Is it cheaper to buy or build a dog kennel?

Quick Answer

Whether it is cheaper to buy or build a dog kennel depends on several factors:

  • The size and features of the kennel
  • The cost of materials if building it yourself
  • Your construction skills and tools available
  • Labor costs if hiring someone to build it

Building a basic outdoor kennel may be cheaper than buying a pre-made one, but a more complex kennel with insulation, electricity, etc. may be more cost effective to purchase. Much depends on your DIY abilities.

Cost Factors for Buying a Kennel

When buying a pre-fabricated dog kennel, here are some of the main cost factors to consider:

  • Size – The larger the kennel, the more expensive it will be. Typical sizes range from 4′ x 8′ to 12′ x 20′.
  • Materials – Wood, chain link, welded wire, and plastic are common kennel materials. Wood is generally the most expensive while welded wire is often the cheapest.
  • Features – Insulation, electricity, plumbing, ventilation, gates, roofing, flooring and other add-ons substantially increase costs.
  • Quality – Better construction and materials mean higher prices. Cheaper kennels may have thinner wire or wood that deteriorates faster.
  • Brand name – Buying from a well-known company usually costs more than an anonymous manufacturer.
  • Shipping fees – Having a pre-fab kennel shipped to your home costs extra.
  • Tax – Sales tax will need to be added to the purchase price.

As an example, a basic 6′ x 10′ chain link dog kennel might cost $300 to $600 depending on materials and features. A premium wood kennel of the same size could cost $2,000 or more.

Estimating Prefab Kennel Costs

Here are some rough estimates for typical pre-made kennel prices:

Kennel Size Basic Chain Link Kennel Price Premium Insulated Wood Kennel Price
4′ x 8′ $200 – $400 $800 – $1,500
6′ x 10′ $300 – $600 $1,500 – $2,500
8′ x 12′ $400 – $800 $2,000 – $4,000
10′ x 20′ $600 – $1,200 $3,000 – $6,000

So for a mid-sized kennel for 1-2 dogs, expect to pay $300-$2,000 or more depending on the type. Large premium kennels can cost upwards of $5,000 or beyond.

Cost Factors for Building a Kennel

If you construct a kennel yourself, the main costs will include:

  • Building materials – Wood, fencing, screws, nails, concrete, rebar, insulation, shingles, etc. This will likely be your biggest expense.
  • Tools – Saw, hammer, drill, shovel, level, work gloves, and other tools may be needed, especially if you don’t have them already.
  • Site preparation – Grading, filling holes, removing debris from the installation site.
  • Foundation – Gravel, concrete, pavers or other base for the kennel flooring.
  • Roofing – Shingles, metal roofing, or another suitable covering.
  • Labor – What you pay yourself or workers to construct the kennel.
  • Time – The hours required to build the kennel from start to finish.

Prices can vary widely based on kennel size, features, materials quality, your geographical area, and DIY skills.

Estimating DIY Kennel Costs

As a rough estimate, building a basic outdoor chain link kennel yourself may cost:

Kennel Size Estimated DIY Cost
4′ x 8′ $100 – $300
6′ x 10′ $300 – $600
8′ x 12′ $400 – $800
10′ x 20′ $700 – $1,500

A more complex wood kennel with insulation, roofing, electricity could cost 2-3x as much. The skill and effort required would also be greater.

Making the Buy vs. Build Decision

Whether buying or building a dog kennel is the more cost effective option for you will depend on several factors:

  • Your construction skills and ability to follow DIY plans.
  • Tools available – Can you cut wood, mix concrete, etc. or will you need to buy/rent equipment?
  • Local material prices for lumber, fencing, hardware, etc.
  • Convenience – Is it worth your time to build vs. buying a pre-fab kennel?
  • Kennel features needed – Basic or complex with insulation, lighting, plumbing, etc.
  • Quality desired -prebuilt is often higher quality than homemade.
  • Your availability to construct – Do you have enough free weekends?
  • Labor costs if you hire it done.

For very basic chain link kennels, doing it yourself can sometimes cost less than buying, but results may vary. For complex kennels with electricity and plumbing, pre-fabricated is often the more affordable route.

Think about which factors above apply to your situation. Also get detailed quotes on materials and any outsourced labor before deciding. Price both options out in detail.

When Buying Makes More Sense

Buying a pre-made kennel often makes more sense if:

  • You want an insulated kennel.
  • You want electrical, plumbing, ventilation, or other complex features.
  • You want something very customized.
  • You have limited DIY construction experience.
  • You don’t have the right tools or workshop space.
  • Your time is limited.

For elaborate kennels with lots of fancy features, having something custom built for you is usually the better option.

When Building Makes More Sense

Building your own kennel may be the more affordable choice if:

  • You just need a basic outdoor chain link kennel.
  • You have construction skills and tools.
  • You can get fencing and lumber cheaply or free.
  • You have ample free time.
  • You enjoy DIY projects.
  • You need a custom size or layout.

For simple rectangular enclosures made with chain link or welded wire, constructing it yourself will likely cost less than buying.


Determining whether to buy or build a dog kennel depends on your specific needs and situation. For complex kennels with lots of features, purchasing a pre-made one is usually the better option and more affordable in the long run. For simple DIY-friendly kennels, rolling up your sleeves and building it yourself can potentially save money.

Carefully consider the time commitment, your skill level, total costs, and kennel features needed before deciding. If handy and with simple needs, building makes sense. For everything else, seek out quotes and let the professionals handle it!