The 12 Best Dog Houses for Big, Small or, Yeah, Even Fancy Dogs

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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.

Best Overall

1. Pukami Dog House


This plastic dog house from Pukami comes in three sizes and three colors. Its non-toxic, anti-corrosion materials resist both cold and heat, the roof helps rainwater drain easily and a ventilation system keeps air moving. We also can’t help but appreciate that it only takes about 20 minutes to put together and has a nice price point.

Best Cabin Style

2. PawHut Cabin Dog House


This is an ideal dog house for large breeds and anyone into cabins. Not only does it come with a deck your pup can use for sunbathing, the roof opens up for easy access to clean (and there are two living spaces inside). Elevated feet mean your dog stays dry and the size (59" x 64" x 39") means even large breeds will have a nice time.

Best for Large Breeds

3. Pets Imperial Norfolk XL Dog House

Pets Imperial

This insulated wooden dog house from Pets Imperial contains two support rails to hold pups up to 154 pounds. Each panel is insulated with three layers (wood, Styrofoam, plywood) to ensure your dog doesn’t freeze in winter or overheat in summer. Pets Imperial says its walls are 150 percent thicker than most other dog houses. You can also adjust the height to make it easier for your pup to climb in and out. Finally, a door flap keeps rain out!

Best for Windy Climates

4. Petmate Indigo Dog House


With more than 1,800 5-star reviews, this dog house from PetMate is a winning option for blustery days. Folks in especially windy or cold climates will appreciate the elongated entryway that works to keep cold breezes out. A vent in the roof also circulates air without sacrificing heat. Plus, the recycled materials are heavy-duty and PetMate says this house is able to withstand more than 1,500 pounds of load strength, meaning high winds won’t topple it. It’s also roomy enough for a plush cushion.

Best Splurge

5. Beam House by Pijuan Design Dog House

Pijuan Design Workship

Do you want your dog to live a life of luxury? Then go straight to Pijuan Design Workshop. They make full customizable dog houses in mid-century modern styles. The Beam House provides ample shady spots with exposed wood beams and cedar shingles. There’s even a planter box and a spot for food and water bowls. Did we mention the grass-like turf or the window, so your dog can keep an eye on you?

Just look at their other fabulous mid-century modern designs! (Also splurges.)

Best for Hot Climates

6. Free Paws Elevated Dog House

Free Paws

Hot climates mean your dog needs shade and elevation, plus air flow to keep them cool. That's why we like this model from Free Paws. Its steel frame is sturdy, and the sides and roof cover are made with 600D oxford fabric, a durable, heavy polyester that’ll keep rain out and protect from the sun. Easy to assemble, this house also comes with a carrying bag, so you can take it with you to the beach (or wherever you go with your pup).

Best for Small Breeds

7. Trixie Natura Classic Dog House


This is a no-nonsense dog house ideal for small breeds who need a lil’ escape. Made of solid pine wood, it is weatherproof and draft-resistant. Adjust the feet to make it easier for your tiny breed to hop inside (or to account for uneven ground). For warm weather, prop the roof open for added ventilation. The small size is ideal for dogs up to 45 pounds. (This means plenty of room for a bed inside if your small breed demands it.)

Best Minimalist Design

8. Frisco Wooden Dog House


We think this dog house is modern minimalism at its finest. The white wood and black metal hardware and trim feels very classy. On top of sleek design, this house protects from rain, snow and sun. Plus, the floor slides out in case you need to clean up any messes. House legs are adjustable to meet your dog’s—or your yard’s—specifications. The medium size accommodates dogs up to 45 pounds, and the large accommodates dogs up to 70 pounds.

Best for Cold Climates

9. Petsfit Wooden Dog House


Cold climates call for heavy-duty dog houses. We love this one by Petsfit because of the thick spruce wood panels and weatherproof asphalt roof. Not only does it come with a plastic door flap to keep out wind and snow, you can add an insulation kit to keep your pet extra warm. More than 1,000 5-star reviews rave about how easy it was to put together and how well it keeps their pups sheltered. There's even a removable floor for cleaning.

Easiest to Assemble

10. MidWest Homes for Pets Eillo Folding Dog House

MidWest Homes

No tools required for this dog house! It literally folds out into a super cute, well-ventilated, water-resistant shelter. Its easy assembly doesn’t mean flimsy craftsmanship, though. Over 600 5-star reviews attest to its durability. If your dog likes going outside in the wintertime, invest in MidWest Home’s insulation kits for added warmth.

Best Tent

11. Yolafe Dog Tent Dog House


Heading out on a camping trip with your pup? This tent from Yolafe is the ideal dog house for camping, traveling or beach-going dogs. Its mesh sides mean good ventilation, 600d Oxford cloth means protection from the elements and the single-sided double zippers ensure your dog won’t run away in the middle of the night. Plus, it only weighs 5.7 pounds, which is nice since you’ll be the one carrying it.

Best Budget

12. Arichie & Oscar Augie Dog House

Archie & Oscar

Dog houses can definitely get pricey. Good thing there are some budget-friendly options out there. This house by Archie & Oscar comes in under $100 and provides plenty of security for your pup, including sun protection with UV-stabilized polypropylene plastic. A large doorway means air circulates easily and assembly is a cinch (no tools necessary). Keep your dog cool in warm weather and warm in cool weather with this dog house deal!

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Freelance Writer

Sarah Ashley is a Chicago-based freelance journalist. She has covered pets for PureWow for six years and tackles everything from dog training tips to the best litter boxes. Her...