In the past, a lot of people used doghouses because they didn’t share their homes with dogs. But now, most dog parents use outdoor doghouses as places for their pups to lounge comfortably with their humans nearby. “Giving your dog their own house in the yard can help prevent behavioral issues, as dogs know they can go and take a break if they start to get overstimulated by activity in the yard, such as a barbecue or other gathering,” says Sassafras Lowrey, an author, certified professional dog trainer, and trick instructor. When it comes to finding the right-size doghouse, it’s important to get one large enough for your dog to fully lie down and relax inside. Also look for one with enough space to add some comfortable bedding as well as chews, toys, and puzzles. “Providing your dog these enrichment activities in their doghouses helps them to build positive associations with the space and see it as their private oasis,” Lowrey says.
I talked to 15 people who really know and love dogs, including veterinarians, trainers, doggy-day-care providers, and dog parents, to recommend the best doghouses for dogs to call home outside the home.
This well-made plastic doghouse, perfect for medium-to-large breeds, received rave reviews from many of our experts. “It is made of durable materials, so the product has a long life, and it is easy to maintain and clean,” says Bethany Hsia, a veterinarian and co-founder of CodaPet who owns three dogs. Kait Hembree, head of training at GoodPup, says it’s the only doghouse she’d buy and that her Chesapeake Bay retriever, Delta Dawn, loves hers. “Living in Montana, we had extreme temperatures during both cold- and warm-weather seasons,” she says. “The well-insulated walls kept her warm in the winter when she wasn’t indoors and cool in the summer.
Best (less expensive) overall
The Suncast Outdoor Doghouse ticks a lot of boxes — sturdy, simple to assemble — while being a more affordable option. “Constructed from resin, this doghouse is highly durable and easy to clean,” says Leena Chitnis, the founder and CEO of Timberdog. The Suncast doghouse features a removable roof, vents for air circulation, and comes with a vinyl door. It snaps together, so it can be assembled without any additional tools, and is built to resist fading, rusting, and rotting.
For those who prefer wood rather than plastic (for aesthetic or environmental reasons), the Petsfit Wooden Doghouse also scored high marks from dog experts. Alex Schechter, DVM, a veterinarian, says the Petsfit, with its Finnish spruce panels and strong asphalt shingles, will provide long-lasting protection for your furry friend. With small (perfect for dogs up to 30 pounds), medium (for dogs up to 60 pounds), and large (for dogs up to 80 pounds) sizes available, this doghouse is suitable for dogs from Yorkies to Labrador retrievers. The roof that opens from the top is another convenient feature that allows easy access to the inside of the doghouse, which is great for dog parents who want to keep things clean and tidy.
Best for cooler temperatures
Kristi Benson, a dog trainer from British Columbia, Canada, who has worked with sled dogs, says a good doghouse for cooler climates should be insulated but not too roomy so the dog’s own body heat can help warm it up (though it should be big enough for them to comfortably turn around and lie down). The Petmate Indigo Doghouse, an igloo-shaped hut, isn’t just adorable — it’s also functional since it’s insulated and designed to really protect dogs from the elements. According to Dr. Kathryn Rosalie Dench, a veterinary surgeon, adviser, and writer at Gentle Dog Trainers, “One of the key reasons I recommend the Petmate Indigo Doghouse is its innovative design. The igloo-shaped structure offers excellent insulation, providing protection against extreme weather conditions such as heat, cold, wind, and rain. This feature is crucial in ensuring your dog’s well-being and minimizing the risk of temperature-related health issues.”
Best for smaller breeds
If you need less of a traditional doghouse and more of a balcony for your small pooch to perch, consider the Merry Pet Wood Room. “It allows smaller pups to be up higher, as they like to be during sunbathing,” says Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer and consultant for Rover. The interior is made for tinier dogs too with a ceiling height of 17.3 inches. Ellis notes that the Merry Pet is best for younger pups. “The stairs might be a little harder for some of our senior dogs,” she says.
Best with a patio
“I like doghouses that have ventilation, windows, and a patio,” says Toni Ann Palladino, a pet-care-service provider and animal rescuer who has worked with many dogs. This Lifeand doghouse fits the bill and will have your furry friend lounging in style on their very own porch or hanging out inside in the shade, protected from the elements.
Best that’s not a doghouse
At Pups at Play, a full-service pet health-and-wellness facility in Montclair, New Jersey, there is a kids’ playhouse in the outdoor day-care area for the small-to-medium dogs. “It’s a great break from the sun during the day without having to go indoors,” says Breanne, a customer-service representative from Pups at Play. If you’ve got kids and dogs running around, you can eliminate the need for multiple structures in your yard by purchasing something like the Little Tikes playhouse, which has plenty of room inside.
For a truly customized outdoor doghouse built to your exact specifications, turn to the Wooof Spot, which can do anything from custom colors and sizes to funky shapes and designs. Prices start at $150 for basic models for small, Chihuahua-size dogs and go up depending on the size and model. Large dog? Multiple dogs? Need a doghouse to match your actual house? No problem. The Wooof Spot has built doghouses with multiple entrances (even multiple stories) in all kinds of sizes. You’ll get an Instagram-worthy doghouse that will be perfect for your dog(s) no matter how small or large or how specific their (or your) needs are.
Ellis also recommends this portable, foldable pet playpen that offers pet parents of small dogs a convenient option for keeping pups protected on the go, whether you’re headed to a park, picnic, or vacation home. It’s “the perfect way to keep our pets safe and enclosed while enjoying the outdoors with us,” she says.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.