Many pets love to spend time outdoors with their human families, and providing them with a shelter of some sort to escape the elements is a good idea. A dog will love to get a bit of fresh air, even more often than just when it’s time for him to go to the bathroom and with a doghouse, you can give him one more way for him to feel safe. Not only will he gain extra protection from your environment, but you’ll also be giving him a space that is his and only his. You’ll want to make sure you’re getting the right dog house for your pup, though and that can be an involved process. Don’t stress the decision, though, because we’ve done your homework for you.
We reviewed dozens of outdoor dog houses to identify the best of the best. We considered the size of the structure you may need, what materials would provide you with the most longevity, and insulation for extreme temperatures. No matter what type of dog house you’ll need, we have you covered.
Very early in our research we found the Petsfit Outdoor Wooden Dog House and determined it was the obvious choice for our top pick spot. It stands out with a classic design that will be a beautiful addition to your yard. It will give your dog shelter and comfort that he just won’t get anywhere else.
The 5 Top-Rated Outdoor Dog Houses
|Best Overall||Petsfit Outdoor Wooden Dog House||4.3|
|Runner Up||Petmate Aspen Petbarn Dog House||4.7|
|Best Budget Buy||Pet Republic Dog House||4.6|
|Best Wooden Outdoor Dog House||Giantex Wooden Dog House||4.1|
|Best Plastic Outdoor Dog House||Bonnlo Plastic Outdoor Dog House||4.5|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Petsfit Outdoor Wooden Dog House
The Petsfit Outdoor Wooden Dog House is a house that features a covered porch area as well as weatherproof interior space. It is available in a choice of five different sizes to suit dogs of all breeds, and features a removable floor for easy cleanups, and lift-up top so you can interact with your pet as well as make decorate or add in beds or blankets to make the home more comfortable for your fur baby.
There is a window along the front of your pup’s new home that will let him enjoy his home without any interruption in his fresh air that he will be getting outside while still having enough of a roof that the bulk of rain coming down can’t be blown into the house. The door even has flaps included so that he’ll be able to really maximize his rain protection.
With over 1400 customer reviews on Amazon this dog house has an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars and that’s plenty enough to convince us that it’s a winner.
Petsfit Outdoor Wooden Dog House Key Features:
- Optional insulation kit is available
- Adjustable plastic feet
- Pre-drilled holes for ease of assembly
Our Runner Up Pick: Petmate Aspen Petbarn Dog House
Help keep your pet comfortable in all seasons with the Petmate Aspen Petbarn Dog House, a more than durable outdoor dog house. It boasts a 100% heavy-duty plastic construction to provide your dog with a an outdoor home for years to come. The roof is removable for easy cleanups,
Combined with the easy-installation—with absolutely no tools necessary—this well-made dog house fits the bill for any dog (provided that he’s under 50 pounds) and his owner.
With just over a 150 reviews on Amazon, there may not be a huge, impressive number of customers that have come back to review it, but with a quick glance, or even a deep read into these reviews and you’ll see the reason it’s our runner-up: 79% of reviewers gave it a full 5 out of 5 stars, with a further 17% giving it 4 stars. It has an incredibly high overall rating of 4.7 stars and you can pick it up for just $78.
Petmate Aspen Petbarn Dog House Key Features:
- Suitable for dogs up to 75 pounds
- Made in the USA
- Tool-less assembly
Best Budget Pick: Pet Republic Dog House
Constructed from durable plastic, the Pet Republic Dog House features a sturdy frame and thick, elevated floor to help protect your furry friend from outside forces. The door of this house is wide to make sure he’ll have plenty of space to walk in and lie down. This outdoor dog house no doubt has a simple, minimalist design, so it’s ideal for anyone who isn’t looking for any bells and whistles.
It has an overall rating of 4.6 stars from over 110 customer reviews. But that’s not even the best part. It will set you back less than $70 – and that’s no doubt a very reasonable price considering how well made it is!
Pet Republic Dog House Key Features:
- Elevated floor
- Minimalist design
- Dual vents
Best Wooden Outdoor Dog House: Giantex Wooden Dog House
The Giantex Wooden Dog House is an outdoor dog house that’s constructed from durable fir wood, painted with weather-resistant, water-based paint, and and treated with natural color stains. This makes it one of the most well-constructed wooden options on the market.
As you can see, the Giantex Wooden Dog House doesn’t look like a typical dog house—it boasts a rooftop balcony for your dog to play or laze on. If you’re worried that its two-level design will make it difficult to clean, don’t. The balcony is fully removable, so you won’t have trouble keeping this dog house sparkling clean. Other noteworthy features include its elevated floor and wide door for easy access. It’s also very easy to assemble, with all components included. The only problem we noted is that it’s only suitable for smaller dogs.
With an overall rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon, there’s plenty of reasons it’s a smart buy. And to pick up such a high quality solid wood dog house for under $100 like this? It’s absolutely worth a good, long consideration.
Giantex Wooden Dog House Key Features:
- Made with durable fir wood
- Easy and quick to assemble
- Removable balcony for easy cleaning
Best Plastic Outdoor Dog House: Bonnlo Plastic Outdoor Dog House
The Bonnlo Plastic Outdoor Dog House is an attractively-styled dog house made out of durable polypropylene that measure 43.5 x 26.4 x 27.1 inches. It features an easy-to-assemble design that will provide your furry friend with a place to call home in no time.
Every element is constructed to be long-lasting and weather-resistant. For example, the slanted A-frame style waterproof roof prevents water from pooling, while the elevated floor helps to prevent the house from become wet and dirty. Other great features include its air vents to promote air circulation, easy-to-clean design, and sturdy door.
There are relatively few customer reviews for this dog house on Amazon (around 50), but it’s worth keeping in mind that they’re overwhelmingly positive. The Bonnlo Plastic Outdoor Dog House has an overall average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, which represents one of the highest customer ratings on the market. Interested in trying it out for yourself? You can pick one up for $112.
Bonnlo Plastic Outdoor Dog House Key Features:
- Air vents
- Elevated floor
- Made out of durable polypropylene
Who Should Buy an Outdoor Dog House
If you have an “inside” dog, then you may think of an outdoor dog house as an extra expense you just don’t need. But the truth is, even inside dogs will need the occasional “outdoor” dog house. If you have a yard, then letting your dog enjoy the outdoors may just be the best part of his day. Not only is outside the environment your dog’s ancestors were meant for, the fresh air will give him a good sense of the area and of his home; all its parts. You may find your dog scratching on that back door to get outside more than you expect when you first get him; certainly more than just for potty breaks. That fresh air can do his adjustment and overall mental health wonders. While you’re outside, he’ll want to be outside but he’ll need a fast break from a blistering sun. After all, he doesn’t sweat, he’s covered in fur, but he doesn’t wear the big parka you have. You’re going to have to take more precautions to make sure he’s enjoying his yard without overheating or freezing.
If you don’t have a yard, you may also think a dog house isn’t for you. After all, where would you put a dog house if your pup lives in an apartment with you? Well, traveling with a collapsible, soft dog house that transports well is an invaluable asset for your dog. Sure, you love to take him to the beach and let him lay out in the sun with you, but when you’re in the water, he may want a rest. When your lying in the sun, he could use a bit of shade. A portable outdoor dog house can help your dog be as well-traveled as you are. And a portable dog house pulls double duty as a crate for your hotel room, too. That means you can minimize your cleaning fees and you’ll be a more conscientious house guest; no matter where you are, if your pup is with you, a portable dog house is perfect for keeping your dog involved in your busy life.
That should cover the people who need the doghouse but don’t expect to, but we can’t write an article without covering the obvious need: the dog who spends a lot of time outside. If you live in a “temperate” climate and your dog primarily lives outside, then of course you need a dog house for him and of course he will still need shelter from the occasional rain or sunshine You may just need to make sure you’re checking for all the features and needs your outside dog has. After all, the outside world can get a bit overwhelming and having a place that is all his to retreat will help his overall feeling of security.
If your dog stays inside but still needs his own safe space to relax and call his own, check out our reviews of the best large dog crates and the best small dog crates.
Important Features to Consider
A outdoor dog house should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting an outdoor dog house:
- Air ventilation. It will only be minimal help for your dog to be in the shade and out of the blistering sun if his reprieve offers him no fresh air. And while his breathe may help to warm his house in the cold, if he’s only breathing in his own recycled breath, he’s not getting enough oxygen. You’ll want to look for a dog house that has ventilation on the sides or on the top, mostly. But keep in mind that with those air vents, you still need to protect the beloved pet inside from the rain. It’s a careful balance to find a dog house with air vents that will give plenty of air flow without exposing your pup to rain or allowing in too much sunshine. Be sure to read those reviews and check the pictures while also considering the frequency of your pup’s use.
- Insulation. Insulation can come in varying degrees, but if your dog is going to be outside in extreme temperatures, either hot or cold, a bit of insulation is a good idea to look into for him. You can get a dog house as insulated as your home, but of course, you will pay a steeper price tag for that. But even just an additional layer to the exterior wall will give a bit more comfort for your dog and that will go a long ways toward keeping him safe. (Reminder: Make sure your dog always has access to clean water; especially in hot temperatures.)
- Portability. If you plan on your dog’s house being used regularly and always in the same spot, then you may not need to worry about how easily it moves. However, if you choose a dog house that is meant for something more versatile, then taking your pup with you on your adventures becomes a real possibility. Even if you don’t take your dog with you as you travel, and even if you don’t have any real need in your day to day, you may still want to consider a collapsible dog house just for the sake of emergencies. And while “emergency” may not mean a life or death scenario, you’ll certainly feel better to have one handy “just in case” your pup needs a shelter for extreme or inclement weather.
- Assembly required. If treated according to instructions, there are a lot of similarities in the longevity of wood and plastic dog houses, so comparing the quality of the two seems moot. For a lot of people, it’s the assembly that really make the two stand apart. Plastic dog houses will typically come in very few pieces and require much less assembly. The wood houses usually require a bit more work, but in those cases, they will often come with pre-drilled holes and very detailed instructions. It is definitely worth a look at the item details and/or the customer reviews to make sure you are up to the task of a more complicated assembly.
- Elevation. You want to make sure that you’re getting a dog house that fits the spot you’ve pick out. And when picking the spot, you’ll need to find a place that is elevated at least enough to prevent flooding being an issue. However, if that isn’t an option in the space you have (and it isn’t always), you’ll want to pay particularly close attention to how much higher the entrance of the dog house is than the ground level. Messes come from spilled water bowls and food dishes and any number of things, particularly when a puppy is involved and lifting his house a bit off the ground will give it a bit of protection from which he can really benefit.
- Porches, windows, and doors. You may be inclined to make a dog house look like a full-fledged home. They can come with pretty much anything to make your pups house look like yours; a porch, window or a door are the most popular of these additional “house” features. This is mostly just a matter of personal preference, but there are a couple things you’ll want to keep in mind. For a porch, this will be cute, sure, but it also give your dog a transition that will let your pup wipe his feet a bit before he goes into his home and a place to lounge up off the ground, and possibly avoid the mud that can be caused by rain or flooding. A door is a bit less of a pro, as it can limit your dog’s air flow, but it will come in handy when not in use by your dog, so as to protect his interior from wildlife and the elements. Same things will want to be considered with those window – will they let in more sunlight than air? Is the extra ventilation worth the exposure to rain or snow?
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a dog house and how do you use one?
A dog house is a structure that will offer some kind of protection to your dog. Most often, it’s a simple, four wall, single roof structure that is just big enough to fit your dog comfortably whether he is standing or lying down. There will be a door that he can easily gain access to and the house will usually be elevated at least a bit to avoid the dirt, water, or mud of the ground. It is sometimes also referred to as a dog shed or perhaps even kennel, and is occasionally kept inside a run or a fenced-in area for your dog to roam freely without risk of escape.
Dog houses can be made of a wide variety of materials, but the big three are wood, plastic, and fabric. Fabric will offer protection against sun and wind but not so much rain. It will be a tent of sorts and while it’s great option for temporary shelter, it’s not ideal for an every day use. Wood will be the most complicated to put together but probably the most visually appealing and may offer a more consistent temperature with slightly more insulation. Plastic is a bit more waterproof and will be incredibly easy to put together, but will be effected by extreme temperature (more likely to break in cold weather and warp in hot.)
Are dog houses good for dogs?
Not only are dog houses good for your dog, they’re an absolute must for most dogs. If your pup spends any amount of time outside and you live in areas with seasons of extreme weather, you’ll need to give him some protection from the elements. That means, along with always having access to fresh water, you need to make sure he has a reprieve from hot sun and blistering wind. As long as they’re properly ventilated then the dog house will protect your dog from the worst of inclement weather and high temperatures.
As with pretty much anything, though, you’ll want to keep in mind a bit of moderation. You don’t want an outdoor doghouse to be your dog’s only protection in extreme weather. Anything too hot or too cold, you should minimize his time outside. If you live in a temperate climate, then an outside dog will adjust well to his environment outside.
How do I get my dog to sleep in his dog house?
Because every dog has a different personality, just like a human, training them is different for every dog. And teaching them to use their dog house can sometimes be just another form of training for them. Due to that, you’ll have the best success using tried and true methods. That is, whatever worked for your dog to become house trained, will likely be an effective method for your dog’s dog house training, as well. Positive reinforcement is usually a good first step, no matter what your dogs trains best with.
You can place treats inside the dog house and once he goes inside the house, lots of words of encouragement will help get him used to the idea. You won’t want to just abandon him and figure he’ll go in eventually. You can take a favorite (or new) toy and play fetch with him but each time you throw it, toss it into the dog house. That will tell him that it’s a safe place and a fun place. And eventually, when he’s tired of playing fetch, he may choose to lie down inside to chew on his toy. You can also try the house inside before you put it outside so he’s used to it in his everyday environment. But be careful of those doors when you’re moving the house from inside to out.
Will dogs share a dog house?
Whether or not two dogs will share one doghouse depends entirely on your dogs’ relationship and their dynamic with one another. Most of the time, there will be a more dominant dog, but if they often fight, the chances that they’ll willingly share is pretty unlikely. Even training them to share will only go so far when you’re not around if the dominant dog has territory issues. A better option will be dividing the doghouse into 2 separate sides so that each has their own space. This argument may be negated, though, if the dogs are more likely to thrive when cuddled or piled up; certain dog breeds are more apt to do this than others, but you know your dogs’ personalities best. If they sleep cuddled next to each other, even when there are plenty of other options, you may have great success with a single dog house.
If your dogs get along great and are on more equal footing (or if the dominant one is a generous overlord), you will still need to make sure that the dog house is actually big enough to fit both your dogs. Both dogs should be able to stand up and turn around at once, so measure accordingly to keep your dogs comfortable and free from suffocation.