Last updated on May 3rd, 2021
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If you’ve come here looking for a kennel for your pet and realise that you don’t have a dog – don’t go away. The pets of some of the owners of the kennels we reviewed include dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits, a tortoise and a pygmy goat. What all the owners have in common is a desire to provide a safe, healthy and happy environment for their pets to sleep, play and relax in when they’re outside. And by dog kennels we mean the house-like, pet-sized building that you put into your back garden, not dog runs or dog crates or dog cages.
This Best Outdoor Dog Kennel review looks at dog kennels that are suited for use outside in the garden, though some are useful indoors as well. They all are basic dog kennels without luxury extras such as heat lamps or patios (though you can buy optional accessories through other manufacturers). We list the pros and cons of each model and discuss their features.
Our Buyer’s Guide is well worth a look as we identify the one, easily avoidable, mistake that many buyers of kennels make. We also point out the major features to look for.
Our Best Pick for the outdoor dog kennel is the Pets Imperial Extra Large Insulated Wood Norfolk Dog Kennel with it’s Removable Base. This kennel is made of sturdy and durable planed wood. Insulation is provided by a layer of Styrofoam sandwiched between the wood layer and a layer of plywood.
The Runner-up selection is the StarPlast Large Dog Kennel. This lightweight but sturdy kennel is made of heavy-duty plastic that’s weatherproof in all seasons to keep your pet warm and dry. It just clicks together for easy assembly and is quick and easy to clean.
Best Outdoor Dog Kennel Reviews
1. Pets Imperial Extra Large Insulated Wood Norfolk Dog Kennel with Removable Base
The Pets Imperial Extra Large Insulated Wood Norfolk Dog Kennel with Removable Base For Easy Cleaning is everything that it says – well, check the actual “extra-large” dimensions to ensure that your large pet does fit the space.
All the wood for the walls is treated with an animal-friendly protective layer to protect it from rot. The outsides of the walls are tongue and groove constructions and the inside of the walls are made from plywood. In between these layers is a filling of Styrofoam that provides insulation in all seasons, keeping the kennel cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
However, online reviewers state that this sandwich of wood and filling is thinner and less sturdy than they expected but even so, it’s much more insulated than most other models. We also recommend applying a protective coating to waterproof the kennel just to make sure that your pet stays dry in all weathers.
The design of this Pets Imperial Norfolk Dog kennel ensures that the air is well circulated for a healthy environment for your pet. The roof opens in two parts and each part has a lockable arm to hold it open in the position you want. Let in fresh air this way on calm days or warm nights. In addition, the kennel base is raised 5cm above ground to allow air to circulate around and beneath it, also keeping a stream of fresh air around the kennel.
Both of these design features also allow for ease of cleaning the kennel – an important hygiene factor in keeping your pet healthy and comfortable. The open roof gives access to the inside of the kennel while the removable floor lets you hose off any dirt, bugs and parasites that accumulate there.
As we stress severely in our Buyer’s Guide, check the measurements of your pet against the measurements of any kennel to ensure that they’re compatible. And don’t worry if the ground on which you want to place this kennel isn’t quite level; the adjustable caps on the legs change the length of the each leg to suit the terrains.
- Extra-large kennel made from animal-friendly treated and planed wood for a safe and healthy home for your pet.
- All four side walls are insulated to keep your dog warm when the temperature falls and cool in the summer heat.
- Dimensions (outer) are: 116cm (width); 79cm (depth) and 81cm (height).
- Entrance door is arched and on one side to give the maximum secluded floor space to lay on.
- Roof opens and can be kept up by two lockable arms for cleaning inside.
- Base is planed for a smooth surface to put your pet’s bedding on.
- Base is removable so you can hose it down easily.
- Base is 5cm above the ground to allow the air to circulate for a healthy environment.
- Kennel legs are height adjustable so the kennel can stand on uneven ground.
- Kennel feet have adjustable plastic caps to evenly distribute the weight.
- Walls thinner and less sturdy than some people might expected.
The Pets Imperial Extra Large Insulated Wood Norfolk Dog Kennel is a low-maintenance wood kennel that provides a permanent outdoor safe place in all weathers for your dog or other pets. It can sit level on slightly uneven ground, and has several features that enhance the air flow and make cleaning the kennel easy. The insulated walls ensure the inside of the kennel remains at a pleasant temperature all year long too.
We like the Pets Imperial Extra Large Insulated Wood Norfolk Dog Kennel for its ease of maintenance, its level of comfort for your pet and it’s longevity. It’s our selection for Best Garden Dog Kennel.
If you’re looking for a wood kennel that your large dog can fit or grow into, the Pets Imperial Extra Large Insulated Wood Norfolk Dog Kennel is a wonderful choice.
Check out the best dog crates and cages at Fabpets.co.uk (opens in new window)
2. StarPlast Large Dog Kennel
The StarPlast Large Dog Kennel is an all-weather heavy-duty plastic kennel. It protects your pet from sun, rain, snow, hail and whatever else the UK climate can throw down in your garden.
As this is a plastic pet structure, it’s lightweight and durable. However, some online users say that the plastic is thinner than they expected and that the kennel is not very stable outdoors in high winds but many more people are super happy. In addition, this Starplast dog kennel isn’t insulated. But you can insulate it yourself with blankets, cork wall tiles or other forms of insulation if needed. Online users also suggest raising this kennel off the ground to stop the rain getting in – just put in on some planks of wood.
You can also use this kennel indoors or when you travel as it is so easy to build and take apart. It’s easy to assemble as its six panels just click together without the need for using any tools. Cleaning this plastic kennel is really easy. Just remove any contents and hose down the inside and outside. Wipe with a dry cloth if needed or just stand the kennel on its end to let the water drain out. The plastic is non-absorbent for dirt, insects and smells so regular cleaning maintains a very hygienic environment.
- Weatherproof for sun, rain, snow and hail to keep your pet warm and dry.
- Heavy-duty plastic construction “shed” kennel with a gabled roof for your pet’s inside or outside house.
- Very easy to assemble as the parts just click together.
- Simple to keep clean as you just rinse the inside floor and walls with water and wipe with a dry cloth.
- Dimensions (outside): 85cm (width); 86cm (depth); 82cm (height to point of roof).
- Door opening is 30.5cm (width) and 57cm (height), so measure your pet to see if it can go through.
- Plastic construction is not very substantial but is more than adequate.
- Not insulated.
The StarPlast Large Dog Kennel is a heavy-duty versatile plastic dog kennel that’s easy to assemble and maintain. It’s useful indoors or outdoors as your pet’s permanent safe place. Plus it’s easily taken apart if you travel with your pet to give them the security of a home-away-from-home. Although it’s not an insulated kennel, insulation is easy to do yourself depending on what the weather calls for.
We like the StarPlast Large Dog Kennel for its versatility and ease of use. We’ve made this kennel the Runner-up for the Best Dog Kennel for Outdoors.
3. Easipet Plastic Dog Kennel XL
The Easipet Plastic Dog Kennel XL is another heavy-duty plastic dog kennel in our review. But this is the largest plastic kennel that we looked at. This kennel has an offset gable roof that’s over the door opening, so the door and the point of the roof are to one side of the front of the kennel. This gives your pet more secluded space inside, which works well for those animals that enjoy hiding away.
Plastic dog kennels can lack air flow and become a little stuffy. This Easipet dog kennel addresses this by placing an air vent in the rear wall. This sets up a cross breeze with the door opening in the front wall to ensure adequate ventilation for your pet’s comfort. The floor of this kennel is raised for even more air ventilation as well as better insulation. However, online users report that the floor has an uneven pattern on it that may be uncomfortable for some pets. Just cover this with their favourite blanket to make a more relaxing space or perhaps buy a mat for inside with is easy to hose down.
On really hot days, or if your pet just needs to stretch out some more, lower the side wall for more breeze and space. Your pet can enjoy lounging on their own patio or perhaps just lay with their head on it and their body in the shade of the inside of the kennel for ultimate comfort.
- Quality plastic construction for a durable and lightweight indoor and outdoor animal shelter.
- Offset gabled roof is above the door opening to maximise the inside secluded space for your pet.
- Adjustable air vent in rear ensures enough ventilation for the comfort and health of the animal.
- Side panel can be lowered for more space or extra ventilation on hot days.
- Floor is raised for better insulation in both hot and cold weather.
- Dimensions (extreme outside): 111cm (width); 84cm (depth); 80cm (height).
- Door opening is 32cm (width); 46.5cm (height); how big is your pet?
- Needs two people to assemble as some screws holes not lined up so can be a little fiddly to line everything up.
The Easipet Plastic Dog Kennel XL is the largest plastic dog kennel we review. Unlike some other plastic dog kennels, it has an air vent in the back walls that cross-circulates air with the front door opening for your pet’s added comfort. In addition, one of the side walls flaps down for more ventilation and for additional lounging space on hot days. The raised floor lets air circulate under the kennel as well as provides insulation.
If you’re looking for a large plastic dog kennel for a pet that tends to overheat, the Easipet Plastic Dog Kennel XL is for you.
4. Trixie Natura Flat Roof Dog Kennel, S-M
The Trixie Natura Flat Roof Dog Kennel is a wood kennel made from glazed pine slats. It’s the smallest wood dog kennel in our review so it’s really important to measure the dimensions of your pet. And not to buy this size of kennel if your pet is still growing and you’re looking for a long-time outdoors haven for them. This is one of the few kennels that give you the all-important inside measurements.
The flat roof slopes from the front wall down to the lower back wall so the rain just runs off. The roof is made of roofing felt that keeps the rain out. Access to the inside of the kennel is by raising the roof and propping it open on two metal arms. You can reach in and remove the wooden floor to hose it down and scrub it to clean it.
The arched doorway is to one side of the front wall. This gives your pet the maximum secluded space to be alone in. The base of the kennel is raised above the ground to keep it out of any standing water and to allow the air to circulate below the kennel for your pet’s comfort and health. The hard plastic kennel feet are adjustable so you can level the kennel if you place it on uneven ground – your pet doesn’t have to sleep at an angle.
This kennel isn’t insulated, although wood is a natural insulator. If your pet needs more coolness or warmth, consider installing cork tiles, carpet, blankets or other insulating materials yourself.
- Wood kennel is made from glazed pine slats with an arched door to one side for easy entry.
- Roof is flat and slopes downwards towards the back of the kennel.
- Roof opens on hinges for access to the inside of the kennel.
- Floor is removable for easy cleaning.
- Kennel feet have adjustable hard plastic feet so you can place the kennel level on uneven ground.
- Dimensions (inner): 75cm (width); 43cm (depth); and 48cm (height).
- Not insulated.
The Trixie Natura Flat Roof Dog Kennel is the smallest wood kennel we review. It’s off-centre door opening provides the maximum hiding space for a shy pet or one that appreciates its own out-of-the-way space. The roof opens fully to let you clean the inside of the kennel and to remove the floor, also for cleaning. Don’t worry if you don’t have a perfectly flat piece of land to put the kennel on, just adjust the hard plastic feet to suit the bumps in the ground.
If you’re looking for a small wooden dog kennel and don’t mind insulating it yourself, if needed, the Trixie Natura Flat Roof Dog Kennel, S-M is worth a good look for smaller pets.
5. Pets Imperial Medium Wooden Sussex Dog Kennel
The Pets Imperial Medium Wooden Sussex Dog Kennel is very similar to our Best Pick, but smaller and doesn’t have built-in insulation. It’s the middle-sized wood garden dog kennel in our review. It’s made from the same animal-friendly tongue-and-groove wood layer.
The design of this Medium Sussex dog kennel is different though. Instead of a flat-roof shed-like structure, the kennel is now a gabled, house-like style with an arched doorway in the centre of the front wall. The pointed roof is covered with overlapping shingles that keep the rain out and let it run off safely. This garden dog kennel has aluminium anti-chew strips around the door opening and has strips of plastic as a door shield to keep out wind and rain.
The features that are common to both the Norfolk and the Sussex kennels include: removable floor for easy cleaning; opening roof with two locking arms to support it in the open position for extra ventilation and cleaning; raised floor for good air circulation and to keep it dry and cosy; adjustable kennel legs through adjustable feet plastic caps to level the kennel on uneven land.
Please note that this Pets Imperial Sussex model also gives the very-useful interior measurements of the kennel.
- Animal-friendly tongue and groove wood kennel for a healthy place for your pet to sleep.
- Dimensions (inner) are: 62cm (width); 68cm (depth) and 66cm (height).
- Entrance door is arched and in the centre of the front wall for easy access.
- Each side of the roof opens and has a locking arm to keep it open for when you’re cleaning the inside walls of the kennel.
- The base is smooth planed wood for a comfortable surface for your pet to lay on.
- The base is removable so you can hose it down easily to remove dirt and any parasites that have lodged there.
- The base is 5cm above the ground for maximum air circulation to keep the environment healthy for your animal.
- Kennel feet have adjustable plastic caps so the kennel can be levelled on uneven terrain.
- Thin and lightweight wood.
- Roof difficult to put on – instructions not clear.
The Pets Imperial Medium Wooden Sussex Dog Kennel provides a safe, comfy and sturdy outdoors home for your pet. Its wooden construction has a raised floor for the cosiest environment for your loved animal to sleep or just relax in. The gabled roof adds headroom to the structure without losing the den-like feeling. With features that support good air circulation and easy cleaning, this Sussex dog kennel is easy to maintain as a healthy environment for your pet.
The Pets Imperial Medium Wooden Sussex Dog Kennel is our recommendation if you’re looking for a medium-sized wood garden dog kennel.
6. Easipet XL Plastic Dog Kennel
The Easipet XL Plastic Dog Kennel is made of quality plastic for a lightweight and weatherproof safe place for your dog or other pet to hang out. This dog kennel is suitable for use indoors and outdoors, so you can move it around when your pet changes their mind about where they want to sleep. The floor of this kennel is raised to allow for good insulation in both hot and cold weather. Online reviewers report that the plastic material is not very sturdy and that it’s difficult to assemble as the holes don’t line up but with a little perseverance its all comes together.
- Quality plastic construction for a weatherproof and lightweight outdoor animal shelter.
- Floor is raised for better insulation in both hot and cold weather.
- Dimensions (outside): 96.5 (width); 105cm (depth); and 98.5 (height).
- Door opening is 34.5cm (width) and 62.5cm (height).
- Click and screw assembly so you need a screwdriver.
- Would benefit from being more sturdy enough.
- Holes don’t line up properly.
- No other information even on manufacturer’s website.
The Easipet XL Plastic Dog Kennel is something of a mystery as there’s not much information about it, even on the manufacturer’s website. Even though it’s a different style to the other Easipet plastic dog kennel we review here, we’ve included this XL one in our review based on the good reviews of the other kennel.
If you’re looking for a plastic dog kennel of this size, it’s worth investigating the Easipet XL Plastic Dog Kennel further.
It’s not difficult to buy the kennel that’s best suited to your pet. But there are a few features that trip up most people and result in many kennels being left unused.
What we mean by “kennel”
We start off with a definition of “kennel” as the term is often used to mean different structures for dogs and other pets.
We’re talking about a kennel as a permanent structure that houses a dog, cat, rabbit or other pet. Mostly used outdoors, but sometimes also indoors, this house-like structure often comes in kit form and needs assembly. Pets often sleep in their kennels during the day or overnight or go into them to escape the hot sun or rain. It’s often known as a dog house.
We don’t mean:
- Crates or cages: temporary pet houses, usually made of wire or plastic, that can be folded flat and easily transported.
- Dog runs: fenced-in enclosures in your garden in which your pet can run around to their heart’s content; may also contain (our definition of) a kennel.
Size / The Number 1 mistake made people make
The most common complaint in the many reviews that we looked at for pet kennels was a variation of “the kennel was smaller than we expected”, or “my dog is larger than the kennel”, or even “the kennel description said XL and we have a poodle and she doesn’t fit.”
If you remember only one thing from this Buyer’s Guide, let it be this:
Ignore the size category (XL, M etc.) in the description of the kennel
Ignore the breed of dog in the photo
Check all the measurements yourself.
You need to know the measurements of:
- the inside of the kennel you like
- the size of the doorway opening
- the size of your pet when fully grown (if you plan on keeping the kennel that long); check online of the average measurements of your pet breed
- the amount of space your pet takes up when they sleep in their favourite position
- the amount of space they need to sit up and stand
- the amount of space they need to turn around in
The kennel should be a comfortable fit for your pet but not have so much space that it doesn’t feel like a safe den for them.
This does take some work but you want your pet to look forward to going into their kennel and to be comfortable.
The dog kennels in this review are made either of wood or of high-grade plastic. Here are the main features of each material.
- Natural material
- Sturdy and durable
- Too heavy to move easily
- Can stand up to chewing
- Excellent thermal insulation
- Many wood kennels have roofs that open for interior cleaning and extra ventilation
- Many wood kennels have removable floors for easy cleaning.
- May not come water-proofed; add a protective coating yourself
- Needs occasional maintenance for weatherproofing with pet-friendly products
- Can be repaired easily if needed with a little timber.
- Durable and lightweight, so easy to move
- Can be used indoors
- Extremely easy to clean
- Limited ventilation unless there’s an in-built vent
- Usually less expensive than wood kennels
- More weatherproof than wood kennels
- Not as insulating as wood kennels
- May blow over in high winds
- Not as easy to repair as wood kennels if they split or chewed.
Whatever material they’re made from, dog kennels usually look like little houses or sheds (though we did find one shaped like an igloo). Most have gabled (pointed) roofs while some have flat roofs that slant downwards from front to back. The door opening may be to one side or in the middle. Most openings are arched and some kennels come with plastic strips that cover the doorway to keep the wind out.
On some garden dog kennels, the roof opens in two hinged halves to allow access to the inside for cleaning and also to provide extra ventilation on calm and warm days. Lockable arms hold each portion of the roof open in place. Look for additional vents on some kennels, especially on plastic ones which may tend to be a bit stuffy. Additional design features include sidewalls that flap down to provide an outside sitting area and those that have a built-in porch for lounging around in the shade on hot summer days.
Contents and comfort
Your pet’s outdoors kennel should be a home away from (your) home.
Supply bedding that’s comfortable and hygienic. Make sure it’s comfortable to sit or lie on and can be washed easily. The bedding should also be quick to dry in case the kennel leaks.
Always have a supply of fresh, clean water in the kennel in a bowl that can be sanitised regularly. If you leave your dog out in the winter, investing in a heated water bowl ensures that their water will always be in liquid form.
Leaving dog food in the kennel encourages visits from rodents, insects and other pests that may bring disease with them. Always feed your pet on a schedule and somewhere else.
Consider insulating the outdoors kennel to keep it cool in summer and warm in winter. Use Styrofoam or cork on the walls and raise the floor up if it’s sitting on the ground. Or perhaps use a heated mat on the floor. If your kennel doesn’t come with a curtain or plastic strips o put over the door opening, just tape a (clear) tarp up there.
Make sure that there’s enough air ventilation in and around the kennel. Raising up the floor or opening the roof on a warm day brings in extra air that supports a healthy environment.
Keep the kennel dry. This may involve extra weatherproofing on the roof and in the seams. Wood kennels in particular need regular updating of the waterproofing coating. Be sure to use products that won’t harm animals.
Keep the garden kennel clean. Clean the inside of the kennel daily (especially if your pet uses it as a toilet) and do a thorough scrub down weekly. Plastic outdoor dog kennels are easy to hose down and dry, and many wood kennels have floors that you remove to clean and roofs that open for you to scrub the inside walls.
Scout out the perfect place in your garden to put your loved pet’s new house.
Put the kennel in an area that’s out of the way of regular traffic but still in sight of activity that’s happening in the garden. Your pet should still feel part of the family pack even when it’s in its safe place.
Make sure the ground under your pet’s kennel is level and solid. Use the kennel’s adjustable feet to place it level on uneven terrain. Your pet will feel better on a horizontal surface.
Don’t place the kennel at the bottom of a slope or anywhere that’s prone to flooding.
The kennel’s location should be sheltered from direct sunlight and out of the path of direct winds. It should also not be under trees that drop leaves or berries onto the roof, leading to a sticky mess that encourages insects and parasites and so needs frequent cleaning.
Your pet deserves to be safe and comfortable outdoors, having their own inside space to curl up and relax or sleep. An outdoor dog kennel provides a den-like space for your dog, cat, chicken, pygmy pig, tortoise, guinea pig or other pet to while away the long days of summer or snuggle up in the cool of winter while in the fresh air.
Whether you choose an outdoors dog kennel made of wood or of plastic, the key to a happy kennel resident is to keep the kennel clean and hygienic, with plenty of water and comfy bedding. And, of course, avoiding the top mistake that many purchasers make – buying one that’s too small!
Our Best Pick of Outdoor Dog Kennels is the Pets Imperial Extra Large Insulated Wood Norfolk Dog Kennel with Removable Base. This kennel is made from tongue and groove animal-friendly wood. Its opening roof and removable bottom make it really easy to clean.
The StarPlast Large Dog Kennel is our Runner-up selection for best garden dog kennel. Its heavy-duty plastic construction makes it durable, lightweight and weatherproof all year long.
While you’re considering which dog kennel is best for your pet, dress well for taking your dog for a walk. Check out our Best Coat for Dog Walking and Best Wellies for Dog Walking reviews. If you also groom your dog regularly then check out our review on the best pet grooming tables.
Last update on 2021-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API