Outdoor dog kennel buying guide

Outdoor dog kennel buying guide

Pauline, Rédactrice, Essones

Guide written by:

Pauline, Rédactrice, Essones

178 guides

Outdoor dog kennels come in a number of forms from mesh enclosures to flat pack kits and self-built structures. Providing a secure space for your dog to play outdoors, kennels should be big enough to contain a doghouse. Ideally, you should go for a full-sized pen with a roof and some flooring. Read on for more tips!

Important features

  • Installation set-up
  • Building material
  • Surface area
  • Flooring and roof
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Using an outdoor dog kennel


Outdoor dog kennels or runs are structures that serve as an extra living space for dogs. They may be used at home, by re-homing charities or for professional use.

These shelters provide a secure outdoor space in which dogs can relax or potentially be given their meals. A kennel containing an indoor and outdoor area will allow your dog to shelter from the heat or cold by accessing the closed section.

Where to set up your outdoor dog kennel


The area in which you plan on building or installing the kennel will determine which material type to go for. You can choose from several layout options:

  • A four-sided kennel;
  • A kennel attached to an existing wall; 
  • A kennel built into a corner; 
  • A kennel installed in an appointed area with walls and a removable roof.

The structure must be big enough to contain a doghouse or open crate (which can also serve as a dog carrier). You will need to plan out a space for relaxing and leave enough room for the dog to move around freely.

It is imperative to choose your materials carefully. Pay close attention to sun and wind exposure in order to create a comfortable space for your dog.

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Dog carrier

Four factors for choosing an outdoor dog kennel


1. The kennel material 

Outdoor kennels or dog runs can be made from the following materials:

  • solid wood (the most attractive option);
  • metal mesh (if the area is protected from the wind);
  • coated plywood (for easy maintenance and durability);
  • sheet metal (perfect for use as a temporary holding pen or for dogs with destructive tendencies).


2. The roof type

The kennel roof may also be made using various materials (metal, wood, plywood). The best option is an insulated roof which will provide the best possible conditions for your dog. Models equipped with gutters will limit the risk of water infiltration.


3. The size of the kennel 

In order to choose the right size, you should base your decision on the type of dog you have and how many dogs will be using the space. You will also need to think about how much time your dog will spend in the kennel in order to provide suitable stimulation for the dog.

For large dog breeds (for example, German shepherds) you will need an enclosure measuring at least 4 x 2 metres. As a general rule, a space measuring 8 to 12 m² should suffice for most large-sized dogs.


4. Concrete slabs 

The foundation of the kennel should be chosen carefully in order to ensure the stability of the structure and the safety of your animals. Foundation blocks and fixings will be required for this reason.

If the outdoor kennel is to be used frequently, the use of raised concrete slabs will be necessary. This set-up allows for easy cleaning as it allows waste and waste water to run off the floor surface. These blocks can be left as they are or can be tiled over.

A concrete foundation is, however, not necessary for home use.  In this case, you can have a grass or dirt floor. Nonetheless, this will not allow for deep cleaning or efficient disinfecting of the area. To avoid any major building work, and for easier maintenance, you can buy a kennel that comes as a kit complete with a built-in floor.

As most dogs do not like moist environments you should provide a dry area, such as a duckboard or raised dog bed.

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Flat pack kits vs. self-built structures


Flat pack kits

Flat pack kennel kits come with all the necessary parts for you to build a complete kennel hassle-free. These kits must include:

  • flooring;
  • a roof;
  • panels;
  • optional accessories (according to preferences);
  • foundation blocks;
  • all the appropriate parts used to assemble the kennel (screws, fixings,).

Before making your purchase, make sure to check that the kit contains all the necessary parts to complete the project.

Self-built kennels

Do you want to set about constructing your own outdoor kennel? Provided you have the right materials, it shouldn't be too difficult. First of all, you will have to purchase the following parts:

  • The panels of your choice (wood, metal, plywood, mesh);
  • A door (with selected closure and padlock system); 
  • Fixings (must be suitable for the material);
  • A roof (wood and shingles, metal);
  • Flooring or concrete base (optional);
  • Mounting brackets for hard soil;

Useful tip: using a concrete base or other flooring type will limit the risk of your dog digging a hole and escaping underneath the enclosure.

Your choice of materials and building type will depend on your skills and the results you’re after. It is absolutely feasible to build a solid kennel with a concrete base and a 1-metre-high wall topped with mesh panels. You then have the option of adding a roof or creating an indoor section with a doghouse, etc.

Choosing your kennel walls


When installing a kennel, the priority should always be to ensure your dog’s safety. Metal walls are recommended to limit the risk of a dog hurting itself or to prevent small dogs from escaping. The best option is stainless steel mesh.

Your choice of wall type may also depend on how your dogs get along:

  • A solid wall will mean your dogs won’t be able to see each other;
  • A mesh wall allows for visibility and contact between dogs, which can potentially trigger fights.

Additional kennel options


As the kennel or run is a structure dedicated to your dog, it is possible to add a few pieces of equipment. Additional accessories include:

  • A doghouse (made of wood or plastic with thermal insulation); 
  • A raised dog bed; 
  • Duckboard
  • Escape-proofing accessories;
  • A mesh window;
  • An access panel made of wood or plastic; 
  • A wall panel made of plywood or metal;
  • A stand for built-in dog bowls; 
  • A feeding panel;

All that's left to do is to choose the right material and you can set about building the best possible outdoor kennel for your furry friend's activities!

More information

For more advice on garden accessories, check out our editors' other guides: 
How to decorate and furnish your garden
Garden dining set buying guide
Garden furniture buying guide
How to repair your garden shed

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Guide written by:

Pauline, Rédactrice, Essones, 178 guides

Pauline, Rédactrice, Essones

Bricoleuse le week-end et éducateur canin du lundi au vendredi, j’aime apprendre, comprendre et faire comprendre à qui a deux jambes ou quatre pattes !   Bricoleuse passionnée, j’ai grandi au doux son de la ponceuse et du marteau le week-end. Aussi manuelle que cérébrale (oui, c’est possible !), j’ai appris les rudiments du bricolage, de la déco et de la customisation de meubles par passion. L’esprit récup’ et DIY est un véritable mode de vie qui m’a permis d’apprendre comment utiliser nombre d’outils. Éducateur canin comportementaliste de métier, amoureuse des chiens et des chats depuis toujours, je délivre à présent des conseils pour bien vivre avec nos compagnons à poils et mieux les comprendre. Mon objectif ? Bien orienter les propriétaires d’animaux dans leur équipement et dans leurs activités avec leurs poilus ! Les présentations faites, je ferai de mon mieux pour vous aiguiller dans vos choix !

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