you can see, outdoor dog kennels provide a ton of benefits to you and your dog. But, you must use them carefully to ensure your dog stays safe. Among other things, this means doing the following:
- Don’t use outdoor kennels in extreme weather. Kennels are great when the weather is nice, but you don’t want to leave your dog outside whenever it is uncomfortably hot or cold. The exact temperature range your dog can tolerate will vary based on his size, health, breed and fur length, so discuss your dog’s likely temperature tolerances with your vet. That said, it is generally a good idea to use extreme caution anytime the temperature is below 50 degrees or above 80 degrees.
- Be sure your dog always has plenty of fresh water. This should go without saying, but make sure your dog always has more water available than he could possibly drink. If your dog can polish off a whole bowl of water, go ahead and set out two bowls of water for him.
- Provide your dog with some type of shade. Even in relatively mild temperatures, dogs can overheat if forced to sit in the sun. You needn’t necessarily shade the entire kennel, but make sure your dog can get out of the sun if need be. Similarly, you’ll want to make sure your dog can get out of the rain if the weather sours, so make sure part of the kennel also features a waterproof roof or cover.
- Carefully test the security of the kennel. Some dogs are extraordinarily skilled at escaping kennels, so you’ll want to make sure the kennel you choose is 100% escape proof. The best way to do so is to put your dog in the kennel, and then watch him (without letting him know you are looking) and see if he can escape. Make sure you verify that your dog can’t climb or jump over the top, nor dig his way beneath the fencing.
- Clear the enclosed area of any potential hazards. It’s important to make sure that your dog won’t be able to get into any mischief while hanging out in his kennel, so be sure to give the area a once over before putting your dog inside. Also, be sure that you don’t leave any toys in the kennel, unless you’re positive that they will hold up to your pup’s jaws – you don’t want him to rip up his toy and choke on the pieces while he’s unattended.
DIY Kennel: Outdoor Dog Kennel Ideas
It’s always easier to buy an outdoor kennel than it is to make your own, but some owners prefer going the DIY route. This may be helpful for those with dogs who have special needs, as well as those who simply can’t find a commercial option that fits the bill.
There are a number of DIY dog house blueprints and DIY kennel plans available online, but the following video provides a pretty good example of a homemade kennel that shouldn’t be too difficult to build yourself.
Kennels and outdoor dog runs are great tools that most owners should consider using. They not only help keep your dog safe when you can’t watch his every move, they also provide great mental stimulation for your pet and give him the chance to run around a little bit.
Have you found an outdoor dog kennel that worked especially well? Let us know all about it!
Tell us what model and brand you chose, as well as the things you like most about it. Maybe we’ll include the one you use in a future article update!