Dog standing in outdoor dog kennel on a warm sunny day

The Best Outdoor Dog Kennels

Our veterinarians research and recommend the best products. Learn more about our process. We may receive a commission on purchases made from our links.

An outdoor dog kennel is perfect for dogs who like to spend plenty of time outdoors but can’t always have free reign of the yard due to safety concerns or other reasons. While keeping dogs outdoors full time isn’t recommended, especially in kennels that aren’t climate controlled, they’re great for letting your dog stretch their legs in unfenced yards or chill outdoors unsupervised.

Our vet advisor, Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, selected these products. Her top pick is the Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Dog Kennel, thanks to its durability and ease of cleaning. Read how she chose the top 5.

Our Vet’s Top Pick

Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Dog Kennel

This sturdy kennel is rust-resistant and free from sharp edges.

Dogs have physical and emotional needs that can’t necessarily be met when living outside. If you’re considering keeping your dog outdoors full time, this article discusses whether it’s fair to keep dogs outdoors and how to do it right if you absolutely must.

Our Vet’s Top 5 Outdoor Dog Kennels
Editor’s Picks Brand Rating Covered Rust resistant Size
Best Overall Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Dog Kennel 4.6 8ft x 4ft x 6ft
Best Budget Buy PawHut Heavy Duty Outdoor Kennel 4.3 48in x 41in x 47in
Best Large Outdoor Kennel and Run ChickenCoopOutlet Backyard Dog Kennel 3.4 20ft x 10ft x 6ft
Best Heavy Duty Outdoor Kennel Polar Aurora Outdoor Dog Kennel 4.3 4ft x 4ft x 6ft or 4ft x 6ft x 8ft
Best Playpen BestPet Dog Pen 4.5 Various sizes/adjustable

*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers

Who Should Buy an Outdoor Dog Kennel

  • Pet parents with unfenced yards – A large kennel, run, or playpen is ideal for letting dogs have some outdoor time when you don’t have a secure yard for them to play in.1
  • Owners of canine Houdinis – If your yard is fenced but your dog still manages to find a way to get out of it, a large kennel will give them more outdoor time without you needing to watch their every move.
  • Owners of dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors – Some dogs would happily spend most of the day outdoors, but this can be an issue if they get up to mischief when left outdoor unsupervised or if your yard lacks natural shelter from rain or sun.

Who Should Not Buy an Outdoor Dog Kennel

  • Anyone considering keeping their dog outdoors because of behavioral issues – You should never send your dog to live in the yard because they bark too much, chew up furniture, have accidents in the house, or due to any other behavioral issue. Dogs with behavioral issues need gentle training, not to be isolated from their human family.
  • People who want to keep their dogs outside all day, year-round – Outdoor kennels have their place but a standard kennel isn’t suitable for dogs to live outside in all year round. In some situations, dogs can live in kennels rather than in the home, but these kennels are climate-controlled outbuildings, rather than simple wire structures. Unless you’re willing to have an elaborate heated and air-conditioned kennel built, you can’t leave your dog out in a kennel all day.

Research Tips (from a Veterinarian)

As a veterinarian, I’m often asked about what outdoor dog kennels are best for dogs. While keeping your canine in the yard full time isn’t best for most dogs, outdoor kennels have their place and can provide shelter for dogs while they spend time in the yard. Outdoor dog kennels are just that: made to be used outside. Because this is a relatively significant investment, it is important to pick a well-built kennel that will withstand outdoor conditions. The following tips will help you pick the right option for you and your dog.

  1. Consider the material that the kennel is made from – Heavy-duty metal kennels will last longer, and they should ideally be coated for protection.
  2. Pick carefully if you have a strong dog – If you have a strong dog or an escape artist, it is essential to consider the strength of the bars. Flimsy or small gauge wire kennels can be easily escaped from by some dogs.
  3. Think about ease of cleaning – Many people spray their outdoor kennels out with a water hose. If you are planning this, I suggest a kennel with an elevated bottom. If the kennel will just be set onto the grass, this feature may not be as important.
  4. Carefully review the size of the kennel you’re considering – Larger dogs or multiple dogs will require larger kennels.2 But it is crucial to ensure that the kennel will fit into the space where you want to place it.
  5. Think about covering – In most cases, you should choose a kennel that comes with a roof or covering to allow your dogs to get out of the sun and to offer protection from any bad weather. If you’re only going to use a kennel for short periods of time while you’re home and can bring your dog inside if it gets too hot or wet, a model without a cover is fine.

How Much Does it Cost?

Between $150 and $5,000

Outdoor dog kennels aren’t cheap and cost anywhere from $150 to $5,000. You can find some small, basic outdoor kennels from around $150, but large, heavy-duty options cost more like $300-$800. Elaborate climate-controlled outdoor kennels can cost well into the thousands.

Our Methodology: Why Trust Pet News Daily

As a veterinarian, I have spoken with other veterinarians and dog owners to find the best outdoor dog kennels. I chose these products based on my professional experience, as well as customer reviews, and knowledge of what’s important in an outdoor kennel for dogs. I’ve considered factors such as the durability of the chosen kennels, how safe they are for your dog, and how easy they are to clean. – Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, DVM

The Best Outdoor Dog Kennels: Full Reviews

Our Vet’s Top Pick

Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Dog Kennel

This sturdy kennel is rust-resistant and free from sharp edges.

The Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Dog Kennel is made of heavy-duty steel welded together for strength and then coated with a protective coating that protects your dog from any sharp points. The kennel has also been treated to prevent rust and corrosion, so the steel will last longer.

The slight elevation off of the ground enables you to spray the kennel out with a hose easily, and any feces, urine, and other debris will easily wash out. The water-resistant cover goes over the entire roof to protect your dog from inclement weather such as rain or snow, as well as protecting them from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Pros
  • Easy to assemble
  • Waterproof and UV-resistant cover
  • Fairly spacious at 8 by 4 feet
  • Latching gate
Cons
  • Could be sturdier
  • The cover isn’t especially thick
Best Budget Buy

PawHut Heavy-Duty Kennel

An affordable kennel for small breed dogs.

Although affordable, the PawHut Heavy-Duty Kennel has all the basic features you’d expect from a kennel. However, ay 48 by 41.25 by 46.75 inches, it is small, so check that the size will work for your dog. It’s sturdily built with a heavy-duty metal frame and is coated with a treated material to make the kennel rust-resistant.

The door on this kennel is lockable to keep your dog in and others out. It comes with a polyester fabric cover that is both UV and water-resistant to protect your dog from rain and the sun.

Pros
  • Narrow bar spacing prevents escapes
  • Striped polyester cover provides shade
  • Simple assembly with no tools required
Cons
  • Cover isn’t fully waterproof
  • Only suitable for small dogs
Best Large Outdoor Kennel and Run

ChickenCoopOutlet Backyard Dog Kennel

This large run is great for giving dogs space to roam in unfenced yards.

The ChickenCoopOutlet Backyard Dog Kennel is half covered and half open, so it serves as a kennel and a playpen. The kennel portion allows dogs to have a place in the shade, while the playpen allows room for frolicking in the sun. This enclosure is large, measuring 20 feet long by 10 wide and 6 feet high, so it’s big enough for multiple dogs and gives your canine companion space to stretch their legs.

While the chain-link sides are relatively sturdy, it isn’t exactly heavy duty so it may not be ideal for very strong dogs or escape artists. While it uses a quick-connect system that should allow for easy assembly, some buyers found assembly frustrating. Still, it’s a good choice if a large size is important to you.

Pros
  • UV resistant cover protects from rain and sun
  • This is a larger option than most
  • Wrench needed for assembly is included
Cons
  • Chain link can tangle during assembly
  • Not the heaviest duty option
Best Heavy Duty Outdoor Kennel

Polar Aurora Outdoor Dog Kennel

A sturdy dog kennel that comes in two sizes.

Made of heavy-duty welded steel, the Polar Aurora Outdoor Dog Kennel is marketed for residential or professional use. The steel bars are welded to the wire mesh before coating for extra durability. Not only does the coating prevent any sharp points that could hurt your dog, it also prevents rust and corrosion.

It features a heavy-duty waterproof cover that will do an excellent job of protecting your dog from the sun or rain. The kennel also has added UV protection that prevents ripping, cracking, fading or peeling so that the kennel will last for years.

Pros
  • Pitched roof allows rain and debris to run off
  • It’s available in two sizes
  • Assembly is fairly straightforward
Cons
  • Smaller size; best for short-term use
  • The latch could be improved upon
Best Playpen

BestPet Dog Pen

A large playpen that’s easy to setup and can be used indoors or outdoors.

The BestPet Dog Pen is a spacious playpen for indoor or outdoor use. The roofless design of a playpen isn’t recommended for use for long periods of time. However, when used as a short-term area for play, these enclosures can keep your dog safe and contained. Assembly is simple, and the playpen comes with assembly instructions that will enable you to construct the structure in a matter of minutes.

This playpen is well-built and spacious enough to allow dogs to play safely while still being secure. That said, it isn’t very tall so dogs who jump are not good candidates for this type of structure as they may easily escape. If you need more area for your dog or dogs, this playpen is excellent because you can add extra panels to increase the space. The playpen can also be configured into multiple shapes configurations such as the shape of rectangle, square, or octagon.

Pros
  • Easy to assemble
  • Great for unsecured yards or camping trips
  • 8 or 16 panels in a range of heights
Cons
  • 40-inch panels may allow dogs to escape
  • Dogs have to hop over the bottom to get inside

Frequently Asked Questions

What are outdoor dog kennels used for?

Outdoor kennels can offer shelter to your dog while they’re outside. You can even leave the door open if the rest of your yard is safe and secure, so your dog has access to shade and shelter when they need it. They can also help keep your dog safe in yards that are unfenced or aren’t fully secure when you can’t keep an eye on your dog.

Are outdoor kennels good for dogs?

This depends on a range of factors, including your dog’s preferences and how you use the kennel. When keeping a dog as a pet, it’s always preferable to keep them in your home with you than in a kennel, but kennels can provide shelter when your dog’s outside and keep them from getting into mischief. When it’s a choice between crating your dog indoors while you’re out of the house or letting them spend time in a spacious outdoor kennel, many dogs would prefer the outdoor kennel. Of course, this depends on the weather, as your dog won’t be safe or comfortable in an outdoor kennel on a hot or cold day unless the kennel is climate-controlled.3

Do dog kennels require planning permission?

Commercial dog kennels require planning permission in many areas, but a standard dog kennel for general use shouldn’t do so. That said, if you’re planning to erect a large, permanent dog kennel, you should check if it will require a planning permit before you get started.

How big should a dog run be?

If you’re looking for a dog run, it should be at least 3 feet wide (or 4 feet for dogs over 100 pounds) and 10 feet long. However, it doesn’t hurt to go bigger.

Article Sources

Pet News Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Burke A. How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need Every Day? Akc.org. Published January 15, 2019. Accessed January 6, 2022.
  2. Hunt M, Daigle C, Croney C. Promoting the Welfare of Kenneled Dogs: Space Allocations and Exercise. Extension.perdue.edu. Accessed January 6, 2022.
  3. Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. Safe Outdoor Temperature for Dogs. Healthypawspetinsurance.com. Published January 2, 2018. Accessed January 6, 2022.