We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Written By
Updated Apr 5, 2022 8:39 AM

Setting up your four-legged friends with a cozy place to rest 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 just 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 for training. While choosing the best dog house for your pet can seem like a tricky undertaking due to the many variations and styles available on the market, there are only a few simple factors to keep in mind while shopping to guarantee a perfect fit.

A few things to consider when shopping for the best dog houses

Proper sizing is one of the most significant and most 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 as well as a snug design, which is especially crucial to consider when shopping for an outdoor dog house that can see use in cold weather. In addition, dogs who are in the process of toilet training are prone to soiling a designated area in their dog house if given the space to comfortably do so without messing in their own 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.

Dog house materials and insulation are another key design variant that can determine whether a pet house is suitable for your specific needs. Dogs living in temperate locations or who spend equal time indoors and outdoors may do well with a standard wooden dog house for ample protection from mild rain or on 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). Here are our selections for the best dog houses. 

Related: Best dog DNA tests of 2023

They may be called the dog days of summer, but not all pets love them

While there are many designs of outdoor dog houses available, only certain models offer a level of flexibility that’s suitable for long-term use in a variety of weather conditions. Wooden dog houses are fantastic for a temperate climate and dogs that primarily reside indoors, but 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 that of 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 further add to the consistency of your pet’s comfort in both 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.

Best outdoor dog house: Petsfit Wooden Dog House



Available in three sizes (small, medium, and large) and in multiple colors (grey, light grey, red, and yellow and white), this dog house from Petsfit offers ample protection for your pup, no matter their 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 having to deal with the soggy ground.

Just because a dog is bigger, sturdier doesn’t mean they need less protection

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 with regards 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 part of the user if they want true waterproof performance.

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



This kennel from Confidence Pet is sized perfectly 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.

Need to accommodate a whole pack? A double dog house might be the best choice for your yard

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 an extra level of 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, as well as isolation from snow, ice, and water.

Best double dog house: PawHut Wood Cabin-Style Elevated Pet Shelter



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. It features a raised design and has a large basking porch leading to its two living rooms with vinyl-curtained doorways. A hinged asphalt-finished roof offers plenty of protection in a variety of weather conditions while still allowing easy cleanup, and its large side windows promote a healthy degree of airflow.

Don’t let your decor go to the dogs with an indoor dog house that blends right in

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.

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

Casual Home


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 doubles as an end table, offering ample space for lamps, beverages, and anything else one might place on an end table.

If your pet’s needs are basic, you don’t have to splurge

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 cheap 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.

Best budget dog house: Pet Republic Dog House

Pet Republic


This shelter from Pet Republic is set apart by 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 quick and secure 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.


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

An insulated dog house made of durable plastics is the best design for extended cold-weather protection. Look for a design with an interior floor that’s 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 in many cases to build a dog house, it’s rather difficult to quantify the difference between a good premade 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 if it’s to provide the protection your dog requires.

Related: These gadgets can make a pet owners’ life easier.

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, and the best designs should have an elevated floor to ensure that your pet stays isolated from the elements. Allowing your dog access to their own comfy space is important for maintaining their sense of comfort and security while protecting their long-term physical and emotional wellbeing.