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Updated Aug 10, 2023 3:11 PM

Setting up your four-legged friends with a cozy place to rest, like a dog house, is one of the easiest ways to help them feel secure. Dogs crave companionship, true, but they are also denning animals that need a space where they can go to get away if they are stressed or seek a break from typical household traffic. Granting your dog a dedicated sanctuary—whether it’s a dog crate or a full-fledged dog house—is a surefire way to bring them peace of mind in a communal space and provide a predictable place for them to park for naps, to shelter from inclement weather, and to use as a home base. While choosing the best dog house for your pet can seem tricky due to the many variations and styles available on the market, we’ve kept a few simple factors in mind so you can pick from a list that guarantees a perfect fit for your pooch.

How we chose the best dog houses

We’re big dog lovers at Popular Science. There’s no shortage of gear to buy for your canine, but we look for items that can genuinely help improve your pet’s life. Our dog house selections provide valuable shelter from both the cold and the heat. We examined the quality of build materials, size, appropriateness for different breeds, insulation, ventilation, and price. We also considered user reviews in compiling our list of recommendations.

The best dog houses: Reviews & Recommendations

Whether you’ve got a terrier who loves to bask in the sun or an older dog that can use some insulation during the winter months, these dog houses can help keep your pet stay safe and cozy through the seasons.

Best overall: MidWest Homes for Pets Eillo Folding Outdoor Wood Dog House

Midwest Homes for Pets

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Specs

  • Sizes: Small, medium, large
  • Dimensions: Medium (25.24 inches D x 40.6 inches W x 29.1 inches H)
  • Materials: Wood, asphalt, metal
  • Weight: 35.7 pounds

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Made of wood
  • Comes in three sizes

Cons

  • Insulation kit has to be ordered separately

The Eilio Folding Outdoor Wood Dog House checks all the major requirements for shelter for your canine. Made of water-resistant wood, this dog house comes in a beige stain that’s attractive while easily able to blend in with the surroundings. The roof is made of asphalt to protect against the elements, and the elevated floor keeps dogs off the wet ground. This model is available in small, medium, and large sizes to fit a range of breeds. If you’re looking for an insulated dog house, you can purchase a tailored kit for each size. Setup is easy and doesn’t require any tools. And the dog house comes with a one-year warranty. Add another layer of comfort with a dog bed.

Best all-weather: Petsfit Wooden Dog House

Petsfit

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Specs

  • Sizes: Small, medium, and large
  • Dimensions: 19 inches D x 41 inches W x 27.5 inches H (medium)
  • Materials: Finnish spruce, stainless steel, asphalt
  • Weight: 46.3 pounds

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Waterproof
  • Easy to assemble and clean
  • Comes in three sizes

Cons

  • Some users say the wood is lightweight and flimsy
  • Not insulated

Available in three sizes (small, medium, and large) and multiple colors (grey, light grey, red, and yellow and white), this dog house from Petsfit offers ample protection for your pup, regardless of size. It uses stainless steel hardware and asphalt shingles to offer a durable shelter. The roof can be opened up for easy cleaning. A raised floor keeps your pet from dealing with the soggy ground.

Best for small breeds: WARE Premium Plus A-Frame Dog House

Ware

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Specs

  • Sizes: Small, medium, large, and extra large
  • Dimensions: Small (20 inches L x 28 inches W x 30 inches H)
  • Materials: Wood
  • Weight: 32.6 pounds

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Waterproof
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • A few users said the product arrived with broken parts
  • Some extra parts (including door) sold separately

Just because you may not be able to afford a rustic cabin in the woods doesn’t mean you can’t help your Chihuahua lead its best life. WARE’s Premium Plus A-Frame Dog House is a top-of-the-line house for small dogs. This modern dog house will likely inspire some envy with its architectural look, but it’s also designed with waterproof shingles to protect from the elements. Unfortunately, a door, porch, and insulation kit are considered add-ons and are sold separately, but this house does come with adjustable feet that keep your pooch away from the ground. And this modern dog house is available in sizes from small to extra large to accommodate a range of breeds.

Best extra-large: Confidence Pet XL Waterproof Plastic Dog Kennel

Confidence

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Specs

  • Sizes: One
  • Dimensions: 41 inches D x 38 inches W x 39 inches H
  • Materials: Plastic
  • Weight: 29.5 pounds

Pros

  • Insulated
  • Waterproof
  • Durable

Cons

  • Some users report plastic panels aren’t easy to assemble
  • May be affected by strong winds

Looking for a big dog house for your Newfie or a Great Dane? This kennel from Confidence Pet is sized for large dogs, with an exterior that’s 41 inches long, 38 inches wide, and 39 inches tall. It has a wide entrance for easy access and is constructed out of waterproof plastic for easy assembly and enduring protection in the rain and snow. Two air vents allow your pet to stay cool in hot weather—an essential feature for any extra-large dog house.

Best double: PawHut Wood Cabin-Style Elevated Pet Shelter

PawHut

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Specs

  • Size: One (comes in grey and natural wood)
  • Dimensions: 59 inches L x 63.5 inches W x 39.25 inches H
  • Materials: Fir wood
  • Weight: 85 pounds

Pros

  • Rustic look
  • Designed for two dogs
  • Raised construction protects pets from moisture

Cons

  • Some users say it’s cheaply made
  • Expensive
  • Not large enough for big dogs

This durable pet shelter from PawHut is made of solid fir wood and has a total weight capacity of 286 pounds, making it one of the sturdiest and best double dog houses available. This large doghouse has a raised design and a big basking porch leading to its two living rooms with vinyl-curtained doorways. A hinged asphalt-finished roof offers plenty of protection for various weather conditions while still allowing easy cleanup, and its large side windows promote a healthy degree of airflow.

Best indoor: Casual Home Wooden Large Pet Crate and End Table

Casual Home

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Specs

  • Sizes: Five 
  • Dimensions: 27.5 inches L x 20 inches W x 24 inches H
  • Materials: Wood 
  • Weight: 28.25 pounds

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Doubles as an end table
  • Comes with lockable gate

Cons

  • Will show chew marks
  • Some users said the materials weren’t high quality

This dog crate from Casual Home doubles as a stylish end table, making it one of the best indoor “dog houses” for any space. It sports functional mission-style side slats for good ventilation, and the locking gate keeps your pet cozy and secure overnight or while you’re out. Its top offers ample space for lamps, beverages, and more. For another portable crate option, consider the Diggs Revol Dog Crate.

Best for travel: Diggs Enventur Inflatable Dog House

Diggs

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Specs

  • Sizes: Small, medium, large
  • Dimensions: Small (27 inches L x 18 inches W x 20 inches H)
  • Materials: PVC, nylon mesh, metal 
  • Weight: 13 pounds

Pros

  • Easy to transport
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Expensive

Even traveling, having a few familiar comforts from home is nice for you. Your dog is no different, so Digg’s Enventur Inflatable Dog House is super cool. Developed as part of a Kickstarter campaign, this dog house combines the durable PVC used in inflatable kayaks, bite-resistant mesh, and rust-resistant metal that can withstand the elements. Using the included adapter, you can inflate it with a standard manual or electric air pump in minutes. It’s designed with D-rings that attach inside your car to keep your pet secure as you travel to your destination. The floor and walls are cushioned to ensure a relaxing experience for your pooch, and mesh windows provide plenty of ventilation. And when you’re ready to pack up, the Enventur folds down flat and comes with handles for easy carry. It comes in small, medium, and large.

Best budget: Pet Republic Dog House

Pet Republic

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Specs

  • Sizes: Two (medium and large)
  • Dimensions: 27.17 inches W x 25.6 inches D x 27.16 inches H
  • Materials: Plastic
  • Weight: Not available

Pros

  • Provides ventilation
  • Weather resistant
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Some users found it hard to assemble

If you’re in the market for cheap dog houses, consider this shelter from Pet Republic. This model is set apart from other budget dog houses by its thoughtful use of an elevated floor for better isolation during rain and a system of buckles and screws for assembly. It has an entrance of 17.7 inches tall and 10 inches wide, making it perfect for small to medium dogs of every kind, and it’s fairly lightweight, allowing users to move it about space as needed.

Things to consider when shopping for the best dog house

Your pet’s safety and comfort are paramount when picking the best dog house. Here are the factors you should take into consideration before making a purchase.

Materials

Dog house materials and insulation are another key design variant that determines whether an outside dog house suits your specific needs. Dogs living in temperate locations or spending equal time indoors and outdoors may do well with a standard wooden dog house for ample protection from mild rain or sunny days. Pets living in snowy or wet locales that reach lower temperatures, meanwhile, will gain much more from having a properly insulated dog house to provide their shelter (of course, pets should never be left unattended outdoors in freezing temperatures, so these dog products are meant as a short-term shelter for outdoor stays in bad weather).

Weather

While many designs of outdoor dog houses are available, only certain models offer a level of flexibility suitable for long-term use in various weather conditions. Wooden dog houses are fantastic for a temperate climate and dogs that primarily reside indoors. Still, if you’re looking to be prepared for any possible scenario, an insulated model finished with durable plastic will deliver in spades.

Insulated plastic designs are some of the best outdoor dog houses available due to their ability to withstand normal wear and tear from extreme environmental factors, including ultraviolet light, rain, and frost. This toughness allows them to provide consistent protection for your dog at a level superior to regular wood and to last much longer than less durable constructions, making them more effective in a wider range of situations. The plastic also provides a stable shell for foam insulation to reside within, which can add to the consistency of your pet’s comfort in cold and hot weather. Adjustable window vents and elevated flooring are other key aspects found in the best outdoor dog house designs, which provide a customizable level of comfort in any season and add resistance to flooding and excess cold.

Size of dog

It’s easy to see larger dogs as more resilient and more tolerant of the discomfort brought on by the elements, but they need shelter and comfort just as much as smaller pets. Of course, protecting your large dog from harsh sunlight and cold winds can pose a, well, bigger challenge if you’re dealing with a limited amount of outdoor space, so it’s crucial to select a properly sized design that provides ample shelter without introducing a cumbersome or restrictive obstacle to your yard.

The best extra-large dog houses on the market are constructed from durable plastics that are both lightweight and waterproof, allowing them to perform leaps and bounds above alternative wooden designs when it comes to flexibility. Besides, wooden constructions in this size class tend to be heavy and difficult to move around when needed. And, unlike most wooden dog houses, plastic designs also won’t require any extra finishing on the user’s part if they want true waterproof performance.

Number of dogs

Pet owners with more than one dog may prefer a double dog house over a traditional offering due to their fun apartment-style designs and space-saving efficiency. Double dog houses provide the perfect alternative to buying multiple outdoor shelters at once and also offer your pets the option of sticking together rather than having separate dwellings, which is an important consideration for these companionship-driven pack animals.

When shopping for the best double dog house for your yard, you may want to maximize your space by selecting a design that offers a dedicated exterior common area, like a porch or basking area. Models that integrate thoughtful features like this allow your dogs to enjoy extra comfort and convenience not normally afforded by resting on the ground. As is the case with single outdoor dog houses, the best double dog house should also be elevated somewhat to achieve better insulation and isolation from snow, ice, and water.

Size of house

Proper sizing is one of the most significant and misunderstood factors that come into play when shopping for the best dog houses for family pets. While traditional human-centric logic may suggest that a dog house with extra interior space to spare is more desirable, the opposite is actually true when it comes to dogs. 

Sure, an extra-large dog needs an extra-large dog house, but there’s actually no benefit, and there may be a detriment, to an extra-extra-large design. A model that’s too big for your pet won’t retain their body heat like a snug design, which is especially crucial to consider when shopping for an outdoor dog house that can be used in cold weather. In addition, dogs in the toilet training process are prone to soiling a designated area in their dog house if given the space to comfortably do so without messing in their resting area. For these reasons, it’s generally recommended that dog houses offer no more space than required for your pet to enter, turn around, and comfortably lie down.

Decor

The best indoor “dog houses” combine the elegance and simplicity of fine home furnishings with the security and comfort that only a dedicated shelter can provide. To avoid ending up with an indoor den that’s intrusive or cumbersome, it’s a good idea to choose a piece that can blend in with your existing furniture collection and provide some measure of versatility by doubling as an end table or other useful piece of furniture. Doing so will ensure that you not only save valuable indoor space, but also you end up with a resting place for your dog that’s much more durable and lasting than a traditional plush indoor dog house.

Many indoor options include swiveling containment doors and function more as dog crates, which is useful for providing an extra level of security and comfort for your dog, as well as a measure of discipline and regularity. An indoor sanctuary with a closing door can keep your pet safely contained in short-term situations where you don’t want them roaming around (say, when you’re running errands or seeing a movie) and help them grow accustomed to a bedtime and wake-up routine.

Price

A sturdy dog house that provides reliable comfort and protection isn’t exactly easy to find on the cheap, but if you’re willing to make a few compromises and forgo some of the flexibility found in more pricey offerings, you can find a suitable model for low-impact use on a budget. The best inexpensive choices are more sheds than houses and are made of durable plastics that offer natural resistance to the weather, allowing your pet to stay dry and the structure to last. Due to the fact that wood is both more absorbent and more expensive than plastics, this is actually one of the more desirable features of less expensive plastic dog houses.

Insulated dog house models are also difficult to acquire on a budget, and it’s important to note that waterproof plastic isn’t really meant for prolonged shelter in inclement weather. Adjustable ventilation is also not typically found at a lower price point, but choosing a house with static vents is a great way to ensure your pet stays cool and comfortable in hot weather.

FAQs

Q: How much does a dog house cost?

Dog houses range in cost from $50 for plastic options that provide basic shelters to luxury dog houses modeled on multimillion-dollar homes that can cost thousands of dollars, such as the Beam House. While compiling our list of the best dog houses, we prioritized durability and value.

Q: What is the best dog house for cold weather?

An insulated dog house made of durable plastics is best for extended cold-weather protection. Look for a design with an interior floor elevated off the ground, as this will provide further isolation from the elements on cold and wet days.

Q: Is it cheaper to build or buy a dog house?

Though it may be cheaper to build a dog house, it’s difficult to quantify the difference between a good pre-made plastic dog house and a hand-built wooden design. A well-made plastic design is durable and weatherproof on a long-term basis right out of the box, while a wooden build will require much more finishing and insulation despite the small cost savings.

Q: What makes a good dog house?

The best dog houses are sized properly for the intended occupant to increase their warmth and comfort. Whether made of wood or plastic, choosing a design that specifically accommodates the local climate is essential to provide the protection your dog requires.

The final word on the best dog houses

Finding the best dog house for your canine companion comes down to ensuring that the size is appropriate for their breed and that the material is appropriate for the environment where it will be used. While wood is a great material for outdoor dog houses in temperate locations, insulated plastic is the preferred construction for wetter and colder climes. The best designs should have an elevated floor to isolate your pet from the elements. Allowing your dog access to its own comfy space is important for maintaining its sense of comfort and security while protecting its long-term physical and emotional well-being.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.