Today’s modern dog house does not have the harsh reputation its predecessors did. Instead of being a sad place to send a naughty dog, dog houses are now safe havens for dogs who like to spend time outside. And when you pick out just the right dog house for your furry friend, you can do so knowing it isn’t a harsh place to punish a dog, but rather a relaxing area that offers protection from the elements.
“Nobody likes to be left out in the cold, especially your canine companion. A good dog house can be your pup’s sanctuary or their home away from home when they’re out enjoying the great outdoors. Not only does a dog house help protect them from heat, cold, snow, and rain, it also gives them a safe place to call their own.”
Dr. Chyrle Bonk, DVM
The sky is the limit for dog houses. You can find one that will fit a desired space or shape, one that matches your house, or one for the little diva in your life. And to keep your search simple, we’ve done all the research and put together an updated and revised list of the best dog houses available today.
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Our top picks
We’ve put in hours of of work, combing through products, reading reviews, and researching top sources in the pet community. The result? The best 8 dog houses we could find!
Our top dog house has been a top contender for years due to its durable, versatile structure.
The Petsfit Wooden Dog House is our favorite with good reason. The structure itself is made from cedar wood, which is naturally waterproof and repels fleas and ticks. We love that so much thought has been put into the construction of the Petsfit dog house, from its durability to fun little features to make life easier.
The Petsfit dog house comes with a slated floor, supported with extra rails and feet. Thanks to the positioning of these removable slats, the whole dog house is well ventilated. In addition to the ventilating floor, the Petsfit has an openable roof. With the roof raised, you can clean out the dog house easier or just let in more air on hot days. With a stainless steel frame and brackets, you can rest easy knowing this dog house is durable.
There are 3 color options and 3 size options for the Petsfit Wooden Dog House. The exact size specifications can be found in the listing, making it easy to find just the right fit for your pup. While some assembly is required for the Petsfit, it comes with pre-drilled holes and clear instructions. You can have it up and ready the same day you get it!
Two of our favorite features of the Petsfit dog house are its adjustable legs and asphalt shingles. The legs allow you to create a level raised floor, even if the ground you’re putting it on is uneven. And the asphalt shingles prevent sun damage and keep the house protected from extreme weather, especially when combined with the included door flaps.
Our biggest complaint with the Petsfit is it doesn’t come fully insulated for winter weather. However, you can purchase an insulation kit separately.
- Elevated base
- Slated floor for ventilation
- Easy open top
- Adjustable legs
- Door flap
- Made of cedar and stainless steel
- Doesn’t include winter insulation
- Amazon favorite – Often sells out!
Best for second choice
Our runner-up has so many fantastic qualities to keep your dog safe and comfortable outside.
The Petmate Husky Dog House may be designed for Huskies, but it works well for any medium to large dog. The rugged, durable shell is made from a heavy plastic, perfect for areas with more extreme weather. When combined with a comfy dog pad, the Petmate Husky igloo is a great place for your larger dog to rest outdoors.
One of our favorite things about the Petmate Husky dog house is it includes a rear ventilation flap. With the large, exaggerated entrance, the rear ventilation keeps air moving throughout the dog house, preventing mold buildup. And the shape of the Petmate Husky dog house isn’t just for looks. The geometric design is for an increased load strength, so you know you’re getting a durable, strong house for your pet.
The Petmate dog house only comes in one size and can fit dogs up to 90 pounds. While we definitely wish there were more size options, we can also appreciate a product created for a specific size of dogs. And while the igloo looks a bit complicated, it’s actually super easy to assemble. All you need is a screwdriver, a few minutes, and you’re ready to go!
The Petmate Husky Dog House is our runner-up due to its durability, elevated floor, and well-designed ventilation. We wish it were easier to access the interior, especially for cleaning, and that there were door flaps. But overall, we’re pretty impressed with our runner-up.
- Durable foam plastic material
- Rear ventilation
- Elevated floor
- Made for extreme weather
- No door flaps
- Harder to clean interior
- Only for medium to large dogs
Looking for a dog house on a budget? Look no further! We’ve found an option that is durable and inexpensive!
The Starplast dog house was an easy pick for our budget option. The more traditional-looking dog house is super lightweight and easy to move around if needed. The structure is made from a durable, heavy-duty plastic, so you won’t have to worry about wear and tear.
The Starplast depends on its large door for ventilation, which isn’t something we favor. However, for such an inexpensive option, we understand this lack of additional ventilation. The durability of the UV stabilized material of the dog house is where Starplast really shines. You made need to add extra ventilation and insulation, but this budget dog house will last you a long time.
The Starplast comes in two sizes, small and large, so you can pick the size that works best for your specific pup. The small can hold dogs up to 25 pounds while the large holds dogs up to 50 pounds. No matter which size you get, you’ll be able to put the home together in a few minutes.
- Easy to assemble
- Weather resistant structure
- Poor ventilation
- Requires additional insulation
- Bottom isn’t raised
Best for the indoors
A gorgeous indoor dog house you can customize to match your design and style.
An indoor dog house is going to have different requirements than one for the outdoors. But that doesn’t make finding the right indoor dog house any easier, which is why we’re so impressed by the Petsfit Indoor Dog House. Made specifically to work as a piece of furniture that functions as a dog house, this gorgeous, natural house will make the perfect nook for your fur baby.
Unlike outdoor dog houses, an indoor house doesn’t need as much insulation. However, despite being made for the indoors, Petsfit made this dog house extremely durable. The natural logs are waterproofed with an environmentally safe varnish. And with open gaps on the side, you can rest assured there is plenty of ventilation in this little dog dwelling.
There are technically 4 different size options for the Petsfit Indoor Dog House, but each one is slightly different in style. We prefer the 31x20x20 option because it’s gorgeous, can easily be painted to match a room, and has an openable top. Also, the floor is removable, making it even easier to clean.
We appreciate functional furniture here at The Pets Master, especially if that function is for our very favorite fur baby.
- Functions as furniture
- Easy to clean
- Well ventilated
- Requires work if painting or varnishing
- Not for big dogs
- Woods is too thin to hold heavy pets
Best for the diva
Hear us out – Wouldn’t you want a dog house with a view?
Made from gorgeous, sturdy cedar wood, this two-story pet house by Merry Pet Wood is absolutely stunning. And we just know the little diva in your life is going to love it! The best news of all? Even though we were drawn to the design, the Merry Pet Wood dog house also has substance.
The Merry Pet Wood dog house is crafted with kiln-dried cedar and then stained with natural color. As a result, the gorgeous pet house, fit for royalty, is safe and extremely durable. The top comes off and the bottom can be removed for easy cleaning. Plus, with its raised legs, the Merry Pet Wood Pet House keeps air flowing through and around the house while keeping it safe from the elements.
This pet house suited for a true diva includes a balcony, protected by a beautiful lattice edge. While we’re not big fans of the stairs (many owners replace this with a ramp), we still love to see the creativity of this dog house. Used inside or out, it definitely makes a statement for the most spoiled of our puppers.
- Made with cedar
- Easy to clean
- Simple assembly process
- Raised floor for ventilation
- Only for smaller dogs
- Included ladder difficult for some dogs
- Needs extra insulation for outdoor use
Another example of the quality of a Petmate dog house, from durability to a thorough ventilation system.
With its offset doorway and heavy-duty plastic body, the Petmate Indigo is a fantastic dog house. Even better, it’s one of the less expensive dog houses on our list! We’re huge fans of the Indigo’s raised floor, which keeps your dog away from a cold, wet, or even hot ground.
Ventilation is of huge importance when it comes to a safe dog house. The Petmate Indigo has a fantastic roof ventilation system that keeps fresh air circulating. As a result, your pup will get clean, cool air even in the hottest weather. The Indigo is also made with thick foam plastic, which makes the dog house very durable and naturally insulated.
The Petmate Indigo comes in 3 different sizes, making it perfect for small, medium, or large dogs. And, as is the case with most Petmate products, the Indigo is very simple to put together. We’re huge fans of the antimicrobial protection on the dog house as well the oversized, offset entrance.
- Durable, insulated structure
- Elevated floor
- Ventilation system
- Difficult to clean interior
- Recent reports of poor packaging
A sturdy, gorgeous dog house that is perfect for year-round protection for your pet dog.
Perfect for dogs of all sizes, the Petmate Precision Extreme Outback Log Cabin is made with such quality and attention to detail, you could weather a storm in it! The log cabin design isn’t just for good looks, it’s extremely functional. From the craftsmanship of the structure to the quality of the materials, this is easily one of our favorite dog houses.
The Petmate Precision Extreme has a raised floor to keep your dog dry and cool no matter the weather. Add to that the solid wood construction – this is a heavy dog house! – and the stainless steel hardware and you have one sturdy dog house. A slanted, asphalt lined roof keeps any moisture out and off the roof. Finally, the legs are adjustable, so you can set this up anywhere and be confident in a balanced, stable home away from home for your dog.
We’re huge fans of Petmate and are thrilled to have one more of their products on this list!
- Made with real cedar and stainless steel
- Fits a wide range of dogs
- Designed for the outdoors
- Doesn’t come insulated
- Complaints of dogs chewing through the wood
- Poor shipping material complaints
The last on our list, but definitely not the least, we love the convenience of this foldable dog house.
If construction is not a strength, this is the dog house for you. The no-tools-needed Midwest Homes Eillo is made with water resistant wood and stainless steel hardware, with an asphalt roof. But, unlike some of the other dog houses on our list, these fantastic building materials don’t need to be put together with a hammer and nails: You simply unfold the house!
The leveling feet of this dog house for large dogs keeps it off the ground and also provide ventilation through the planks in the wood. The hinged roof opens to make cleaning out the interior easier than ever. While we’re the first to point out you’ll need extra insulation for this structure, we think it’s worth the convenience of a ready to go dog house.
Not sure you’ll like it? That’s fine! The product comes with a 1 year warranty!
- Foldable design
- Water resistant
- Raised floor
- Hinged roof for easy access
- Needs to be aired out before using
- Some complaints of unstable floor
Benefits of dog houses
The main benefit of a dog house is to provide protection for dogs that like to spend time outdoors. If you have an outdoor dog or one that enjoys time outside, having a designated space where your pup can cool down or warm up is a fantastic idea.
While it’s recommended you don’t leave your dog outside in extreme weather, there’s always a chance it might happen accidently while you’re away from home. During rainy, snowy, or extra hot days, the added protection a dog house provides gives you just a little more peace of mind.
Dog houses are beneficial for anxious dogs, too. While some dogs may not like small spaces, there are those who need their own designated space where they can feel extra safe. By creating an oasis for your fur baby, one with food and water, a comfy bed or blanket, and protection from the elements, you could help decrease their anxiety.
Another benefit is, like crates, dog houses can also be used to sleep train your dog. Similar to anxious dogs, pups struggling to sleep on their own benefit from having a designated sleep area just for them. A dog house, whether indoors or outside, can provide just the right space for a good night’s sleep. Plus, unlike crates, dog houses don’t lock, which provides some autonomy for your dog to come and go.
How to pick the right dog house
The right dog house for you will be the right one for your specific dog. So while we can’t give you a definite list of how to pick the best dog house for your dog, we can give you a list of things to consider when purchasing your house.
You don’t want your dog house to be too small, but you also don’t want it to be oversized. Your dog should be able to move comfortable in and out of the dog house, but there shouldn’t be so much space that they could get cold or feel unprotected.
To get just the right size for your dog, we recommend following these measurement instructions.
Roof – 25% taller than the height of your dog.
Door – 25% shorter than the shoulder height of your dog.
House Length – Slightly longer than the body length of your dog, including tail.
Entryway – Your dog’s height.
There are a wide range of measuring methods for picking out just the right dog house, but we’ve found the one above to offer the most consistent results for an ideal dog house size.
It’s vitally important to have proper airflow in your dog house. In the summer, having good ventilation will prevent your dog overheating. And in the winter, when the dog house is damp and cool, ventilation will prevent the buildup of mold.
In order to get the best ventilation in your dog house, a roof vent or additional door or window can keep air flowing, creating the perfect updraft. Plus, the more air moving through your pet’s dog house, the safer they’ll be.
We’ve all experienced the quick deterioration of a dog toy or bed our fur babies enjoyed a little too hard.
Dogs destroy things.
So, it’s very important when looking for a dog house to find one made of durable, sturdy materials.
Our partnered veterinarian, Dr. Chyrle Bonk, says it best.
“For your dog’s safety, make sure your dog house is durable. It needs to stand up to the elements without falling down around their ears. A little insulation will also go a long way in keeping your best friend comfortable in extreme temps and comforts, like a soft bed, will keep them cozy.”
Dr. Chyrle Bonk, DVM
We go in to more detail on the most durable materials for a dog house in the next section, but now let’s take a look at the importance of insulation.
Going hand-in-hand with proper ventilation is insulation. What’s so great about quality insulation is it doesn’t just work to keep the dog house warm, it moderates temperature change inside the structure. So, in warm weather, if the dog house is already cooler inside, it will stay cooler for longer. And in cooler weather, the body heat of your dog will be trapped in the dog house, keeping it warmer than the outdoors.
Even if you don’t live in an area with extreme climates, having quality insulation in your dog house will give you just a little more peace of mind about the comfort of your dog.
Even with all the considerations we’ve put together for finding the best dog house for your pup, there is still a lot of flexibility when it comes to cost. There are dog houses to fit every budget. As long as you’ve done the research, know what you and your dog needs, and feel confident in its quality, there’s no reason to break the bank purchasing a dog house. Get the best one you can for the price you can afford.
The best materials for a dog house
One of the biggest factors you’ll want to keep in mind when picking out your dog house is what the main material should be. There are several options, but we’ve narrowed them down to our top 3 recommendations, the most common dog house materials on the market.
Wooden dog houses
Wood is definitely one of the most common and popular materials with which to build a dog house. The material is durable enough to stand up to some wear and tear and works as a natural insulator. When treated properly, wooden dog houses can last for years outside, making them a perfect outdoor retreat for your pup.
One thing to keep in mind is what chemicals are used to treat a wooden dog house. Often, these dog houses are safe, just in case a dog chews on the doorframe. However, you’ll want to double-check to make sure the wood of your dog house is non-toxic.
Finally, wood just looks really classy. There are so many gorgeous wooden dog house options on the market, including some of our favorites.
Plastic dog houses
Plastic dog houses almost tie with wood for being the most common and popular dog house material. And like wood, these types of dog houses will last for quite a long time outside. Because plastic is so light, plastic dog houses are also very easy to move around your yard.
However, plastic isn’t a great insulator, so you’ll need to make sure you’ve taken steps to keep the dog house temperate in extreme weather. Also, unlike wood, plastic can warp or crack when exposed to too much cold or heat, so you might end up replacing your dog house sooner than you think.
The good news is plastic is definitely waterproof and easy to clean, making it a great dog house for short-term needs.
Metal dog houses
We definitely don’t recommend metal dog houses for the outdoors. Like any metal structure, metal dog houses aren’t insulated and can become brutally hot or cold.
However, there is a place for metal dog houses, specifically the indoors. Also known as crates, metal dog houses can be used inside as a special area for your fur baby. If you’re potty training a puppy, a metal dog house or crate is ideal. Not only are they easy to clean, but they don’t absorb smells.
How to train your dog to use a dog house
The key to getting the most out of your dog house is to make sure your dog is trained to use it. Of course, some dogs may never enjoy being in a dog house, even just for outdoor time. But to increase the likelihood that your pup will love their new home away from home, you can follow this simple “Reinforce with Food” training method by Laurie Haggart of Wag Walking.
Place food around the dog house
Get your dog’s favorite treats and place them around the dog house. Give your dog space to find the treats, praising your pup for being near the dog house.
Place food at dog house entrance
Now that your dog is comfortable around the dog house entrance, put several of the treats at the dog house entrance. Place some of the treats inside the door and be sure to offer lots of scratches and belly rubs when your dog reaches in to get it.
Place food inside the dog house
Reinforcing with lots of praise, throw some of the dog treats further back into the dog house so your dog is required to go in to retrieve the treat. Allow your dog to come in and out as much as needed, placing more treats in the dog house.
Gently reinforce ‘stay’
After your dog has entered and exited the dog house multiple times, attempt asking your dog to lay down when inside the dog house. Reward staying in the dog house with more treats and scratches. Sit outside the dog house with your dog inside, talking and giving treats as casually as possible.
Repeat the process until your dog has a positive connection to the dog house. It also helps if you have a specific name for the dog house, like ‘home’ or ‘base’, for your dog to reference.
Remember: This is a process and you have to allow for some flexibility.
If your dog takes the lead and wants to sniff around or even go inside the dog house at any point, allow it to happen! Go with the flow, but more importantly, take your dog’s lead. And never, ever force your dog inside a dog house.
Picking out, using, and training your dog to use a dog house can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions to get you on your way!
How do you keep a dog house cool or warm?
The easiest answer is to keep a dog house temperate, the structure needs to be insulated. Adding insulation will keep a dog house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Daily Paws even has a super simple process for a DIY dog house insulation project.
However, there are also some really great products available to further provide comfort for your dog during the most extreme seasons. Try a cooling mat in the summer or a heated dog bed in the winter. If you want to add a heater or AC unit to your dog house, we recommend the Akoma Hound Heater or the Evapolar EvaCHILL Portable Conditioner. They’re the most efficient and safest options on the market.
Should you get a dog bed for a dog house?
Adding a dog bed to a dog house is a great way to make it more comfy and home-like. You can even put your dog’s favorite indoor bed in the dog house as a way to encourage use of the dog house.
However, keep in mind anything you put in a dog house will need to be monitored for mildew, mold, and other general grossness. So grab one of our favorite machine washable calming dog beds to keep the mess to a minimum.
Can pet owners use shareable dog houses?
If you have multiple dogs, we strongly suggest buying them each their own dog house. While sharing a dog house is possible, we really can’t advise it. Dog houses are smaller structures and all it takes is one sign of aggression for a fight to break out.
Plus, dog houses are meant to be little havens for your dog, so give each one their own!
Is there a simple way to waterproof a dog house?
Waterproofing an existing dog house can be quite the hassle. (You can check out this step-by-step guide if you want to see for yourself!) We strongly recommend purchasing a dog house that is already waterproof.
Further protect your pup by placing the dog house on higher ground, where water won’t gather.
What’s the best roof type for a dog house?
Almost all dog houses should have a roof with a slight angle, to prevent water pooling or buildup. Besides needing a slant, almost any roof will do.
We do prefer a gabled roof just because we think it looks fantastic, but roof type for your dog house is completely subjective.