Should I Build or Buy a Dog Kennel Run?

Updated on April 23, 2020
Tucker-Man profile image

I love dogs and enjoy sharing tips on how to best care for them.

Dog runs are a wonderful investment for pet owners to allow their furry friends outside to play and expend energy without being under constant supervision. They allow a pooch who would otherwise be alone in the house all day to be outside in a secure area. By providing their canine friends with a secure outdoor exercise pen, owners can leave dogs alone guilt-free, knowing that the dogs are getting some much-needed fresh air and play time. An outdoor dog run also lessens concerns about pets being hurt by cars, wandering off, or tearing up gardens or property.

There are many options to consider when choosing the best fenced dog run for your needs. Considering the size and breed as well as the space available in your yard will help you determine the kennel for your needs.

  • Some can be purchased with special features to cater to specific breeds.
  • Kits are also available for various configurations.
  • You can find plans online if you want to make this a DIY project.

Whether you choose to buy a ready-made kenned or build it yourself, this article will introduce all the features to consider.

Standard off-the-shelf dog run.
Standard off-the-shelf dog run.

Does a Kennel Need a Roof?

One important thing that you don't want to overlook is your dog's tendency to jump or climb. If you are unable to train you pooch to stay within the boundaries of her dog run, you will need to consider getting an enclosure with a secure top. If you are uncertain if you pet has jumping or climbing tendencies, make sure that you will be able to add a top if the problem arises down the road.

Fenced dog runs are available with weather resistant UV-treated tops.
Fenced dog runs are available with weather resistant UV-treated tops.

A tarp type of cover may be good for sun protection but may not stop a determined "Houdini Hound" from escaping her exercise kennel. Some pets are quite adept at scaling walls, and as the saying goes, it's hard to keep a good dog down!

A backyard dog run complete with make-shift sunroof and dog house.
A backyard dog run complete with make-shift sunroof and dog house.

What Shape of Kennel Is Best?

Square pens may take up as little as 6’ by 6’ of space, but if your backyard is longer than it is wide, you may look into modular dog runs that are rectangular in shape to better accommodate your four-legged friend. If you have a dog breed with specific needs, be sure to research which types will best accommodate those needs.

This outdoor dog run needs a new top and a good kennel flooring solution!
This outdoor dog run needs a new top and a good kennel flooring solution!

What Kind of Floor Is Best?

Don't overlook flooring. Good options are stone or gravel, patio blocks, or a concrete slab. Even when dog runs are placed on a nice grassy area, in time, they usually wind up being turned into muddy messes!

Nice DIY dog run project complete with low maintenance kennel flooring & dog house.
Nice DIY dog run project complete with low maintenance kennel flooring & dog house.
Outdoor dog run with stone kennel flooring.
Outdoor dog run with stone kennel flooring.

Pre-Fab or DIY?

Buying a pre-fabricated dog kennel and run is definitely the best option for people without much experience in building or without enough time on their hands. Although it may not be the most economical option, it may be worth it, considering the large amount of time and energy you will save and the peace of mind you will have knowing that it was properly built and is safe for your pet.

What's Involved in Installing Pre-Fab Fenced Dog Runs?

You'll need a buddy to help you with this project, especially if you get a dog run with a top. Watch the video here, where Andy shows us how to build an outdoor dog pen that includes an access gate and a weatherproof UV-treated cover. This type of exercise pen will protect your pooch from the sun during the day and provide some shelter from rain and snow.

Pre-fab dog run with DIY wooden platform.
Pre-fab dog run with DIY wooden platform.

DIY Kennels

Owners who have the skills and time available can save money by doing the research and building backyard dog runs for their pets. If you chose this route, make sure that you have detailed plans including a material list and all the necessary tools before setting up to build your enclosure.

Building your own gives you the freedom to choose the best design and consider your space constraints as well as your particular dog's needs. It will allow you to make modifications that would not be possible with an off-the-shelf unit. You will be able to add many of your own unique touches along the way. A builder with imagination can create a dog run that will be unmatched by anything that can be purchased from a store as a kit.

Backyard dog run with slanted roof.
Backyard dog run with slanted roof.

Store-Bought Dog Runs

A pre-fabricated kennel and dog run is definitely a good choice if you’re just looking for a standard size enclosure that will get the job done. You will just need a minimum of skill and be able to follow some basic instructions and your pooch will soon be enjoying his new enclosure.

Happy canines romping together in their outdoor dog run!
Happy canines romping together in their outdoor dog run!

What If I Have More Than One Dog?

Do you need an option for multiple pets? If you have more than one pooch and you will like each one to have his own space, try placing two separate dog runs next to each other. This way they will not get too lonely, but on the other hand they won't be able to annoy each other and get into little tiffs when you're not there to supervise them.

It's also a good idea to place your dog's run on a raised platform. This will provide some protection from pooling water and keep their dog house nice and dry.

Adjoining dog runs on a raised wooden platform built to house two pets.
Adjoining dog runs on a raised wooden platform built to house two pets.
It can be very dangerous to leave your furry friend chained up! If you can't provide your pet an exercise pen, try an aerial dog run.
It can be very dangerous to leave your furry friend chained up! If you can't provide your pet an exercise pen, try an aerial dog run.

Aerial Dog Runs Are Better Than Using a Fixed Chain

Fenced-in dog runs are always the best option, but if you must compromise, use an aerial dog run. This is basically a leash that dangles down from above, giving the dog a wide area to walk in. It's much better than chaining your animal to a fixed spot. But just how much better will depend on how and where you install it.

  • Do not install it near a fence. If your animal is close enough and tries to jump the fence, he could hang himself!
  • Make sure the system you build or purchase incorporates at least one swivel mechanism to eliminate tangling of the lead.
  • Consider using a dog harness instead of a regular collar. A dog that constantly pulls on its lead may damage his throat over time.

If you are unfamiliar with aerial dog runs, here's a short video that lays out the typical components and shows you how to install one. Make sure to watch to the end of the video for important safety tips for using a dog cable run. Before you decide to use a fixed chain or a pet tie-out system, read a little more.

How to Install an Aerial Dog Run

Pooch in pre-fab chain link dog run.
Pooch in pre-fab chain link dog run.

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • profile image


        3 years ago

        Great advice , thanks, i will tell my boss as he wants a dog run

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        Didn't see anything about diggers!

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        Thanks so much I am so shocked at the amount of information and it's also so useful but what are the costs and sizes thanks.

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        Thank you so much, we have gone through nearly a million hubs and videos and found nothing helpful. But we eventually came to this page and there is just good useful information here popping out at us. So once again thank you very much.

      • profile image


        5 years ago

        they'd give him until May but he's lived longer and I think bsaucee of the diet and supplements that are similar to yours I highly recommend K9 Immunity with transfer factor treats. Good stuff. It is a heart-breaking diagnosis for sure but we can do things to make their lives better quality for the time we have left. Good luck to you and Diego.

      • profile image


        5 years ago

        what are the prices and sizes? Cost of freight?

      • Allie Johnson profile image

        Allie Johnson 

        10 years ago

        This is a great Hub - very detailed info. I have two dogs, so this is really helpful!

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        Great Hub - very well put together and very informative - thanks

      • cocowboy profile image


        10 years ago from Colorado

        Great info on dog pens thanks...

      • Stuart Barnes profile image

        Stuart Barnes 

        10 years ago

        Boy, there is a lot of information on dog kennels here. My brother and sister and I have small kennels we sleep in at night but during the day we have about an acre of ground to run around on even though most of the time we sit and look through the fence and try to make our owner feel guilty.

      • n8blls profile image


        10 years ago from Austin

        That is one great hub, I am impressed. Dog runs can save your pets life.

      • Shaunelle Tansy profile image

        Shaunelle Tansy 

        10 years ago from a galaxy far far away

        Wow, very informative hub! We recently looked at fencing our whole acre so that our dog wouldn't wander, but one of these looks like it would be a lot more cost effective. I might have to hit my local paper and see if there's any dog runs for sale. Thanks for the info :-)

      • jecrawlipp profile image


        10 years ago

        I'm with the others - there is an amazing amount of information on dog stuff in this HUB - very nice.

      • profile image


        10 years ago

        That is what I call a lot of information about dog runs!

      • Helen Straw profile image

        Helen Straw 

        10 years ago from Tasmania

        Great idea for outdoor dog runs! I like how easy they are to assemble! Nice hub.

      • Home and Garden profile image

        Home and Garden 

        10 years ago

        Great article, you covered every imaginable scenario with the pictures.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)