How To Pick The Right Outdoor Dog Enclosure (Your Epic Guide)

With three happy pups in my household, dog management is key in making sure everyone gets along and receives the care they need. Besides our indoor crates, my outdoor dog enclosures are easily the most valuable assets I use to manage my pack.

As my dogs’ needs vary considerably, I use several outdoor enclosures. But it was not always this way, as I did not know their value or how to pick the right ones.

How to pick the right outdoor dog enclosure? Here are 8 questions to help you pick the right dog enclosure:

  • Why do you need to contain your dog?
  • Is your dog an indoor or outdoor dog?
  • How long do you want to contain your dog?
  • What is the size of your dog?
  • What is the size and shape of your yard?
  • How much shelter is there in your yard?
  • What are the characteristics of your lifestyle?
  • Can your dog outsmart the locking mechanism?

In your journey toward finding the best outdoor kennels and pens for your dogs, you will come across many options. You can use this guide to better understand those options – and how you can use outdoor dog kennels to care for your dog/s.

What is an Outdoor Dog Enclosure?

What is the typical outdoor dog enclosure? It has four to eight wall sections, one with a gate. It is designed to keep dogs safe inside for short periods of time. You will find these enclosures made from plastic, wood and metal materials that can withstand all weather conditions.

Types of Outdoor Dog Enclosures

If you live on a farm, participate in dog sports or just have a pack that romps in the mud on the daily, outdoor kennels and pens will assist with all your dog management needs.

They come in a wide range of sizes and heights to suit a variety of dog breeds and property types. Some can fold up and store away for later use, while others remain on the property as permanent structures. Across all types, the enclosures tend to have specialized hardware that allows people to enter and exit with ease without giving dogs an opportunity to flip the latch and escape.  

To best suit your, and your dogs’, needs, you can choose between several outdoor dog enclosure types, including:

  • Pet gates
  • Exercise pens
  • Chain link kennels
  • Modular panel enclosures.

The above outdoor dog enclosures are also known as:

  • Dog kennel
  • Kennel run
  • Outdoor dog run
  • Dog run
  • Outdoor kennel
  • Dog fencing
  • Exercise pen
  • Dog run cage
  • Outdoor dog playpen.

For the context of this article, we will use the terms “outdoor dog enclosures” and “outdoor dog kennels” interchangeably.

Features and Benefits of the Different Types of Outdoor Dog Enclosures

Dog crates excluded as an outdoor dog kennel

As you can see, there are many outdoor dog enclosure ideas.

I exclude crates as an outdoor dog enclosure in this blog post. You can place a dog crate inside or outside but it’s not a comfortable place for your dog to roam around in if you are not home. And what happens if they need to use the yard?

If you are interested in a create for indoors, check out my comprehensive guide to choose the best one for your dog.

How To Pick The Right Dog Enclosure?

Use the answers to the following questions to guide your choice of dog enclosures.

To pick the right dog enclosure requires you to consider:

  • The characteristics of your home and lifestyle; and
  • The needs and characteristics of your dog and how they interact with their environment.

What is the purpose of the outdoor dog enclosure?

With the right outdoor enclosures, you can keep your dogs confined to a certain area of your property for their comfort and safety.

Dogs need a space that will keep them safe and contained – and one they can call their own.

You can these enclosures when you are home and need to confine your dogs temporarily:

  • Your house is configured in such a way that if you leave your dog in the yard alone, they can access or escape to the street. This is dangerous because your dog may wander and get lost plus it could expose your dogs to cars, other dogs (non-friendly).
  • Your dog does not like strangers and there are visitors or workmen in your home.
  • Your dog gets very excited around children.
  • Your dog has been playing in the mud and you want to contain them whilst they wait for their baths.

Other reasons? You live or travel or live in an RV. Portable outdoor dog enclosure gives your dog some rest and playtime in the fresh air.

How long do you want to contain your dog?

The most common reason for an outdoor dog enclosure? You need to leave your home so that your dog is unsupervised for a short period of time like while you are at work.

My pooches spend time in their outdoor pet enclosures for dogs when I leave the house for a few hours.

Outdoor dog enclosures are not meant to house your dog 24/7.

What are the characteristics of your lifestyle?

The kennel configurations go beyond the pet owner to serve the needs of dog boarders, breeders, farmers and rescues as well.

  • You run a dog boarding business where you need to house many dogs in one area.
  • Dog breeders might use the structures to keep males separate from their in-season females, while farmers put their dogs in kennels to rest after a long day of work.
  • Rescues have all dogs awaiting adoption housed in indoor or outdoor dog enclosures for the health and safety of all involved.

The way you use your outdoor dog kennels will depend on the specific needs of your pack.

How much shelter is in your yard?

If you have an enclosed patio, a pet gate or exercise pen can keep your dog confined and sheltered in that area.

If you want a larger containment area and believe a chain link kennel or modular panel enclosure is more suitable to your needs, you will need to consider adding a roof to the enclosure to protect your dog from the elements.

Practical considerations

The practicality of how the enclosure will work could also influence the choice of a dog enclosure. What do I mean by practicality?

Size Is it big/small enough to accommodate the size of your dog and the size of your yard?
Material Certain materials are stronger and more weather-proof (and not prone to rust) than others.
Number of doors Depends on the access you want for you and your dog into and out of the enclosure.
Locking/closure mechanism Intelligent dogs could outsmart the lock. Make sure your enclosure is dog smart proof!
Roof Soft (canvas, tarp or other fabric) or hard (metal); UV treated or not.
Flooring Concrete, dirt, plastic paneling

These factors will help determine which of the following outdoor dog enclosure types will work best.

Pet Gate


Separates the living area inside your home from the areas where the dog is allowed.


Recommended for internal only.


  • If you have a partially enclosed patio, you can use a pet gate to keep your dogs confined in that area.
  • The gate can fully block off an entire side of an enclosed deck to create a kennel area.
  • You can confine your dog to the laundry area of your home.
  • Use this style of an enclosure to prevent your dog from entering the area where a baby or young toddler plays.
  • Used at the base of a staircase to prevent your dog from going up the stairs e.g. to the bedroom areas of the home.

Size of dog

Unless you are there to watch your dogs, this option only really works for small breeds. For example, pet gates work great for Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians and Dachshunds.

Larger dogs or even athletic small breeds may attempt to jump right over the pet gate and get out. This is especially the case if your breed of dog is a jumper


Although the majority of pet gates only span up to 38 inches, or the width of your average doorway, there are many extended length models available as well.

These extended models can block off up to 108 inches of space to fully enclose your deck. For all widths, these gates tend to range from 30 to 42 inches in height.

To suit the widest range of environments, pet gates come in free-standing, bolt-in and pressure-mounted styles.

By pressure mounted, I mean both ends screw into the side of a door frame (see photo below). Just like the free-standing pet gate, the pressure mount design is easy to set up and does not damage a wall or door frame.

pressure mounted pet gate
This pet gate is made of steel. It is pressure mounted (highlighted in red). It is a cat door (highlighted in blue) and a step through gate with a safety lock (highlighted in yellow). This style of peg gate is for indoor use only

The bolt-in pet gate is the most secure of all the pet gate designs but is more permanent.

You can find gates with and without dedicated doorways.

If you acquire the kind without a doorway, you will need to unlatch the gate (see picture above) from one side and pull it open or step over to cross the barrier.

Some pet gates (see picture above) will have a small pet door for cats to go through when it is set up inside, but these styles are not recommended for securing small dogs on the patio.


Metal, plastic, fabric and wood materials are all used in the creation of pet gates in normal and extended lengths.

Most gates have vertical bars made from these materials, though some may have horizontal bars instead.

Expanding gates may use lattice that accordions in and out as you enter and exit from the side. This type of gate can also fold up for storage when not in use. These basic gates get the job done, but do not have a lot of flash.

To retain the aesthetics of your deck space, you can go with wooden gates with scroll cut designs or metal ones painted in attractive colors instead. You can even have a woodworker made a custom gate for your deck if you have the funds.

Plastic and fabric gates are not especially great for outside use as they grow weak and brittle when exposed to the elements. They can work in a pinch if you put them away after each use.


Gates do not come with many accessories. Depending on the model you buy, they may have extension panels that slightly increase their reach. They may also come with hardware that allows you to bolt the gate to the wall.


A pressure-mounted gate that will fit a standard doorway is the cheapest option. The most expensive option is the freestanding option that fits a wide space and is made of wood. Wood looks much nicer than the typical white coated metal pet gate.

Pros and Cons of a Pet Gate

Pros and Cons for Pet Gate

My Recommendations

Both pet gate options I’ve explored are portable so when you move house, your pet gate can move with you. And no tools are required to install them to your back door.

Option 1 – Midwest Homes Steel Gate

If you want a pet gate that separates the outdoor vs. indoor area for your dog, then you will need a weather-proof and sturdy gate for the door that leads to your backyard or patio.

Forget those baby gates that double up as pet gates: they are for indoor use only.

The Midwest Homes Pet Gate is for pets, not babies.

It’s a proper door that swings on a hinge (in both directions) allowing you to walk in and out but the latch is secure and strong enough to keep your dog outside.

The gate is pressure mounted.

It’s made of steel so it was will be strong and last a long time.

You have a choice of 2 colors: white or dark grey.

It comes in 2 ready-made heights: 29 to 39 inches so it caters for small to large dogs.

It comes in a width to fit a standard doorway. You can buy 3-inch extensions to fit a non-standard doorway. All your bases are covered here in terms of fit.

But a key benefit that sets the Midwest Pet Gate apart from other pet gates is that is it completely chew-proof. It’s also free of lead and toxins. So this pet gate is perfect for those dogs that may suffer from boredom or anxiety and want to take it out on their pet gate.

You can buy the MidWest Homes Steel Pet Gate from

Option 2 – Regalo Home Accents Extra Tall Baby Gate

I’ve included a 2nd option here for those dog owners who want a more attractive pet gate. Something with a home decor flair!

It’s made with solid steel with a New Zealand decorative pine trim. So it’s long-lasting and attractive to the eye at the same time.

It’s a walk-through gate that is pressure mounted and has a safety lock.

It some in one ready-made size: 37 inches tall and expands to fit standard doorways between 30 to 42 inches wide. You can buy 4-inch wide extension kits to accommodate non-standard doors. These dimensions will keep small and large dogs contained outside your home.

The Regalo Home Accents Extra Tall Baby Gate is available at

Exercise Pen


Corden off a section of your yard where you want your dog to roam for a specific time.

Exercise pens for dogs work incredibly well as a small rest or play area for your yard. You can set up the pen in minutes whenever you need to contain your pups.

You can set the exercise pen anywhere in your yard and even use the smaller models inside from time to time.

These pens will keep your small to medium dogs comfortable outside as you tend to your daily tasks or even go to your appointments. You can leave the pen up between uses or disconnect the panels and put it away until you need it again.


Typically for external use. However, if you have a large home and want to corral your dog to an area within certain rooms, you could set it up within your home.


The most common placement for exercise pens is as standalone kennels in the yard. You can also use them as a pet gate or create a kennel area next to an existing wall by reinforcing the connection points of the end panels.

Where to place your exercise pen?

  • Ensure your dog does dig up your garden beds or an area where you’re trying to have your lawn regenerate
  • Keep your dog contained in a specific area if they get excitable around toddlers playing in your yard e.g. around a kiddie pool. This allows them to observe the fun and frolicking without having to be “locked up” in the garage or standard kennel where they can’t see anything.
  • Act as a pet gate (certain models), allowing you to use it to block off your deck as needed in caring for your dogs.

I love to use these pens when my dogs are in dire need of a bath.

The muddy pups stay in the outdoor pen while the other receives their spa treatment.

Once that pup is clean, they go in the indoor crate to dry and the next comes in.

Once everyone is clean, I take down the pen and put it away for next time.

Size of dog

Using between four to eight panels that connect together, these pens can keep small to medium breed dogs safely contained for hours at a time. They are advertised for dogs up to 110 pounds, but even the calmest big dogs could get out if they tried.

When covered with a gazebo top, these pens can also house large dogs for short stretches, but only with supervision.


Most models of exercise pens for dogs come with eight panels ranging from 24 to 42 inches in width. They also vary in height with the tallest coming in at 48 inches. Using the supplied hooks, you can snap two or more pens together to create even bigger play areas for multiple dogs or an entire litter of puppies.

With exercise pens, you do not need any existing walls to create a secure area for your dogs.

You can find exercise pens that are foldable, making them very easy to dismantle and move around or pack them away for a trip away.

They can be covered with metal or mesh panels that give your dogs protection from the elements and prevent them from trying to jump out.


The higher quality exercise pens tend to come in wire and reinforced metal materials. Lesser quality pens may use plastic materials that do not have the durability of metal, especially when exposed to the elements.

Metal wire exercise pens dominate the market and for good reason. These pens offer a nice combination of convenience and durability in keeping your small to medium dogs secure.

Heavier-duty models exist for dogs that like to jump up on the sides of the pen. Instead of wire all around, they have a thick metal tube frame around each panel. This creates a stronger structure that can withstand jumping, roughhousing and other activity from busy dogs.

You can hook multiple sets of plastic pens together using the innovative pin hinges to create your ideal configuration. The plastic materials are prone to damage from chewers and do not handle the elements well.  


Reinforced metal and wire exercise pens come with all the hooks you need to secure the panels together. They also arrive with the anchors you will need to use to keep the pens secured in the ground. If you put the pen on the dirt, your dogs could try to dig out. To prevent this problem, you can acquire a mat for the floor that extends slightly up the sides of the pen.

You can make your pen weather-resistant by adding a cover to the top. You can find these covers in many different styles, including gazebo tops and sunshades. If you want to completely ensure your pet cannot jump out, a wire metal cover may work best.


The smaller the exercise pen, the cheaper the price to buy. The larger options not only cater for larger dog breeds but provides enough room to contain multiple dogs. Accessories, like covers, are not included in the basic exercise pen kits.

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons for an Exercise Pen

My Recommendations

I’ve made four recommendations to accommodate different purposes, size of dog and size of your yard. With the selection, I’m confident there is something suit your dog, your home and lifestyle.

There is one pen made from fabric and 3 made with metal.

Small pen/tent

The name of this recommendation: ToysOpoly Premium Pet Playpen, gives it away.

This is the most portable and most versatile option.

It pops up in seconds and requires no tools. It folds flat into its own carry case.

Its portability is suited to an active lifestyle: contain your small dog or puppy on a picnic, at the beach, when you are camping or at a holiday house.

It’s also the perfect size for a patio when at home.

It measures 22 inches high and 45 inches wide.

It is fully enclosed (provides shade) with water-resistant soft sides. The top can be zipped off for indoor use.

The quality is commendable as the pen is tested by a Third Party lab. It is certified non-toxic. It is free of BPA plastics, lead, and phthalates.

It’s the only recommendation that comes with a 100% Money Back Guarantee.

Medium pen

Can your yard fit a pen that covers 16 square feet (1.5 meters) of enclosed area? Then the Midwest Foldable Metal Exercise Pen could suit your yard and dog.

It has 5 different heights to accommodate the size of your dog:

  • 24 inches
  • 30 inches
  • 36 inches
  • 42 inches
  • 48 inches.
Outdoor dog kennel ideas
Different pen heights for different dogs

It comes with 8 ground anchors for outdoor use, 8 corner stabilizers and 4 thumb-snaps for easy assembly. No tools are required to assemble the pen.

To make the pen more workable in the outdoors, you can choose from a wire mesh top or sunscreen top for your dog. But these are sold separately.

The Midwest Exercise Pen and it’s accessories come with a 12-month manufacturer’s warranty.

The door is a step-through door, meaning a human can walk into the pen (obviously as well as your dog!). There is an option to buy the exercise pen without the door but that means you need to lift your dog in an out of the pen.

There are 3 colors available: gold, black, blue and pink to suit male and female pooches.

The wire mesh is zinc plated to provides long-lasting protection against rust and the weather.

Large pen

If your yard is large enough to accommodate a 21 square foot 8 panel pet pen, then the IRIS Exercise pen might be more suitable.

It stands 34 inches tall. The height suits puppies as well as small to large dogs.

The doggie door measures 15.25 inches wide and 20.75 inches tall. The door can latch securely to keep your dog inside or can swing freely, allowing your dog to come and go as they please.

The door is a walk-in door for your dog not a step-through door. What does that mean? It means the door is built into a panel so only a dog can walk in, not a human. It’s best to see the photos of the pen here to fully understand.

It comes in 4 colors: light grey, maroon, black and red.

It’s made from heavy-duty molded plastic and will never rust. You can leave this pen outside, exposed to the elements.

The IRIS pet pen is very adaptable to your changing situation. If your puppy outgrows the 21 square feet or you get another dog, you can make the IRIS pen bigger over time by purchasing add-on panels.

This was the only recommendation I can see where the pet pen is 100% made in the USA – keeping jobs at home.

You can buy the IRIS Exercise 8 Panel Pet Pen on

Very large pen

The Paws and Pals Wire Playpen/Dog Fence covers an area of 30 square feet of yard and comes in 8 panels.

The pen/fence has 3 heights available:

  • 24 inches
  • 32 inches
  • 40 inches.

This means it’s suitable to any size dog.

The step-through door measures 12 inches wide.

It comes in one color only.

The panels are made from rust-resistant coated metal so it’s perfect for outdoors. it should last longer than pens made with molded plastic or wire mesh. No tools are required to assemble to panels.

Chain Link Kennel

A chain link kennel is also known as a chain link dog fence, chain link boxed kennel, box kennel, chain mesh dog run or wire dog run. The typical shape configuration is a square box.


Chain link kennels provide the utility of exercise pens in a much more permanent structure.

how to pick the right outdoor dog enclosure
Husky in outdoor chain link dog kennel

Although you can take down and move these kennels, it is a huge undertaking and requires the help of at least one more person.

These kennels tend to have four panels arranged in a rectangle, though lengths and heights vary throughout.

You can also add more panels to your liking to create any size and shape outdoor dog run imaginable.


External use only.


You will likely need to pick a somewhat permanent place to erect the kennel, as it is an ordeal to build and takedown. If you add a concrete slab for flooring, or anchor chicken wire around the edges with cement, then your temporary placement will become quite permanent.

The strong chain link panels and sturdy frame will stand up to the wildest hijinks your dogs can come up with at any given time. With a few extra precautions, your dog will not be able to open the latch, climb over the top or dig underneath this kennel.

Here’s an example of how to set up a chain-link fence or kennel.

Size of dog

From the smallest Maltese puppies to full-grown Mastiffs, chain link kennels can securely contain dogs of all breeds and sizes.

You can use these kennels to house your dogs overnight or throughout the day while you are at work without worry.

The chain link material does allow for climbing, however, so adding a top panel may be a good idea if any of your dogs try to creatively escape.

My childhood Jack Russell terrier could scale any chain link fence or kennel imaginable within moments of being placed inside.

He eventually won that battle as he was better behaved by my side anyway.

Adding a chain link panel at the top would have resolved the issue as well, though probably not to his satisfaction.

Digging out is another possibility, though it can be thwarted with the addition of buried wire or concrete platforms. Adding concrete does completely eliminate the risk of digging, but transforms this potentially temporary structure into a wholly permanent one.  


Premade chain link kennels usually come in heights of 48, 60 and 72 inches.

Depending on the model you choose, the panel lengths may vary wildly with most running between 72 and 144 inches.

You can link together as many panels as you need to in order to create your ideal outdoor dog run.

You can even have custom panels made by a fence builder or buy the materials at the hardware store and make your own.

If you buy premade kennel kits, they often come with panels that have raised legs for cleaning waste and debris away from the floor area.

Custom panels can include these elements if requested, however.

You remain in full control of the customization of your outdoor kennel design whether you choose premade or custom panels.  


To make these kennels, manufacturers build frames for the chain link mesh using galvanized steel poles. Then, they pull the mesh tight against the frame and secure it with metal ties. The frames of each panel may latch together with tough couplers and bolts that tighten up the connections to create a secure barrier.

One panel tends to have room for a gate that attaches using durable hinges.

At the other side of the gate, the hardware should prevent your dog from tipping the latch up with their noses or paws.

There may be a small hole where you can add a spring hook or padlock to prevent the latch from moving, for example. This provides peace of mind while ensuring you can still move your dogs in and out of the kennel with ease.   


You can buy panels for your chain link kennel to create a flat or gabled roof that protects your dogs from sun, rain, and hail. This helps prevent your dogs from trying to climb out and escape.

For protection against the elements alone, you can cover the chain-link kennel with a specially designed cover made from tarp material. Tarps can work as well to block the elements, but neither tarp-based solution can prevent escape by climbers.

To prevent digging, you can put defense barriers next to the chain-link panels.

You have to sink these barriers deep into the ground to keep your dogs from making it to the other side of the fence.

Alternatively, you can accomplish the same game using chicken wire, though it is much harder to bury it deep enough to prevent diggers from getting out. Using cement to anchor the wire in place can help, but this method makes the kennel placement permanent.


The bigger the kennel, the more material you require and the more expensive to buy. The cost of accessories are extra on top of the basic kits you buy.

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons for a Chain Link Kennel

My recommendations

There are many chain link kennels available to buy on the market, especially We came across 2 challenges in our research to recommend some chain link box kennel brands for you:

  • Finding a kennel that was pre-made, ready-to-assemble and big enough to give your dog enough room to run during the day outdoors;
  • Fiding a kennel that received a great rating of above 4 out of 5 from dog owners. This is our minimum score to recommend any product here at Outdoor Dog Fun.

So here’s what our extensive research revealed.

Number one choice

Our best Chain Link Kennel overall is the Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Wire Kennel.

There’s a choice of 3 sizes for you to choose based on the size of your puppy or adult dog and how much room you want your dog to run around in. The dimensions (height*weight*length) are:

  • 6*4*4 (most box-like)
  • 6*4*8 (more long than wide)
  • 4.4*4*4 (more wide than long).

It’s heavy-duty for the outdoors and rust-resistant, made with steel for the frames and wires. It’s welded in a way that prevents sharp edges where your dog’s skin could tear.

Being set off the floor, it’s really easy to remove waste and hose down.

According to reviews on, it’s really easy to assemble, with no tools required. One person is needed to just clamp the panels together.

It comes with a roof cover to protect your dog from sun and rain.

You can place your Lucky Dog kennel in your yard, or on a patio or deck.

The travel-friendly option

We know you love being in the great outdoors and taking your dog with you when you go fishing, camping, hunting, RV’ing or vacationing, so here’s a chain-link kennel that is travel-friendly. Introducing the Advantek Pet Gazebo.

It’s more a pet gazebo (8 sides octagon-shaped) than a traditional kennel style. It could be a permanent structure in your yard or take with you when you go away.

There are 4 sizes to choose from and one color (Aztek Gold):

SizePet sizeBreed
3 footSmallDachshund, Toy Poodle
4 footMedium (up to 50 pounds)Jack Russel, Corgi, Spitz, French Bulldog
5 footLarge (up to 80 pounds)Labrador, German Shepherd
6 footLarge (up to 180 pounds)Great Dane

It’s made with galvanised steel.

There’s door access with a spring-loaded lock.

Apparently it can be assembled in 10 minutes, according to the manufacturer.

It has an umbrella roof so that the rain runs off more easily and comes with a weather-resistant nylon cover.

It comes with a number of accessories:

  • A carry bag.
  • Sunshade you can attach around the gazebo.
  • Connectors to join 2 or multiple gazebos together – great if you have more than one dog.
  • Roof covers for the connector panels.

Based on the reviews I read, if your dog is a serious escape artist or larger than 80 pounds, I’d buy the Lucky Dog or the Jaxpety (below) instead of the Advantek. The Advantek panels are held together with plastic clips. A strong dog could easily apply strength to loosen the panels.

The biggest run for medium to large dogs

The Jaxpety Foldable Chain Link Dog Kennel was the best option if you are looking for a big space for your dog to roam around in that will remain permanent in your yard.

Sized at 7.5*7.5*4 feet, it is an outdoor box kennel and a wire dog run suitable to medium or large dogs.

The welded and coated frames round corners avoid sharp edges where your dog could cut themselves.

Made from galvanized chain link and a steel frame, it is heavy duty and made to last in the weather (avoid rusting).

The latched door measures 16*43 inches (width*height).

There is no roof.

Modular Panel Enclosure


This type of enclosure is also known as a wire panel dog runs, kennel yard or dog fence barrier.

Modular panels allow you to make a kennel of any shape and size. You can use existing walls as a part of your kennel build or simply construct it out of all panels. It is even possible to make rows of divided kennels, as is found at shelters and vet offices, to house your dogs together or separately.


External use only.


When selected with the dog’s size and behaviors in mind, modular kennels offer just as much utility as chain link kennels.

You have to put your dogs in the appropriate size for their needs to prevent escape and other trying problems.

If you have a Saint Bernard, for example, then only the largest modular kennel will do.

You will not be able to get by with the 48-inch tall model, for example.

Modular kennels allow you to move them as you need without compromising on stability.

You can anchor this dog run into the ground, but it is not as necessary as with wire kennel designs.

I feel confident leaving my dogs in modular kennels for several hours at a time. When anchored to an exterior wall and placed under the eaves, even an occasional overnight stay can be a treat, if the weather favors it.

Size of dog

These kennels can easily keep your dogs contained, whether they are the smallest of breeds or the largest.


Modular kennel panels come in a wide variety of widths, ranging from 48 to 144 inches.

Heights tend to hit around five to six feet, though four-foot-tall models are available.

When selecting the best height for your dogs, make sure to consider their jumping and climbing abilities. Also, think about putting a wire cover over the top of your dogs are prone to escaping.

The panels easily clip together without tools and you do not need to even enlist the help of anyone else to complete this build. As a result, modular kennels are easier to move around than chain links while offering similar utility.

Unlike the metal wire kennels, you do not need to anchor these dog runs into the ground to keep them stable. Their round and square tube frame build provide the stability needed to keep the kennel planted while housing even the zaniest of dogs.

If you are worried about digging, on the other hand, these kennels work amazingly well on deck and patio surfaces.

You can also build a concrete slab to place the kennel on top of to keep your dogs securely contained and prevent holes in your yard. If you go this route, you can just spray the concrete clean as the modular kennel panels have feet and raised bottom rails.

You can arrange the kennel panels in any configuration imaginable to best suit the needs of your dogs and property.

These panels easily attach to each other and any other posts you need for securing them.

You can attach them to the outside of barn walls to make kennels under the eaves or leave the free-standing where you wish.


To give them the strength they need to live up to the task of keeping dogs safe and secure, modular kennels are often made from galvanized steel and metal wire materials. The manufacturers use the galvanized steel for the tube frame and hardware, while metal wire makes up the mesh covering the outside of the frame.

The metal materials receive a powder-coated finish that makes the kennel more aesthetically pleasing while improving its weather resistance. You can boost weather protection for the kennel materials, and your dogs, by investing in a cover for the top. The cover is often made from a tarp-like material that repels rain and blocks wind. It can also keep UV rays from the sun off your dogs while they rest outside in their enclosures.


A few of the higher end modular kennels come with covers, but most do not. You can buy them separately, however.

The covers vary in material from metal mesh to tarps designed to block UV rays.

You can also purchase additional kennel panels in various sizes to add more floorspace or split a larger kennel into two.

As they have similar bar spacing, modular kennels work great with crate accessories, such as bowl racks and fans. You can add any accessories that you think will increase the comfort of your pet.

Only one of my dogs prefers to have a fan in their outdoor area, while the other two shy away from them, even in hot weather.

When I set up the outdoor dog kennels, I think about the preferences of my pets in the current weather conditions and adjust everything accordingly. By taking this approach, you can ensure your dogs enjoy their time out in their dog runs.


$29 gets you a small kennel for a small dog. As the cost to buy increases, you get more room for larger dogs or multiple dogs. The cost excludes the price of the accessories.

Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons for a Modular Panel Enclosure

My recommendation


Tips On The Best Places To Locate Your Outdoor Dog Enclosure

Now you know how to pick the right outdoor dog enclosure, here are some quick tips to make sure you locate your enclosure in the right place.


Ideally, ensure your dog’s enclosure is shaded from the sun for the hottest part of the day. Remember dogs that are brachycephalic have a tendency to overheat. Regardless of the breed, always ensure your dog has a supply of fresh water.

Slopes in your yard

If your yard slopes, an exercise pen will topple over. It’s best to use a chain-link kennel or modular outdoor dog enclosure to provide a stronger structure.

Avoid placing an enclosure at the very bottom of a sloping yard. The ground will be soggy and take longer to dry after rain. And you don’t want your dog lying on a damp or wet floor, especially of the enclosure gets a little sun at the bottom of your yard.

If your dog barks

If your dog is prone to barking, don’t place the enclosure near the boundary between you and your neighbor. This will maintain a good relationship with your neighbor.


Avoid placing the enclosure 100% under a large tree with thick and mature tree limbs. These limbs could fall on the enclosure and injure your dog.

Related Questions

What are the most popular outdoor dog kennel ideas?

People tend to favor large exercise pens most for their small dogs.

Large dog owners, on the other hand, go for chain link dog runs more often than the other options.

Modular kennels are most popular with farmers, breeders, and rescues as they offer the best balance of versatility and stability.  

What is a wire dog run?

A wire dog run is also known as a chain link kennel.

When should you consider a large outdoor dog kennel and run combined?

A large outdoor kennel and run combined is a must if your dog spends any extended length of time outside. This configuration allows them to get enough exercise to avoid gaining weight or growing bored.

How big should an outdoor dog kennel be?

The ideal kennel size depends on the size and activity levels of the dog.

Exceptionally busy dogs, like Border Collies, will need a much bigger outdoor dog run than their larger, but lazier counterparts, including Standard Poodles, Greyhounds, and Newfoundland dogs.

How to build an outdoor dog enclosure?

If you like the feeling of building your outdoor dog enclosure you can certainly create your own design and build one yourself.

My preference is to buy a chain link kennel of modular panel enclosure and use the instructions to build an outdoor dog enclosure of any shape and size by buying extra panels. It saves you time and there’s a little bit of creativity involved.

What is the best flooring for an outdoor dog kennel?

For chain link and modular outdoor dog enclosures, the best flooring would be concrete. Personally, I would not like my dog to have a dirt floor.

Either way, I would provide your dog with some comfortable bedding on either surface. Dogs who continually lie directly on hard surfaces like concrete will develop calluses on their elbows. This is especially the case if your dog is overweight.

dog with callus

Remember in Summer, concrete can be very hot to lie on. If your outdoor dog enclosure has no shade, at least provide your dog with something comfortable to lie on.

Are there any safety tips I should remember while using an outdoor dog enclosure?

You can keep your dog safe in outdoor enclosures by preventing climbing, digging and other destructive behaviors. Remember to never tie your dog up in the kennel or run either as a way to solve these problems. When you take the time to learn how to pick the right outdoor dog enclosure, you can customize the build to your dogs’ needs and prevent safety issues altogether.

What’s the best arrangement if my dog wants to sleep outside at night?

Some dogs want to sleep outside. If you have the room in your yard, I would recommend you keep your dog’s sleep and play area separate. That means keeping a regular dog kennel for nighttime and a dog enclosure for the daytime.

Want to know if you Lab is a outside or an inside dog? Have a read of this article.

There a very few small dog breeds that would want to play and sleep outside. So if you own a small dog, rest assured they will be spending nighttime inside your home.

Author - Marie

With 2 Border Collies (Nyx and Bandit) and a Red Heeler (Ruby). With no livestock, Marie spends most of her time outdoors with her dogs, letting them release all their energy as farm dogs. They are fiends for fetch - even in the snow. Marie has started formal flyball training with Nyx, with the other dog likely follow. Marie is also interested in joining dock diving, sheep herding, and agility activities so that her dogs can burn more energy. All three are adept trick dogs with the ability to wave, shake hands, roll over, sit pretty, walk like people and much more. She has much to share with this community of outdoor dog lovers.

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