Buying Guide Pet Supplies

A Ruff Choice: The Dog House Buying Guide

Choosing the right dog house for your home means understanding what your dog needs. Some pet parents jump into looking for the best dog house without considering important dog house buying tips and without considering what they need out of a dog house. This can leave them and their dog with a dog cabin that doesn’t fit their needs.

In this article, we discuss our top tips for buying a dog house. We’ll teach you about the difference between a cabin and a crate as well as the best dog house materials. Continue reading to make your furry friend as comfortable as possible. 

Dog House Types

Selecting the best dog house for your dog starts with understanding the various types of dog houses. The different types can be selected based on where they will be located, what kind of material they are made of, and other details.

There are many types of dog houses to choose from as well as many sub-types and hybrids. However, the main types of dog houses we will focus on are crates, cabins, and raised platforms.

Crate Dog House

A crate dog house is made up of vertical bars, horizontal bars, or both. A crate dog house is an excellent training tool for puppies just learning good potty habits. Your puppy will quickly learn not to relieve themselves in the crate, especially if you follow good crate training protocols. 

Crates are also great for transporting your dog in the car. Dogs that run around loose in the car can slip and fall or be injured in an accident. Confining them to a crate is ideal for safe travels (though make sure you select the right size, which we will discuss later on). 

Cabin Dog House

Among the different types of dog houses, a dog cabin is what comes to mind when people think of a dog house. These are the most versatile as they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. They are also easily customizable with your dog’s belongings.

A cabin is a great option whether you want it inside your house or outside. It provides protection from harsh weather, a calm place to nap, and a space to avoid people or other pets. These types of dog houses can be enclosed like crates, but are most commonly open and are only used for the dog’s comfort.  

Raised Platform Dog House

A raised platform dog house is the least restrictive style of dog house on our list. They are strictly meant for comfort and don’t provide much shelter as with cabin dog houses. A raised platform dog house is most similar to a dog bed, but with a roof, which might be perfect for your dog’s needs. 

Dog House Materials

Once you determine the right style of dog house, next on our list of dog house buying tips is to consider the material used. The material affects the comfort, durability, and protection offered. The most common types to choose from include wood, plastic, and metal. 


The most popular material for a dog house is wood, especially for a dog cabin. Wood makes a dog house versatile in that you can adjust the shape, color, and weather resistance with ease. You can add windows if you want to add more ventilation as well.

Wood is also a great insulator. So, if you live in a cooler climate or an area with cold winters, a wood dog house can help keep your dog warm. We recommend waterproofing it to increase longevity. 


If your idea of the best dog house is one that will last a long time, plastic is a terrific option. Its longevity is similar to that of wood, especially if you live in a mild climate. However, in extreme temperatures, plastic can either melt or crack.

Plastic also lacks the insulation capabilities offered by wood. So they’re not ideal if you’re trying to provide your dog with a warm home in the fall or winter. 


A metal dog house is most likely to outlast the other two types of materials on our list. They are good for dogs that like to chew or scratch, which makes them a great choice for crates. 

A metal dog house offers little in the way of comfort or insulation. While you can increase both with an external covering, metal is best used for indoor crates, short-term confinement, or safety during car rides. 

Dog House Sizing

One of our top tips for buying a dog house is to make sure you size it right. The best dog house is one that is comfortable for your dog, so you’ll need to pay attention to measurements. To find a good fit, you’ll need to measure your dog and compare those measurements to those of the dog house. 

How to Measure Your Dog

Your dog’s height matters the most when it comes to measuring them for a dog house. If a dog house is tall enough, it is almost always going to be wide enough. In order to measure your dog, make sure they are standing with all four feet flat on the floor.

Take the end of the tape measure and place it on the ground directly below your dog’s chin. With your dog’s head looking forward, measure to the highest point of their head. Repeat the process, but measure from one of your dog’s paws to the top of their shoulder. 

Dog House Measurements

The dimensions of a dog house are listed in the format length x width x height; you mainly need to worry about the height. Some manufacturers will have only the height listed in the product name, but the full dimensions should be available in the product description. You’ll also want to note the height of the door or entrance. 

Now, compare the height of your dog’s shoulder to the height of the cabin entrance. The door frame should be about 25% shorter than the height of your dog’s shoulder. This helps to control temperature changes within the cabin.

Next, compare the height of the cabin itself to your dog’s head height (make sure the measurement doesn’t include any feet or platforms). The cabin should sit about 25% higher than your dog’s head. This ensures your dog has enough room to stand up comfortably and not be hunched over.  

Dog House Buying Tips

Some of our other tips for buying a dog house include details that make it the best dog house for your dog. Our top recommendations involve making sure the house is comfortable, temperature-controlled, and well-ventilated. To achieve this we recommend adding bedding, ensuring protection from the elements, confirming ventilation, and managing temperature. 


The best dog house is a comfortable dog house, which is why we suggest finding the right bedding to add to your dog’s new space. For cooler nights and seasons, try finding a soft, padded mat or cushion to retain heat. This is also ideal for dogs with joint problems or mobility difficulties. 

For warmer climates, we recommend elevated cots. These allow better airflow to keep your dog cool while keeping them comfortable. You can choose the right one for your dog based on their size. 

If you’re investing in an outdoor dog house, protection is essential. This can be as simple as placing it under an outdoor canopy tent or under a deck. It can also mean making sure the dog house itself has a strong and durable roof. The goal is to make sure your dog is safe and well-protected while inside of their dog house. 


If you’re investing in an outdoor dog house, protection is essential. This can be as simple as placing it under an outdoor canopy tent or under a deck. It can also mean making sure the dog house itself has a strong and durable roof. The goal is to make sure your dog is safe and well-protected while inside of their dog house. 


While ventilation is less of a concern for crates with open slots and open front dog cabins, it’s important for enclosed spaces. If you select a dog cabin and crate hybrid, you want to make sure it provides adequate airflow. If not, we recommend looking for one with windows or an open front instead. 

Temperature Management

Especially in climates with severe weather, temperature management is essential in a dog cabin. If you plan to leave your dog outside in high or low temperatures, consider options that include heating or air conditioning to keep your dog comfortable. 

Make sure to bring your dog indoors during extreme weather. This will help them avoid serious medical problems such as heat stroke and hypothermia. 

Find the Right Dog House for Your Furry Friend

Use the above tips to find the right dog house for your dog. Take the time to think about what you want to achieve with the dog house. This information will help you decide between the different types of dog houses such as cabin or crate, various materials, and more. 

If you’re ready to find the right dog house for your furry companion, check out our selection today. 

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