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Outdoor kennels are useful for keeping your dogs contained outside the house. Although these are meant as temporary enclosures and not as permanent doghouses, they still need to be comfortable, safe, and durable for your dog.
If you have a German Shepherd, it is especially important to find the right outdoor kennel—one that can withstand its size, weight, and strength.
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Reasons Why You May Want an Outdoor Kennel
No matter where you live, you should never leave your dog alone in the yard for too long. They especially should not live there permanently.
This is specifically true for breeds like GSDs, who thrive best when they can freely take part in family activities.
Even so, here are some reasons why you might want an outdoor kennel for your German Shepherd:
Ensuring Outdoor Safety
An outdoor kennel allows you to keep your dog temporarily confined outside the house while also ensuring that they won’t run away or get themselves into trouble. This is especially useful if your yard isn’t fenced-in.
Apart from keeping your dog confined, these will protect them from harsh weather without compromising ventilation.
Place of Security
Just like an indoor crate, an outdoor kennel can be your dog’s safe space when outside. It can be their personal territory wherein they feel secure and yet still be able to enjoy fresh air and sunlight.
This space will also keep them safe from wildlife if there are predators in your area.
Apart from getting sunlight and fresh air, dogs in outdoor kennels can benefit from the changing scenery going on around them.
They’re able to safely observe more activities and gain more experiences, which all help keep their mind active. This makes them more socialized and well-rounded dogs.
Enclosed Potty Area
If you have large grounds, it’s more convenient to confine your dog’s potty area to a smaller space. This will make it easier to clean up after them.
Additionally, once they’ve been properly potty trained to use the outdoor kennel as a potty area, they tend to do their business more quickly since they’re not distracted by other sights and smells.
Things to Look for in an Outdoor Kennel
When choosing an outdoor kennel for a German Shepherd, it’s important to look beyond price. Here are a few things you need to consider in order to make sure you decide on the right one:
Unlike indoor crates, which only require enough space to stand, lie outstretched, and turn, outdoor kennels should be much bigger. These should give your dog enough space to stretch, move around, and use up their pent-up energy.
If your space can accommodate it, opt for outdoor kennels that are at least 90 inches on the longest side.
German Shepherds are tall dogs with a powerful jump. To secure your pet inside, make sure that your outdoor kennel is tall enough to keep them from jumping over, especially when you don’t have the canopy installed. Ideally, your kennel should be at least 60 inches tall.
Since GSDs are heavy and powerful, you need an outdoor kennel that won’t easily get destroyed or toppled over. Choose one that’s heavy enough to stay in place and also boasts heavy-duty construction like welded steel or high-gauge wire mesh.
Ease of locking & unlocking
The gate should be difficult for your pet to open but easy for you to lock and unlock. Ideally, you’ll only need one hand to lock and unlock the gate. This will enable you to use it while handling your pet.
Make sure there are no sharp edges or potential dangers. Always check for potential weaknesses that your GSD can access or destroy.
Such weaknesses—like wires jutting out or easily broken latches—can cause serious injury to your dog.
When you select an outdoor kennel, make sure it suits the surface you want to build it on. Most kennels can be installed on any surface, but some are only suitable for dirt while others need more effort to be set up on concrete.
Most dog kennels for outdoor use are easy to install. They’re typically composed of several panels that can be joined together using simple tools and hardware provided by the manufacturer.
However, there are also much more complicated ones that might need more effort to set up.
Although it shouldn’t be your primary consideration, price is definitely something you should factor into your decision.
Although better quality often means higher prices, ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth by selecting a product with the best materials, durability, and size.
Reviews of Outdoor Dog Kennels for German Shepherds
Several outdoor kennels can accommodate large breeds like German Shepherds. However, not all of them have the durability to withstand these dogs’ strength.
Below are a few of the best outdoor dog kennels for German Shepherds you should consider:
Mid West Homes for Pets K9 Kennel
The K9 Kennel by Mid West Homes for Pets offers an incredibly spacious outdoor dog cage measuring 120 x 120 x 72 inches.
It is made of chain-link mesh that’s held together by a durable galvanized steel frame.
The entire kennel weighs 155 pounds, and so is sturdy enough for even the most energetic German Shepherd.
It also includes a polyethylene shade to protect your dog from rain, snow, and sun. It also has a swing door that’s approximately 16 inches wide and is secured using a convenient safety latch.
What I love:
- Extra-large space
- Heavy-duty construction suitable for GSDs
- Easy-to-use latch
- Chain-link offers good ventilation
- Polyethylene sunshade
- Swing door may be too narrow for larger adults.
JAXPETY Heavy-duty Large Outdoor Wire Dog Kennel
The Heavy-Duty Large Outdoor Wire Dog Kennel by JAXPETY measures 94.5 x 47.25 x 71.5 inches and is made from commercial-grade steel.
It is finished with black powder coating, which makes it more durable and resistant to rust.
This outdoor kennel is composed of 11 separate mesh panels with 4 x 2-inch grid, so your dogs can enjoy proper airflow and an unimpeded view.
One of the panels is a 50-inch swing door with a latch that keeps pets secure but is easy to open by humans. For added protection from rain or sun, it comes with a removable weatherproof canopy, which is held to the frame by nylon ropes.
What I love:
- Heavy-duty steel construction
- Easy-to-use latching door
- Weather-proof canopy
- Simple setup
- Might eventually need canopy replacement.
COZIWOW Large Dog Kennel With Roof Shade Cover
The Large Dog Kennel With Roof Shade Cover by COZIWOW is made of strong galvanized steel and a tarpaulin canopy.
It is carefully welded to ensure not only durability but also to guarantee the absence of sharp edges that can cause injury to your dog.
This metal dog house measures 94.50 x 47.25 x 71.5 inches and has a mesh size of 4 x 2 inches.
This not only gives your German Shepherd enough space to stretch and pace but also gives them enough airflow. Additionally, its gate measures 18 x 52 inches, which is large and safe for adults to move in and out freely.
What I love:
- Strong galvanized steel
- Welded & inspected for sharp edges
- Large mesh size for visibility and airflow
- Tall and wide gate to fit large adults
- Canopy protects from sun, snow, and rain
- Might need to be anchored down for GSDs that like to jump against the side of the kennel
Omitree Modular Dog Kennel
The Modular Dog Kennel by Omnitree measures 54 x 114 x 60 inches but can be configured with more panels to build a larger outdoor kennel.
It is made of 6 panels in total, with one panel able to swing open and shut as a large gate. This gate is secured by a latch, which is easy enough for adult humans to lock and unlock.
This outdoor dog kennel has a mesh size of 4 x 2 inches.
This enables you to have a good view of your dog from the outside, and also allows your dog to have an unobstructed view from inside the kennel. This unit also comes with a tarpaulin cover for protection from rain, snow, and sun.
What I love:
- Extra-wide gate
- Secure but easy-to-use latch
- Durable frame
- Easily expandable
- Raised legs for easy cleaning
- Shorter height might cause heat retention during the warm summer months.
Warnings About Outdoor Kennels
While outdoor kennels can be incredibly useful, they should only be used in limited situations. Otherwise, they could be detrimental to your dog’s well-being. Here are some instances when outdoor kennels should not be used:
As a permanent home
Dogs thrive best when they can join their family indoors. German Shepherds, especially, need to feel like they’re part of the household and can protect their family members if need be.
However, if it is really your intention to have a yard dog, it’s is best for you to find a more suitable home for your pup than an outdoor kennel. Find something else that’s more comfortable, provides better shelter, and would enable a better feeling of security.
As a place of punishment
Just like an indoor dog crate, outdoor kennels should serve as your GSD’s outdoor den or personal territory. They should feel safe in it and be able to seek refuge there when they are stressed or anxious.
If you use it as the place to lock them up when they’ve done something wrong, they will come to hate it and will never feel comfortable in it.
As shelter from harsh weather
Outdoor kennels are meant to provide shelter only temporarily. Although many do have decent shade and proper ventilation, these structures are typically not enough to protect your dog from harsh weather.
The German Shepherd’s undercoat makes them pretty sensitive to heat, so it’s best to keep them indoors during the hot summer months. Otherwise, even a short time confined in an outdoor dog kennel could trigger a life-threatening heatstroke.
Likewise, being exposed to the elements during the cold winter months could put your dog at risk of hypothermia.
When used for the right reasons, outdoor kennels can be a wonderful addition to your home. It is a convenient place to keep your dog safe and away from trouble when you can’t be around for strict supervision.
It can also be advantageous for your dog who can feel secure and yet still have the benefit of mental stimulation by being exposed to changing sceneries.
No matter your purpose, however, you need to introduce your dog to the outdoor kennel just like you would approach indoor crate training. This will help make sure that your German Shepherd doesn’t see the outdoor kennel as punishment but as safe personal territory.