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.
While this was Dr. Whittenburg’s top choice, she also offers a series of her top tips for what to look for in choosing the best outdoor dog kennels, a section on who should avoid purchasing them altogether, and she personally selected the best kennel for a variety of specific use cases.
The 5 Best Outdoor Dog Kennels
- Best Overall – Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Dog Kennel
- Best Budget – PawHut Heavy-Duty Kennel
- Best Large – ChickenCoopOutlet Backyard Dog Kennel
- Best Heavy Duty – Polar Aurora Outdoor Dog Kennel
- Best Playpen – BestPet Dog Pen
Outdoor Dog Kennels Compared
|Editor’s Picks||Brand||Rating||Covered||Rust resistant||Size|
|Best Overall||Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Dog Kennel||8ft x 4ft x 6ft|
|Best Budget Buy||PawHut Heavy Duty Outdoor Kennel||48in x 41in x 47in|
|Best Large Outdoor Kennel and Run||ChickenCoopOutlet Backyard Dog Kennel||20ft x 10ft x 6ft|
|Best Heavy Duty Outdoor Kennel||Polar Aurora Outdoor Dog Kennel||4ft x 4ft x 6ft or 4ft x 6ft x 8ft|
|Best Playpen||BestPet Dog Pen||Various sizes/adjustable|
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers
In This Article
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 outdoors 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.
Buying Guide: 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.
- Consider the material that the kennel is made from – Heavy-duty metal kennels will last longer, and they should ideally be coated for protection.
- 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 by some dogs.
- 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 set on the grass, this feature may not be as important.
- 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. Kennel size will be different than determining how big you’d want a dog crate to be.
- 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.
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.
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 for 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 Kennel Reviews
1. Best Overall – Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Dog Kennel
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 protect them from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- Easy to assemble
- Waterproof and UV-resistant cover
- Fairly spacious at 8 by 4 feet
- Latching gate
- Could be sturdier
- The cover isn’t especially thick
2. Best Budget – PawHut Heavy-Duty Kennel
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.
- Narrow bar spacing prevents escapes
- The striped polyester cover provides shade
- Simple assembly with no tools required
- The cover isn’t fully waterproof
- Only suitable for small dogs
3. Best Large – ChickenCoopOutlet Backyard Dog Kennel
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.
- UV-resistant cover protects from rain and sun
- This is a larger option than most
- The wrench needed for assembly is included
- Chain link can tangle during assembly
- Not the heaviest-duty option
4. Best Heavy Duty – Polar Aurora Outdoor Dog Kennel
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, but 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.
- A pitched roof allows rain and debris to run off
- It’s available in two sizes
- Assembly is fairly straightforward
- Smaller size; best for short-term use
- The latch could be improved upon
5. Best Playpen – BestPet Dog Pen
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 a rectangle, square, or octagon.
- Easy to assemble
- Great for unsecured yards or camping trips
- 8 or 16 panels in a range of heights
- 40-inch panels may allow dogs to escape
- Dogs have to hop over the bottom to get inside
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
- Burke A. How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need Every Day? Akc.org. Published January 15, 2019. Accessed January 6, 2022.
- Hunt M, Daigle C, Croney C. Promoting the Welfare of Kenneled Dogs: Space Allocations and Exercise. Extension.perdue.edu. Accessed January 6, 2022.
- Healthy Paws Pet Insurance. Safe Outdoor Temperature for Dogs. Healthypawspetinsurance.com. Published January 2, 2018. Accessed January 6, 2022.