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Dog House, Crate Or Kennel? Choosing The Best Option

Published 16th March 2021
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As many of us have discovered, lockdown simply wouldn’t have been the same without our four-legged friends. Whether it’s walks that have defined your days or cuddles that have elongated your evenings, there really is nothing better than pleasing your pampered pooch, and a bed is the best place to start! 

Just like us, our canine companions sleep best in warm, safe and restful nests, made extra cosy with blankets, cushions and other comforting embellishments. Luckily for you, OnBuy’s online shelves are packed with the best range of doggie homes, crates and kennels to fit this very purpose. So, whether your pup will be relaxing indoors or enjoying life alfresco, you’ll never have to worry about where they rest their hairy head again.

In this helpful guide, we’ll take you through some of the finest pet shelters on offer, determining which is most likely to set your treasure’s tail wagging. After all, who doesn’t love an animal accessory?

Dog houses, crates, kennels: what should I know about each?

dog on laptop

The world of canine comforts can truly feel like a minefield but don’t fear - we’re here to help! Although houses, crates and kennels all sound pretty similar, they actually possess a variety of distinctive characteristics, so it’s important to know the difference before you buy. Take a look through the definitions below to decide which style is most fitting for your four-legged family.

Dog house: this is a small outdoor shed that’s commonly built in the shape of a lodge, which provides your hound with a sense of sanctuary and security (as well as protection) from various weather conditions. Several materials can be used to build these homes, including plastic, resin, hardboard, and wood (if the alpine theme is your vibe).

Crate: while a dog house tends to be a more permanent fixture, a crate is a metal, wire, plastic, or fabric enclosure in which a dog may be kept for means of security, training or transportation. They’re fundamentally designed to replicate a pup’s natural den and can provide them with a place of refuge at home or when travelling to new surroundings. For a further touch of class and sophistication, covers can also be added to enhance the overall appearance. 

Kennel: similar to a dog house, a kennel is usually stored outside and is typically constructed from materials such as wood, metal and canvas. They can be fashioned into a number of attractive designs, from log lodge to pitched cottage, and can really add that special sense of je ne sais quoi to your outdoor space.

Things to consider before buying a doggie dwelling

canine crate and kennel

Now that we’ve established the basics, let’s delve straight into some info on canine cabins and their advantages. If your pooch spends a lot of time outside, regardless of the climate, it’s definitely worth investing in a doggie house or kennel. Not only do these handy homes provide shelter from the elements (super convenient in heavy rain or intense heat), they also offer a relaxing space where your companion can nap and chill. 

When searching for your kennel, there are three main things to consider: size, material, and design. Depending on your pup’s proportions and preferences, some lodges may be more suitable than others, and OnBuy is here to tell you why…

Size: this is the most important aspect when purchasing a house, and tends to be regulated by the size of your dog. Bigger is not always better in this circumstance, as pets enjoy the snug and safe feeling of slightly smaller spaces. The right home should be big enough for your pal to comfortably stand up and turn all the way around in, but not any larger. They should also be able to stretch out contentedly when fully lying down. As a general rule of thumb, 1-10lbs breeds like Yorkies, Chihuahuas and puppies will need an XXS kennel, whereas the 76-110lbs varieties like German Shepherds, Great Danes and Mastiffs would probably be more at ease in an XL-XXL model. 

Material: most dog houses are made of either plastic or wood, and both can be great choices. Your decision on this front can be more about the aesthetic, reflecting whatever ‘look’ you’re trying to achieve, but should also be dependent on the climate of your area. Typically more expensive, wooden options are usually more eye-catching and realistic, offering greater protection and better insulation for your pup during the winter. Plastic alternatives, though cheap and less natural can, in some cases, be more practical: they’re lighter, making them easier to transport, and don’t rot, meaning they won’t need regular refinishing.

Design: again, a vital decision. There are a number of design elements to consider for long-term doggie dwelling use, including the door (this can be useful for keeping the weather out and body heat in), the floor (the best houses have raised, insulated floors that keep moisture and insects out), the roof (most come with either pitched or flat roofs), and ventilation (crucial for both hot and cold climates) - look out for slotted openings or small windows that afford protection but also provide airflow.

Top tip: if you travel with your pup a lot and fancy something more portable, it might be worth investing in a nylon pop-up dog tent or teepee. As well as being incredibly easy to pack and assemble, these helpful homes offer fantastic temporary protection for camping and holidaying purposes.

Choosing the right crate for your canine

Dog crates

Dog crates, also known as dog cages, are designed to hold your pooch for shorter periods of time. Typically consisting of wire frames with removable tray bases, they’re available in a wide variety of sizes, styles and substances, and have five major uses:

Open area: some pups benefit from having an open ‘den’ area where they can safely run around and play. Much like a nursery pen for a child, it can be a great way to keep an eye on your pet while carrying on with your daily tasks.

Training aid: crates can be of great use when toilet training and really help your puppies adapt to being left alone.

Short-term confinement: when owner supervision isn’t possible.

Veterinary advised: in some circumstances, a vet may advise the use of a crate, perhaps after surgery or to hasten recovery. Vet bedding can also make a great addition to a cage of this function, particularly as an antibacterial alternative to pillows. 

Transportation: specially designed for car journeys, these ergonomically-shaped enclosures are great for helping your dog to feel safe and secure in any moving vehicle.

Like kennels, crates come with a plethora of furniture and accessories that can truly indulge your pooch. Trays are durable, removable pans that are incredibly useful when housetraining your puppy. Straightforward to install and effortless to wipe down, they’re also convenient to have on-hand when muddy prints or food bowls are at play. Covers are also a fantastic way to upgrade your cage without breaking the bank. Simply slip over your crate to enhance the cosy feel and amplify the airflow. 

Soft alternatives are far lighter in weight than other wire models, and are typically easier to set up and fold away after use. Many flexible-sided crates, including the Tectake Foldable Carrier have two or three doors, so you can let your dog in from the side, front or top, providing several options for treat-giving and stroking in the car. Be wary of these mesh panel palaces if your companion is more excitable though… the fabric is easily torn! 

On a more boujee note, luxury cages are intended to blend with any home décor, and can make a striking addition to any living room or kitchen.

Kennel vs. crate: which one is better?


Dog kennels and crates are both convenient and advantageous structures for your pet. They help to teach discipline and independence, crucially offer a sense of unmatched security, make travelling safe, and protect your pup from all the outdoor elements. With either of these in your animal arsenal, you’ll never have to worry about displeasing your pooch again. 

That being said though, there are several perks and restrictions to each, and it’s vital to consider these before purchasing your new den of zen. Kennels are perhaps best for very large dogs and more aggressive breeds that may need to be restrained during the day. They may also be the most appropriate option for canines who like to spend most of their time outdoors.

Crates, on the other hand, are fantastic for owners who enjoy travelling with their furry friends, need assistance with training, or want to reduce separation anxiety. Trust us, this one’s pretty common.

OnBuy’s top six dog houses and crates

dog houses and crates

Having discerned the difference between a crate and cage, a kennel and a dog house, let’s dive into our collection of the best models on offer, exploring the benefits and drawbacks of each. With OnBuy’s helping paw and extensive online selection, there’s really nothing to be barked at!

To triumphantly train your treasures | PGO Black Dog Crate

PGO Black Dog Crate

Pros: Available in a range of handy sizes, metal base tray is easily removed for cleaning purposes

Cons: Wire exterior may appear clunky or unattractive in modern homes, no door on the roof

This PGO dog crate would make an eye-catching addition to your home, ideal for use when house-training puppies or new dogs. Guiding and educating your pets can be an incredibly stressful experience, but this cage is specially designed to help with the schooling process, offering a number of handy features that will really make a difference to your rigorous regime. 

Allowing you to choose a size, dependent on your doggy’s dimensions, is a super convenient quality that will really go down a treat (no pun intended!) with your canine companion. As a guide, opt for X-Small if you have a Chihuahua or other miniature toy breed, Small for Bichon Frises and Terriers, Medium for any Spaniels, Large for Basset Hounds and Bull Terriers, X-Large for Border Collies, Boxers, Golden Retrievers and Labradors, and XX-Large for Dobermans, German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Wolfhounds. The scope and diversity is truly endless!

Pups naturally seek out smaller spaces to curl up in, so this cage is perfect for any age and breed of hound. The metal bars prevent them from chewing, and the conveniently removable metal tray can be easily cleaned should accidents occur.

Unfortunately, however, it does possess some downsides. The lack of unlockable space on the roof means that human-to-animal contact may be minimal with this crate – not great if your pup suffers from intense separation anxiety. The wire aesthetic may also be off-putting for some owners, as the sides may appear industrial and unfriendly.

The best for outdoor play | Keter Dog House Kennel

Keter Dog House Kennel

Pros: Beautiful design with sturdy pitched roof, raised floor to facilitate necessary airflow 

Cons: Plastic-looking material may not be to everyone’s taste, self-assembly required

With an all-weather design, this heavenly house can easily be used both indoors and outside, requiring very little maintenance to keep it in great working shape. The hard-wearing pitched roof is both fine-looking and functional, offering complete protection from all the elements and any unpleasant weather. Best of all, the raised floor is ideal for keeping your dog dry and warm in the winter, and cool and content in the summer – what more could you want?

Thanks to its large capacity and breathable interior, there is plenty of room for your pooch to move around and stretch. Constructed from durable resin, it effectively resists permanent damage and can be conveniently cleaned with a damp, soapy cloth. 

The only major disadvantage lies with the manufacturer’s material itself. Despite being lightweight and easy to sterilise, the plastic-looking material may not be to everyone’s taste. It also requires self-assembly… not a deal-breaker but not ideal, either.

The puppy-proof phenomenon | VidaXL Outdoor Cage

VidaXL Outdoor Cage

Pros: Galvanised steel frame is incredibly durable, suitable for both indoor and outdoor use

Cons: Chain-link mesh sidewalls may seem distasteful and unappealing, only suitable for puppies

Like the PGO dog crate, this strong and sturdy cage is the perfect companion when training your rambunctious pup. Providing safety, security and comfort, it’s both versatile and nifty, suitable for a range of uses: playing, exercising, training, and restraining (to name just a few). In short, it’s the perfect playhouse paradise for all your furry friends!

Thanks to the heavy-duty galvanised steel frame, this quality enclosure is certainly built to last. It provides ample space for many dogs, and helps to prevent any unexpected accidents with the surrounding chain link mesh. This not only enables airflow (keeping them warm in the winter and cool in the summer), it also keeps you safe in the knowledge that your puppy won’t come to any harm.

The top canopy, constructed from 100% polyethylene, is fire-resistant and UV protected, offering protection from the sun, rain, snow, and other weather conditions. The hinged door with lockable latch system ensures extra security, and the entire pen is incredibly easy to assemble. The door can be installed on the left or right side too, depending on your preferences and needs. 

On the flip side, though the sidewalls may be safe and robust, they may not appeal to everyone’s tastes, looking somewhat mechanical and cold in certain households. This cage is also mostly reserved for puppies, so may not be the best option for someone with an older hound.

The customisable cage | Soft Fabric Dog Playpen

Soft Fabric Dog Playpen

Pros: Available in a range of striking colours to suit every dog and owner, easy to fully fold

Cons: Reduced size means its better suited to smaller dogs, mesh not suitable for excitable pups

This customisable cage is fun and eye-catching, and is available in a range of understated colours to keep your pups stimulated while looking stylish. The mesh fabric design is breathable, comfortable, easily stored, and effortless to wipe down – handy for those with messy pups! Its sturdy eight-panelled frame provides enough room for boisterous play and exercise, without encroaching on your space, and the simple pop-up design makes it easy to set up and remove.

Equipped with a detachable zip top and bottom, the structure is safe, secure, and easy to keep fresh. Best of all, it can quickly be folded flat, for storing in the car or a cupboard – great for travelling and vacationing purposes. Your pooch won’t even need a suitcase!

Regrettably however, the reduced size of this cage means that it’s only suited to smaller dogs.

The car journey companion | Ellie-Bo Sloping Puppy Cage

Ellie-Bo Sloping Puppy Cage

Pros: Slanted front for use in smaller-capacity car boots, folds flat for easy storage and transportation

Cons: Slope may cause pets to feel uncomfortable and trapped, locking feature is not secure

The Ellie-Bo 30” slanted dog cage is the perfect canine-carrying solution for smaller-capacity boots. With its non-chew metal tray and slick black design, you’ll never have to worry about fitting clunky, solid crates into your car again. Preventing scratches, dents and damage to your vehicle, it will save you money and hassle with the sophisticated, ergonomic structure. 

With a handy removable base made of indestructible steel, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently clean any mess created from muddy paws or accidents. The simple, understated colouring blends easily with all car models and homes, and the handy fold-away feature means the Ellie-Bo can be conveniently stored at home or on the move.

Standing at only 54cm, it might not be appropriate for larger breeds and pups that tend to feel claustrophobic in tighter, constrictive spaces. The locking feature is perhaps less secure than other cage model latches on the market, which may be worth considering if your pooch likes to move or play within the pen.

To live in the lap of luxury | Front Door Indoor Kennel

Front Door Indoor Kennel

Pros: Stunning pinewood-metal fusion design, adjustable rubber feet help to balance the cage

Cons: Fixed flooring cannot be removed for cleaning, one door makes for restricted access

This beautiful kennel is what doggy dreams are simply made of. Expertly crafted from authentic, sustainably-sourced Nordic pinewood, with a melamine resin-coated roof, this shelter is charismatic and versatile - just like your canine companion! Ideal as both an indoor and outdoor den or sleeping place, it represents a protected, secure space in which to retreat during stressful situations. The solid aluminium rods that surround the enclosure are durable, chew-resistant and long-lasting, allowing your dog to see out through any side of their home.

It additionally features some height-adjustable practical rubber feet, which help to balance the kennel on uneven floors or grass. This helps to prevent slipping and spinal injuries, and provides your dog with a comfortable, stable area in which to relax and rest. The large front door can be firmly fastened with a double safety lock to stop any unexpected getaways during the day.

On the downside, the kennel’s fixed flooring means that the structure is slightly harder to clean, so it may not be well-suited to those in the puppy training stages. The higher price point and single door access may also be a cause for concern if budget and accessibility are important to you.

Some final (paw-some) points

paw high five

We hope that this guide has given you something to ‘high-five’ to, and enlightened you in the world of cages, kennels and crates. Whatever the proportions of your pooch and the size of your space, there’s something available for everyone. No matter what you choose, one thing’s for sure: you certainly won’t end up in the dog house!

Of course, we all want what’s best for our four-legged friends, so don’t fur-get to check out our full range of dog supplies while you’re here to pick up everything you need to keep those tails wagging. From mouth-watering morsels and brilliant boredom busters to nutritious (and delicious!) meals and grooming gear for the most pampered pups, we’ve got everything you need to take the best care of your canine here on OnBuy. 

Please note: the information in this buyer’s guide is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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