Picking the right kennel vs an inappropriate one for your dog can make a huge difference. It’s a place where your pet will spend a lot of time and it is important to make them feel comfortable and cozy in it. Most know the standard dog crates, but these aren't always a good option for outdoors, and few consider an open-top kennel instead (which is essentially a playpen).
These open-top outdoor dog kennels are typically to be used outside, but you can use a dog playpen indoors too instead of a regular “small” crate. An open-top kennel may be a better choice since it provides your dog with a sense of freedom and some space for exercise.
That said, due to their size and construction, it's likely you're going to use an open-top kennel or exercise dog pen outdoors. So let’s take a look at some of the best wire outdoor dog kennels available on the market, including heavy duty kennels and more lightweight, mobile options.
The 6 Best Open-Top Outdoor Dog Kennels
1. Advantek Original Pet Gazebo Outdoor Dog Kennel
One of the more popular, best rated open-top outdoor dog kennels currently available, this one features a “gazebo” style construction, which means that it's octagon shaped and has a reversible, waterproof cover. You can remove the cover at any time if you want to turn it into an open-top kennel and place it back on when you need protection from the elements if it's placed outdoors.
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A unique feature of Advantek gazebo is that you can purchase more than one and connect them. An unlimited number of gazebos can be connected together, allowing dogs for their own space but also to walk around and “visit their neighbors.” Another thing that's unique about this item is that the company offers a bunch of additional “accessories” if you need any, such as different covers and sun shades, corridor covers for connected gazebos, nesting boxes, bags for carrying the kennels and more.
While this dog gazebo needs to be assembled, it only takes a few minutes to set it up. Despite its looks, it's actually a very portable option and it comes in four different sizes to accommodate all dog breeds (small – up to 50 lbs, medium – up to 100 lbs, large – up to 180 lbs).
The Advantek outdoor dog kennel is made from galvanized steel, which makes it stable and sturdy. Something most owners don't consider until they buy such a kennel is its aesthetics, but this one is one of the few that actually makes your backyard look better with it standing there.
2. ALEKO DK5X5X4SQ DIY Box Kennel
This outdoor dog kennel with an open top boasts a sturdy, heavy-duty construction which is strong enough to keep your dog from getting out without making him feel confined. You can even connect multiple kennels together to make more space for your dog. Due to its construction and size, it works perfectly well for containment of large breeds for whom it's often difficult to find a crate or indoor pen. It also works as a kennel for two dogs.
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The main purpose of this kennel is for containment but thanks to its size and the abundant space, you can also use it as an exercise kennel or a playpen. While this is primarily an outdoor kennel, if you have enough room in your home, technically it can also be placed inside. And if you look at the “Customer Ratings” on the product page, you'll see many pet owners in fact do use this as an indoor dog kennel.
This is an expensive open-top kennel, but also one of the more reliable options. It's made out of rust resistant powder coated galvanized steel and will likely to last long even with constant rains and snow outdoors. The ALEKO kennel requires assembly, but the entire process is pretty simple. The same goes for dissembling it, which allows for easy transportation. The kennel’s dimensions are 5 x 5 x 4 feet. For even more room, you can buy two of these and connect them into one single kennel.
3. Midwest Exercise Pen
The cheapest outdoor dog kennel on the list from a very popular brand Midwest is the best value-for-price option. If you're on a budget or simply need a lightweight open-top kennel/playpen for your calm breed, this is easily the first one we recommend looking at.
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Midwest kennel, or rather an exercise playpen, provides 16 square feet of enclosed area, which is more than enough for your pooch to not feel cooped up, indoors or outdoors. It requires assembly but it is extremely foldable and travel-friendly. It can be set up rather quickly, allowing you to choose whether you like the square or round shape. You can get the kennel in 5 different heights, depending on the size of your pooch.
This playpen can be used both indoors and outdoors, but a very popular option is to use this exercise pen indoors alongside a Midwest wire dog crate – you can connect the two and allow your dog different levels of containment and freedom.
The kennel/pen comes with ground stakes to ensure safety for outdoor use, as well as corner stabilizer to keep the shape and provide stability. The door has two latches for additional security. However, the biggest drawback is that the playpen has a rather simple, boring and unattractive design, not matching its functionality.
4. Yaheetech Heavy Duty Metal Dog Kennel
Another unique option that cannot be compared to the first two, Yaheetech outdoor kennel for dogs is the most popular in its category. This is an 8- or 16-panel playpen/kennel and it's extremely spacious since it provides the enclosed area of around 67 square feet, best for small to medium dog breeds.
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The design of this kennel allows for multiple shape configurations, like octagon, square or rectangle. You can even split it into two 8-panel kennels and still provide your dogs with plenty of room. Due to how much space it takes, it's likely to be used outdoors but if you have enough room at home, it's works very well as an indoor dog kennel too.
The dog fence itself is made of high-quality powder-coated iron. It comes with rounded edges to keep your pet safe at all times and ground stakes to keep it securely in place. You can fold it flat to allow for easy storage or transportation. Of course, you will have to assemble this playpen before you can use it. Note that fence height is only 16″ which is low enough for large dogs or medium dogs that are good jumpers to go over.
5. Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Wire Kennel
The Lucky Dog outdoor dog kennel is the most expensive item on the list, but it's also the most popular in its category and one of the most stylish, safest, reliable, truly heavy duty kennels for dogs currently available. It is constructed with stainless steel bars and wire mesh. These are welded together and then coated with a rust-resistant finish for increased durability.
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While it also requires assembly like most other products on our list, this kennel is probably one of the easiest to set up due to its simplistic design. Surprisingly, its wire construction is actually very attractive and streamlined, and it doesn’t at all take anything away from the kennel’s functionality. You can get this kennel in three different sizes to fit any size breed, with the most expensive option at around $270 and 6'H x 8'L x 4'W size.
Even though it's easy to set up, this may not be the most mobile travel-friendly kennel due to its size and sturdy construction, so if you need something you'll move often, this may not be a good option. But if you want something stable and safe, this is the one, and it also comes with a heavy-duty waterproof cover for rain and UV protection. The kennel comes with 1.5-inch raised legs that allow you to clean the floor without entering the enclosed area.
6. EliteField 3-Door Folding Soft Dog Crate
The last on the list is something a little different for people looking for an actual dog crate with an open top. The EliteField 3-door soft dog crate, which we've previously tested and picked as our favorite crate, is a unique one. It's an open-top crate that is extremely portable and ideal for traveling. It also comes fully assembled, so all you have to do is set it up or fold it in a matter of seconds.
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The frame of the kennel is made of strong steel tube, while the cover is made of high-quality 600D fabric and hex mesh fabric. This is a very stylish, well-ventilated and lightweight dog crate which is also durable at the same time (for what it is). You can find a soft kennel of any size to fit most breeds.
Our editor Samantha has previously tested and reviewed several EliteField crates, including this 3-door folding one, and gave it a rating of 4.3 out of 5. Her comments were that it's one of the best cost-for-value options available, made of quality materials, easy to use and the only item that has an open-top and removable top cover.
The top can be opened at any time, which means that it can provide enough sunlight when needed and protection from rain or snow at other times. The cover is removable and washable. This product comes with a free carrying bag and fleece, and a 2-year warranty from one of the most respected dog crate manufacturers based in New York.