The Different Types of Dog Enclosures & Buying Tips

Dog owners buy dog enclosures for many reasons, including puppy training, transportation, playing, security, etc. Regardless of the reason why you need one, the best thing about dog enclosures, is that they make it easier to manage your dog or dogs. They also come in many types to serve different purposes and different types can be used indoors and/or outdoors.

Reasons to Get a Dog Enclosure

While not all dogs need a dog enclosure of any type, this versatile dog product can be a great tool for most dog owners and their dogs, and for some, it may be a necessity. However, if you are looking for one, there are several things you need to take into consideration, including the reason you are getting it, the size and breed of your dog, quality, durability etc.

two brown puppies in a crate


The first reason why you would need any type of pet enclosure outdoors is your animal’s safety. For instance, your backyard may not be secure enough for your curious four-legged friend, and they may wander off somewhere, and potentially be in danger of getting injured or attacking other people or animals. Furthermore, you may install an enclosure for your dog if you want to protect your garden, or something inside the house while you are not home, or working. You may also need them for training, or behavioural issues, or simply to know where they are when you aren’t with them.

Types of Dog Enclosures

There are many ways to categorise dog enclosures because they come in an incredibly big range of options. They can be divided according to their size, the materials they are made of, whether or not they can be transported, etc., and probably the most important one, their primary use.

Dog Run

Dog runs are enclosures that provide enough space, as the name suggests, for the dog to run. There are many reasons why you’d want to buy a dog run kennel for outdoor use for your puppy. They are simple and highly practical for outdoor use and are a great option if you want to keep your backyard neat or if you are training your dog.

backyard modular dog kennel dog run with two german shepards inside


Generally, when you are choosing a dog run, the rule is that the bigger it is, the better. However, many things might affect your decision, such as your dog’s breed and its size, and most importantly how long will they spend in it. Obviously, the longer you intend your dog to be in the enclosed dog run, the bigger it should be, and, of course, the bigger the dog is, the bigger the enclosure should be.

Furthermore, when you are buying a kennel run, you’ll have to decide whether you want a chain mesh run or a welded wire panel run. Both types are a good choice, but they are different. While chain mesh runs are cheaper, they are not as strong as welded wire panels. However, they may be enough if you are looking for a run for a small or a medium dog, which they’ll use for a couple of hours in the backyard.

Welded wire panel runs are more expensive and they come fully finished. They are heavier but also sturdier, which makes them a good choice for bigger dogs. Furthermore, they can be as big as you want them to be since you can add as many panels as you like, and set them up into many shapes.

Dog Play Pen

Similar to dog runs, playpens are meant to mark and enclose the space where the dog can move play and explore. The main difference is that they aren’t really meant to keep dogs secure inside, especially not a big dog, and not outdoors. They are perfect for indoor use, even though they can be used outdoors in some cases.

dog play pen with two dogs playing inside


Inside your house, a playpen can help you set limits to your dog’s movements, as well as keep all of the dog’s toys inside. It can be a great way to keep your dog contained and to make sure that they aren’t chewing on your furniture and other objects, while you are not home or when you can’t spend time with them. Pens are supposed to be wide enough so that puppies can be free to move around in them and play.

When it comes to outdoor use, playpens, also sometimes referred to as exercise pens, can prevent small doggies from moving around the backyard. They can be a great solution if you want to know where they are playing when you aren’t there. However, they are only good if they aren’t left alone in them for hours, because they aren’t as sturdy as dog runs, and they are only good for smaller and medium dogs. This is because they aren’t as tall or covered on the top, meaning they aren’t as secure, and they aren’t really suitable for bigger dogs either, because they wouldn’t be able to hold them inside if they want to run.


Unlike a dog run kennel or a playpen, crates come in one piece, and they are meant to serve as the dog’s den. Many consider crates to be a great tool for training dogs. Your dog’s crate is supposed to provide safety and intimacy where they can go when they need to relax. Furthermore, unlike runs and pens, crates can be used to transport your dog.

dog crate with two doors for two dogs


Once your puppy gets used to it, it can be their own place, where they can go if they feel tired or anxious and not be bothered. If you decide to use them, you can also put a dog bedding inside the crate, and you can use them in combination with a playpen, for instance, so that they have their den and be confined, but in a bigger area, where they can play and run.