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Should You Buy or DIY a Kennel for Your Working Dog?

by Dakota Storage Buildings, on April 21, 2021

BuyOrBuildDogKennelBuilding and buying both have pros and cons. Here are some insights into each.

Whether you have a working dog or you're looking to get one soon, the first thing to have in place is sufficient shelter to keep him safe, dry, and protected — the foundation to your working dog’s health.

Maybe you need a kennel because you don't have one yet, or the one you have now is in rough shape. Whatever the case, you likely find yourself in the position of having to decide if you should build or buy a kennel. Both options have pros and cons. We'll go over some in this article. Hopefully, it will help you figure out which option is the best for your needs and budget.

Building a Dog House

If you're handy, like researching building plans, and have some time on your hands, then building a dog house might be the right solution for you. While they can be more affordable than pre-built or custom options, don't be fooled — DIY dog houses can be simple or extravagant. Here are some key considerations before you head over to your local home improvement store to stock up on lumber. 

Icon_Customized Customization - The obvious benefit of building your own dog house is customization. You're only limited by your imagination and skill. If you enjoy creating and having side projects, then DIY construction may be the way to go. 
Icon_Cost Cost - On average, construction materials needed to build a dog house can range from $80-$200, depending on the size of the house and type of material. Most often, they're built using engineered wood, cedar, pine, fir, or plywood. But don't forget to add in the cost of insulation, windows, vents, exterior paint/sealant, and any other component that you wish to include. 
Icon_Time Time - How long it takes to build a dog house is really up to you. Between finding a plan you like, going out to buy the material you need, then actually constructing the dog house could take anywhere from one to two days of concentrated effort. The time you spend building the house is your choice.
Icon_Components Components - To keep your working dog dry, protected from the elements, and his body temperature regulated, consider adding insulation and ventilation to the dog house as well as access to the outdoors. These are the most basic components, but many more could be added to your dog house that would take it from ordinary to extraordinary.  
Icon_Durable Longevity/Durability - This depends on the materials you use and the quality of your construction. For instance, a well-constructed engineered wood or composite plastic dog house will last longer and stand up to the elements and everyday wear and tear much better than a plywood dog house.


To DIY, you will need: 

If you’re interested in tackling a DIY dog house, gain more insights from How to Build a Dog House and How to Build a Custom Insulated Dog House.

Buying a Dog Kennel

If construction isn't your specialty or you don't have the time to DIY, you can buy. A quick online search will produce dog house retailers near you. There's a significant benefit to trusting experts who have experience building outdoor kennels. They know about outdoor living for dogs that an average DIYer may not think about pre or post-construction.  

Icon_Customized Customization - There's a wide range of outdoor dog kennels available. You can find options at farm supply stores, pet stores, and kennel manufacturers. When you buy through a kennel manufacturer or seller specializing in year-round outdoor kennels, there's often an option to customize. Some you can fully customize, while others are pre-built with the opportunity to choose colors and add-ons. 
Icon_Cost Cost - Quality is key here. If you want a good kennel from a reputable company or builder, you'll pay a little more for it than a DIY dog house. A premium insulated dog kennel for 1-2 dogs can range from $1,000 to 4,000. When you buy a premium kennel, sellers often offer financing and payment options, so be sure to ask. As you consider the noticeable price difference between DIY and buying, keep in mind that your dog's health depends on the kennel you provide. 
Icon_Time Time - While you're not spending time planning and building, you will be spending some time shopping online and potentially in person. Fortunately, dog houses are easy and convenient to find. And the time it takes to shop for a kennel is significantly less than the time it takes to build one. However, when you get your kennel depends on delivery lead time.
Icon_Components Components - Outdoor dog kennel manufacturers make their products for the purpose of protecting dogs from extreme weather. Dog kennels built for working dogs who live outside take into account the need for insulation, ventilation, and access to the outdoors.
Icon_Durable Longevity/Durability - When you buy from a reputable dealer, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you're buying from someone who knows dog houses better than you. Also, many manufacturers offer a warranty with their kennels — something you don't get when you build your own. 


If you're leaning toward buying a kennel, download our guide first. It will help you understand how to choose the right size based on your working dog breed, best material and layout (we're fans of engineered wood construction and insulated feeding rooms), ideal placement, and much more.

Find the best-fit outdoor dog kennel. Download free guide >>


Whether you decide to buy or build, it’s important to have a budget and knowledge of critical kennel components that will keep your outdoor dog protected and healthy. In addition to shelter, be sure to provide access to plenty of fresh water and food, stimulating toys, and regular vet exams. Doing all of these things will keep your working dog in tip-top shape.

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Topics:Dog Kennels

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