The 5 Best Outdoor Dog Kennels

Looking for the best outdoor dog kennel? We’ll quickly dive into the top 5 we’ve found out there. Plus we’ll discuss where to put them and how to outfit them to make your dog the happiest they can be.

You may not have the ideal yard and fence to let your dog outside. That’s where outdoor dog kennels come in. They give your dog a place to play and be outside without constant supervision.

The Top 5 Outdoor Dog Kennels

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Best Heavy Duty Kennel – Top Pick

Our top pick overall for an outdoor dog kennel comes from the Lucky Dog Brand.

This kennel is heavy duty and made from welded steel.

It comes with a waterproof cover that will shield your dog from the elements and give them shade. It’s still key to put this kennel in a partially shaded area as it’s pretty tall and angled sunlight can get through.

This model is also very popular with cat owners. It gives them a safe place to give their cats some outdoor time. You can attach wooden or plastic shelves easily to the sides and make a multi-level outdoor play pen for your cat.

Lucky Dog 60548 8ft x 4ft x 6ft Uptown Welded Wire Outdoor Dog Kennel Playpen Crate with Heavy Duty UV-Resistant Waterproof Cover, Black
  • ASSEMBLED DIMENSIONS - 6'H x 8'L x 4'W with cover installed (5'H without cover installed)
  • HEAVY DUTY WELDED STEEL KENNEL - The Lucky Dog complete box kennel is perfect for residential or professional use. Steel bars and wire mesh are welded before coating to prevent sharp edges that may harm your pet and offers greater rust and corrosion protection.
  • WATERPROOF COVER INCLUDED - The heavy duty waterproof cover and steel roof frame fit the outdoor cage perfectly and the enclosed ends provide your pet with full protection from sun, rain, snow and debris. Added UV protection prevents ripping, cracking, fading or peeling giving you years of worry-free use. Sturdy elastic cords won't break or stretch and hold the cover securely for a snug fit. The roof pitch allows for water, debris and light snow to run off instead of accumulating on the roof.
  • EASY TO CLEAN - 1.5" raised legs make the enclosure easy to sweep or hose out to prevent the buildup of dirt and bacteria, keeping your pet healthy and happy.
  • SIMPLE SETUP - This outdoor dog pen has pre-assembled modular panels that connect quickly and easily using hand tightening clamps, NO TOOLS REQUIRED! Ground anchoring is recommended.

What We Like

  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean – Elevated 1.5 inches off the ground so you can sweep out waste
  • Easy to setup – Build in less than 30 minutes without tools
  • Sturdy Heavy duty design – made of welded steel
  • Includes sun and rain cover
  • Great for cats – it’s tall so you can build cat trees and shelving inside it
  • Ideal for quarantining sick dogs indoors

What We Don’t Like

  • Ground anchors not included

Best Heavy Duty For Small Spaces and Small Dogs

MidWest homes offers our next recommendation. It’s a nice compact model using the more typical chain link fence style or older kennel setups.

This model is an excellent option for small dogs and small spaces. It’s also pretty easy to move around the yard.

It also helps keep the coyotes away. Like all dog kennels it’ll give them a nice outdoor space free from predators.

When I first built my own outdoor pen for my ducks I used a similar design. The big worry was a red fox that kept trying to dig under the sides of the cage.

If you really want to keep any kennel safe from foxes or coyotes then attach chicken wire fence to the base of the kennel. It should extend about a foot from all sides.

Once I set that up fox digging wasn’t an issue. They always dig right next to the cage. Once they hit the chicken wire they stop digging.

MidWest Homes For Pets Chain Link Portable Kennel with a Sunscreen, 6 by 4 by 4-Feet
  • Super spacious dog kennel. Chain link kennel offers plenty of room for exercise and play in the great outdoors. Each dog kennel measures 6L x 4W x 4H feet, weighs 76 pounds and is ideal for small dog breeds
  • Durable outdoor dog kennel, strong galvanized steel frame and chain-link mesh construction provides extra stability to ensure years of use with little upkeep or maintenance
  • Free sunscreen for outdoor Safety. Large Dog kennel includes a free protective woven polyethylene fabric sunscreen that provides 80% sunblock
  • Convenient, safe and secure, full entry door provides easy acccess and secure latch ensures your dog is safely held inside the dog kennel
  • Midwest Quality Guarantee, 1-year Manufacturer's Warranty on all parts

What We Like

  • Compact
  • Sturdy
  • Good for small dogs like Yorkies and chihuahuas that don’t need the extra height of other models
  • Shorter so the sunshade provides more shade with angled sunlight
  • Keeps the coyotes away

What We Don’t Like

  • Chain Link annoying to install
  • Need additional tie straps to connect bottom of fence to frame

Best Design and Look for Small Spaces

This model by Neocraft just looks crafty so we included it here. It does the same thing as the MidWest model. It provides a compact kennel for small dogs and small spaces. It just does it with better style.

It uses an updated welded steel cage style that looks a bit better than the classic chain link setup. That welded cage style is also easier to put together.

While it claims to be good for big dogs we recommend this one for smaller dogs. For big dogs we prefer the models that are a bit taller.

Neocraft My Pet Companion Outdoor Dog Kennel with Included Roof Weather Resistant Cover (5.5’), Waterproof Winter Welded Wire Pet House Shelter – Ideal for Any Dog Breed, Easy Assembly
  • WELDED FRAME- This dog crate comes in a welded frame so all you have to do is unfold it to have the basic structure of the crate ready. The welded structure makes it easy to pack up as well!
  • EASY, NO TOOLS ASSEMBLING- This dog kennel comes with an easy to follow no-tools instruction manual. This means all you have to do is attach the ends of the kennel, put on the roof, attach the cover and voila, your heavy-duty dog crate is ready for use!
  • INDOOR/OUTDOOR USE- This pet kennel is designed to be great for both indoor and outdoor use. The easy assembling makes it versatile, so you can have your pet lounge around with you under the sun, or inside away from the cold!
  • IDEAL FOR BIG DOGS- This 66-inch (5.5') dog crate is designed to be roomy even for your big dogs such as the German shepherd, golden retriever, or even a Great Dane! They will have ample room to relax without feeling constricted.
  • DOUBLE DOOR FRONT GATE – This unique double door allows you to open the top, smaller door to play with your pet, change out water bowls, or add food without the worry of your pet escaping.

What We Like

  • Best Aesthetics
  • Great for small dogs
  • Perfect chicken run
  • Combine 2 into 1 larger pen
  • Perfect for camping
  • Great for Parrots
  • Fun for cats
  • Easy clear instructions with pictures for setup
  • Comes apart quickly and easily

What We Don’t Like

Best Outdoor Kennel for Camping or Yards Without Fences

Want a flexible model to install fast and take camping with you? Then this one from Yaheetech is the way to go.

It’s also super popular for yards without fences. You can build this fast and cheap in just about any shape with enough panels.

Fences professional installed can cost up to $15 per foot. You could easily spend thousands on a new fence. With the Yaheetech model you could fence your yard in just an hour or two for a few hundred.

Just beware that this is a short fence and it’s better for small dogs. Plus they should be monitored. It isn’t completely enclosed and coyotes could easily get in and hurt your pet.

Yaheetech 40-Inch 8 Panel Heavy Duty Pets Playpen Dog Exercise Pen Cat Fence with Door Puppy Rabbits Portable PlayPen for Yard, RV, Camping, Indoor/Outdoor,Black
  • 🐶【High Quality Material】This puppy playpen is made of strong and high quality Iron material, sturdy and durable to use.Quantity:1 x 8 Panels Dog Playpen
  • 🐶【Dog Playpens for the House Large dog】Dog exercise pens is constructed from sturdy heavy duty rust resistant metal for increased longevity and durability.Durable pet crate great for indoor or outdoor use.
  • 🐶【Large & Safe Space】32"W x 40"H of each panel. This interactive and expandable pet fence is suitable for small or medium pets, such as toy poodles, corgis, puppies, rabbits, ducks, bunny, perfect for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • 🐶【Creating different shapes】Panels are connected by metal bars, which allow this dog playpen to be flexibly built in different shapes like octagon, square and rectangle in different sizes by adding or removing panels. You can purchase more sets to increase the playpen size.
  • 🐶【Foldable & Easy to Transport】The dog pen is connect by 8 individual panels.The unique fold and carry configuration allows you to transfer the dog pin from your home to vehicle quickly if you need to transfer your pet to another location.

What We Like

  • Includes ground stakes to secure to the ground fast
  • Cheaper than fencing in a yard
  • Build in many shapes – just get more panels
  • Withstands wind well
  • Best for small dogs (24 inch high walls)

What We Don’t Like

  • Too small to leave your pets alone – not protective from hawks, coyotes, and foxes
  • Flawed gate hinges and latches – This can easily be fixed with zip ties

Best Shade Cover For Existing Kennels

Already have a kennel and just need a shade covering? Then this is the brand for you. Keep in mind that this is just a shade covering. It’s ideal for the arid west like Colorado or Utah where sun is a bigger worry than rain.

East of the Mississippi you are better off just using a tarp. That’ll add shade and keep out rain. It’s bad for airflow though.

HomeABC Dog Kennel Shade Cover 90% Sunblock Shade Tarp Panel with Grommets ,10ft x 10ft
  • Only shade cover, not included kennel
  • 10' X 10' , 90% UV resistant rated dog kennel shade cover
  • Breathable meshblocks, dramatically lowering the temperature and creat comfortable pet outdoor space
  • Heavy-duty cover protects your outdoor pet from sun, wind, snow, and light rain. Kennel is not included.
  • Also best for patio,windows,pergola,pool,plant,vegetable,gardenany,car,kennel cover,wedding,outdoor party,playgrounds,where you want it to get shaded

What We Like

  • Great air flow
  • Comes with zip ties
  • Easy to install

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t keep out rain


Are Outdoor Kennels Good For Dogs?

Outdoor kennels are a great tool to have in your arsenal as a dog owner. Indoor dog crates are great for potty training and for dealing with pet anxiety issues. Of course, that requires proper crate training.

Outdoor kennels can be great places for your dog to get some controlled outdoor time. Plus, many models are made to travel and fold up easily for car or RV camping trips.

Many models of kennels are extra tall to allow your dog to jump, a sign of a happy playful dog.

In general look for these signs that your dog is happy in their outdoor kennel:

  • Tail wagging
  • Jumping
  • Attention and head tilting
  • happy ear posed (not pulled back in fear or anger)

Here are a few signs your dog isn’t doing well in an outdoor kennel:

  • Excessive barking
  • Growling
  • Whining
  • Fearful or angry ear positions
  • Excessive chewing
  • Pacing

Where Should I Put My Dogs Kennel Outside?

Choosing a great location for an outdoor kennel can be tough. You want to give your dog partial shade and protection from the elements.

Here’s a few quick tips to consider when choosing an ideal location:

  1. Higher well drained areas
  2. Avoid wet or low spots in the yard
  3. Wooden, concrete, or plastic raised platforms are best to keep their feet dry and free of mud during rains. See our dog flooring article on this topic.
  4. Areas with some shade (or include a shade cover)
  5. Near but not under trees (falling branches can hurt or kill dogs)
  6. Further from your home (avoid smells and barking)

What Should I Put In My Outside Dog Kennel?

What to put in your kennel is as important as where to put it. In general follow these guidelines on stocking and prepping your outdoor dog kennel:

  • Water bowl
  • Flooring material to keep their paws clean and dry during rains
  • Shade and rain cover
  • Place to use the bathroom – Flooring should be slotted to let waste pass through or there should be a non-floored section of the kennel

We love simple, easy kennels like the ones highlighted above. Why? They are easy to move to new parts of the yard. Make sure to choose a flooring material that is also easy to use, move, and clean.