As any Peanuts fan knows, the best dog houses keep canines entertained. Even if your Snoopy doesn’t pretend his is a fighter plane, purchasing a house for your pup still provides shelter and comfort to those who spend a lot of time outdoors. Depending on the size of your yard and your local climate, a dog house might be the game-changer you’ve been looking for. Our favorite ones will adequately protect your furry friend from the elements, be big enough to fit your dog comfortably and be sturdy enough to withstand a storm—or 12.
Why You Might Need a Dog House
Dog houses are ideal for canines who spend a lot of time outside in the same yard. Not only do they provide shelter from hot sun, rain and more, they indulge doggy burrowing instincts. Animal Wellness magazine says canines are den animals, which means they like to create burrows. A burrow “allows them to feel safe from other animals and protects them from the ravages of the elements.” Dog houses provide this safe space. Even high energy dogs who enjoy being let loose in the yard can enjoy some R&R in the shade of a hut between bursts of energy.
Dogs who spend lots of time outdoors in high heat or winter cold should have a space they can visit for breaks from the elements. Shade is crucial in hot, sunny climates to prevent your four-legged bestie from overheating. Warmth or protection from rain is necessary in colder, wetter climates.
Anxious pups might also benefit from dog houses. Again, burrowing into an enclosed, dark space evokes feelings of security. Having a space your dog can retreat to outside, especially if tons of people or other animals are hanging out nearby, could make them feel calmer.
The Humane Society notes dogs should not live exclusively outdoors, however. They are family members who thrive on human connection. Fancy dog houses are not meant to replace real homes shared with loved ones. (Basically, don’t let Snoopy out and ignore him just because there’s a wooden shelter out back.)
Some dogs are entirely indoor or apartment pets and rarely spend extended periods of time outdoors without supervision. The Humane Society recommends even indoor pups get plenty of outdoor walks, exercise and fresh air, however, so an outdoor shelter could still be beneficial.
What to Look for in a Dog House
Before you even start your search, check out your climate. Does it rain all the time? Do temperatures reach into the triple digits or below zero? All of these factors determine what type of house to get (or how to enhance its features for optimal safety and security).
The best dog houses are well-ventilated with durable roofing. Proper air flow makes it easier for your dog to breathe and it keeps the house from developing an unpleasant smell (which can accumulate quickly). A sturdy roof should be able to keep the sun, rain and snow out (without collapsing under the weight of water or ice).
When it comes to sizing, the same rule for crates applies to dog houses: Your animal should be able to comfortably stand up, turn around and lay down inside. If they're hesitant to climb inside, try filling it with familiar scents by placing blankets and toys in there.
The Best Dog Houses at a Glance
- Best Overall: Pukami Dog House
- Best Cabin Style: PawHut Cabin Dog House
- Best for Large Breeds: Pets Imperial Norfolk XL Dog House
- Best for Windy Climates: Petmate Indigo Dog House
- Best Splurge: Beam House by Pijuan Design Dog House
- Best for Hot Climates: Free Paws Elevated Dog House
- Best for Small Breeds: Trixie Natura Classic Dog House
- Best Minimalist Design: Frisco Wooden Dog House
- Best for Cold Climates: Petsfit Weatherproof Wooden Outdoor Dog House
- Easiest to Assemble: MidWest Homes for Pets Eillo Folding Dog House
- Best Tent: Yolafe Dog Tent Dog House
- Best Budget: Archie & Oscar Augie Dog House