Home Away From Home: Best Outdoor Dog Houses

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Outdoor dog houses provide shelter from the elements and a safe haven to retreat to and rest when playing outside. Take a look at our in-depth buying guide to find the best crib for your pampered pooch!

While the majority of pet parents opt for sharing their home with their pet, it doesn’t mean that outdoor dog houses are becoming obsolete. On the contrary! These backyard shelters are now designed and made better than ever before, as they cater to the needs of pampered pooches that are used to certain comforts. Outdoor dog houses are rarely used as a full-time housing option for pets, but many dog owners still have them to provide shelter and comfort to their pets even when they are outside. Your pooch might just be hanging out with you while you garden, or spending the majority of his time sniffing and napping in your fenced backyard. In either case, having a place where they can retreat to when they want and still stay outdoors is a must-have.

Depending on the time your pet is expected to spend outside, the climate you live in, and the amount of exposure to the elements, you can go for anything from a wooden cabin style dog house to plastic affordable houses. Sometimes, people get an outdoor wooden house for indoor use or to put at their porch, balcony, or deck, so if that’s the case with you, you might want to consider a few more things in addition, from the style of the house to the materials.

Of course, even when you are choosing an outdoor dog house for occasional use, you’ll want the most bang for your buck. Just because your pet is not living their full time doesn’t mean you don’t need something durable, insulated, stylish or all of the above.

What to Look for in Outdoor Dog Houses

As it is usually the case with pet products, outdoor dog houses will also vary greatly, both when it comes to the prices and the quality of the make. Sometimes, though, a high price tag doesn’t necessarily mean the outdoor house is made to last. To make sure you’ll be getting good value for your money, make sure to look out for features and characteristics all the best outdoor dog houses have- as well as those that are suited for your own dog’s unique needs.


Beautiful wooden dog houses might look more attractive and plastic dog houses can be more affordable, but you shouldn’t choose materials of the dog houses with these factors in mind. The two most important things that should interest you when choosing the best material for your dog’s outdoor house is its durability and if it will provide proper shelter for your dog. The material should be weatherproof and suitable for your climate, otherwise, it will show signs of wear and tear in no time- and it will be too cold or too hot for your pet to spend time in it. Once you’re certain that these two basic requirements are met, then you can figure out which of the styles and prices fit your budget and preferences best.


One of the most important things to consider when choosing an outdoor house for your pet is its size. The dimensions of your pet’s home must be appropriate for their breed- their home, even if it’s temporary or part-time, has to be spacious enough for them to be comfortable in it. A good rule of thumb is that your dog’s outdoor house should be big enough for them to comfortably lie down, sit, turn around, and stand in it without being cramped. To make sure their new crib will be tailored to their needs, measure your pet’s length and height (when standing) and add a couple of inches to both of the measurements. The results you get are what the dimensions of the indoor part of the house should be.


Do you plan on moving your pet’s outdoor house from one part of your property to another when need be? Or do you maybe want something that can be folded and taken with you when you travel? Or is your dog’s new outdoor home going to be permanently located in one spot of the yard? These are all important questions to ask yourself before buying an outdoor dog house. If you happen to move a lot or travel with your pet on a regular basis, you might be better off investing in a collapsible or carrier-style home instead of a dog house that has to be assembled and disassembled every time you want to move it.


Even if your pet is not an outside dog, the climate you live in will play an important role in your choice of their outdoor home. And we’re not talking just about materials here. Sure, it is important to pick out weatherproof material that will withstand the elements (and the test of time) and give you the best bang for your buck. But what’s even more important is that your pet is warm or cool enough when spending time in his new home. If you live in an area where winters are cold and temperatures low, a dog house with insulation will be the best choice. Similarly, proper ventilation is a must- to minimize condensation in the winter and allow cool air to circulate in the summer.

Types of Outdoor Dog Houses

Once you know what to look for in outdoor dog houses, the only thing that remains is to pick out a style that will fit your preferences and your pet’s needs. In most cases, certain types of outdoor houses always come with certain features, so your job might very well be finished as soon as you figure out which characteristics are the most important to you- for instance, if you need a weatherproof outdoor dog house, it’s highly likely it will be plastic, as they are the most rugged in the face of the elements. Of course, the choice isn’t always as clear and easy and sometimes compromises have to be made to find something that will fit your pet, you, and your budget. To help you find the type of outdoor dog house you need, we’ve rounded up the most popular styles on the market:

Wooden outdoor dog houses

There’s a good reason why wooden dog houses are so popular: they are gorgeous, they come in various different designs, and they are usually not too expensive. If you need an outdoor dog house for your deck or porch, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that would be a better match than a wooden house in the same stain. However, there are downsides to wooden outdoor dog houses, as well. Wood is more sensitive to the damage caused by the elements, so it will deteriorate if left in the rain, snow, and harsh wind for years. Similarly, these dog houses are not often insulated and suitable for use in colder climates.

Plastic outdoor dog houses

In most cases, plastic outdoor dog houses are the cheapest ones on the market. This isn’t to say that they are not a good choice, though, because their durability will surprise you. Plastic dog houses are usually made from a mold, so it’s a single piece of weatherproof plastic that will keep your pooch snug as a bug. Of course, while they are not as elegant as wood homes for dogs, there are many different designs and choices for plastic houses- a style for anyone’s preference.

Winter (insulated) outdoor dog houses

If your pooch spends time outside even when the temperatures drop, you will have to make sure that they have a warm and cozy spot in the yard to retreat to when needed. Insulated outdoor dog houses are designed to make sure that the biting cold doesn’t bother your pet and that they are still snug and comfy even in the winter months. They also trap your pet’s body warmth inside to keep it toasty or can be used with a heating pad for an added heat boost. In most cases, insulated dog houses are built from plastic, but there are exceptions.

Collapsible (travel) outdoor dog houses

While not outdoor dog houses in the traditional sense of the word, dog tents or collapsible crates can provide temporary outdoor shelter to your pet when you’re out and about. Whenever you need a safe little nook for your pooch to take a nap or go on a time out, these collapsible shelters will come to your rescue: they are often simply unfolded and can be carried with you in the car or packed in a travel bag.

So, you see, the choices are many when you’re on the lookout for best dog outdoor houses. To make sure you’ll be able to find the perfect backyard home for your four-legged companion, we’ve selected 10 most popular and best-reviewed outdoor dog houses to help you narrow down your choice.

1. Editor’s Pick: Giantex Pet Dog House

The two-tier design of this pet house gives your pooch a place to nap in and a spot for a lookout: in other words, anything that a pampered pooch would want when playing in the backyard. If you place a pad or a dog bed on the raised roof, you can make it even cozier! This dog house is made from fir wood and treated with natural color stains, so it is suitable for indoor and outdoor use both, just make sure it’s sheltered from the elements to get the most use out of it. Contrary to what the name hints at, the dimensions of the Giantex Pet Dog House are a better match for toy dog breeds and small dogs.

2. Runner Up: Trixie Dog Club House

Made from weatherproof solid pine and finished with a glazed pine color, this elegant dog house will fit in any backyard. The design of this outdoor house is pretty smart, as the tongue-and-groove exterior is resistant to draft and provides a sort of natural insulation- albeit, it might not be enough for winter months if the weather gets quite cold in your area. Also, the roof is hinged, so you can have easy access to the inside for cleaning or prop it open for added ventilation in the summer heat. Trixie Dog Club House comes in 3 sizes- small/medium, large, and extra large.

3. Best for Indoor: BestPet Indoor/Outdoor Dog House

The BestPet Indoor/Outdoor Dog House is a great choice if you are looking for a dog house that will shelter your pup from the elements but can also be packed up easily to bring along when camping, staying in hotels or visiting friends/family. Lightweight and collapsible, it is easy to set up when you reach your destination.

This dog house is made from durable metal and plastic components, combined with Oxford cloth and mesh cloth. The materials work together to provide thermal balancing properties, keeping your dog cool in the heat of summer and warm when the temperature drops in winter. It provides protection from rain, wind, sleep, snow, and dangerous UV rays. The pitched roof prevents the build-up of snow and other debris by encouraging it to run off effectively.

High-strength support feet elevate the bed off the ground in order to protect your dog from ground moisture. Fully assembled, the dog house measures 35.5” L x 26” W x 34” H. It is the ideal size for small or medium-sized dogs, providing enough space to stretch out and relax.

4. Best Resin: Suncast Outdoor Dog House with Door

Who said that a dog house can’t be both affordable and stylish? This cute outdoor home for dogs is constructed with high-quality, weatherproof resin with a crowned floor. It will hold up in all types of weather without showing signs of wear and tear, and it gives great value for money. The resin is a good insulator, and when you combine that with the fact that this outdoor house has vinyl flap doors, you can rest assured that it will be a good all-season choice in a moderate climate. Suncast Outdoor Dog House is suitable for dogs that weigh up to 100 pounds.

5. Best Wood: Precision Pet Weather-Resistant Log Cabin Dog House

Sometimes, clever design and quality production can ensure that a wooden dog house is more than capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions. This weather-resistant log cabin dog house is one of those examples, as it is made from solid wood and stainless-steel hardware with special features that give its durability and robustness. It has sealed protective coating, raised floor, and a slanted asphalt roof, all of which will make sure your pet is comfy and dry inside his home away from home and that the wood doesn’t suffer as much damage in wet conditions. Precision Pet Weather-Resistant Log Cabin Dog House comes in small, medium, and large size.

6. Best Basic: Aspen Pet PetBarn 3

Easy to clean, easy to assemble, and easy on the wallet- this plastic dog house is a great budget-friendly solution for an outdoor shelter. Naturally mold and rot-resistant, this barn-style house is durable and won’t be bothered by the change of seasons: wind, snow, rain, or sun won’t damage it. If you need something inexpensive and lightweight for your pet to nap in while you’re hanging out in the yard, this could be a perfect match. Aspen PetBarn is available in 4 sizes, for dogs that weigh from 15 to 90 pounds.

7. Best Stylish: Petsfit Wooden Dog House for Small Breeds

This dog house with a porch and a window is as durable as it is stylish. Constructed with kiln-dried cedar, it is weatherproof and rugged, but it wouldn’t hurt if you would shelter it from snow and rain- even if it does hold up well against the elements. With a hinged roof that opens, this elegant dog house is also easy to clean. Petsfit Wooden Dog House is a match for small breed dogs.

8. Best for Winter: Petmate’s Indigo Dog House

The igloo design itself is known to be an excellent warmth-retainer, but it is not the only reason why this dog house is a great choice for a winter dog shelter. Offset doorway prevents wind and snow from getting in, and the heavy-duty construction adds another layer of insulation. It also has good ventilation so condensation won’t be an issue- and with Microban Antimicrobial Product Protection finish, it won’t harbor any mold or bacteria, either. Petmate’s Indigo Dog House is available in medium, large, and extra large size.

9. Best Luxury: PawHut Cabin Style Pet Dog House

Only the best for your pampered pooch, right? Then this dog house with front deck porch could be the posh crib you’ve been looking for. Made from fir wood and with durable asphalt shingles on its roof, this cabin-style home will have no problem withstanding the effects of elements. The roof opens and the floors are removable, and both of these features will make cleaning a breeze. And, as it has an optional divider wall you can install, it can even be a match for two smaller pets rather than just one dog.

10. Best Insulated: ASL Solutions Deluxe Insulated Dog Palace

When you need a winter home away from home for your pooch, insulation is the key. This heavy-duty outdoor house is hard to top when it comes to its warmth-retaining properties, as it boasts 2 to 4 inches of real Styrofoam insulation built in the walls and self-closing insulated door. It’s made from molded plastic and it’s resistant to weather elements. ASL Solutions Deluxe Insulated Dog Palace is designed for medium to large dog breeds.

Can my dog live outside forever?

In theory, dogs can live outside, provided that they have shelter, food, water, and security, but there are many downsides to this. First and foremost, your pet’s social needs can’t be properly met if they are not sharing a home with you, and the lack of interaction will have a significant impact on your pet’s behavior. Also, it can be difficult to make sure that your pet is always safe and comfortable when they are always outside- extreme temperatures, potential predators, and other dangers are always lurking.

What are the influences on my dog if he lives outside?

A dog’s living environment has a great influence on their behavior and overall health. Without adequate shelter, and in some cases that can be difficult to properly provide outdoors, your pet is at the mercy of the outdoor elements such as extreme temperatures in summer and in the winter. This can exacerbate certain health issues such as joint pain or cause them in the long run. Similarly, the mental influence of outdoor living is not negligible- dogs that live only outside often don’t get as much social interaction as they need which can lead to a range of behavioral problems.

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Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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