The Ultimate Guide to Building or Buying a Dog Run

My new puppy (Eevee) is a handful!  After constantly running inside and outside the house, we needed to get her a fenced in area to play. That is how we found a dog run. Our new puppy is an energetic labradoodle that needs room to play. She was by far the largest of her litter and at six months old is a whopping sixty pounds! This means she will be a HUGE dog. What is worse? She has endless energy. She barely sleeps. All she does is run, play, and eat. This is why my husband and I needed a solution. We found dog runs. There are two types of runs, and both can be excellent choices for an excited pooch.

What is a Dog Run?

Dog Run

A Dog Run is a fenced in the area designed for play or relaxation  outside. The size, shape and construction can vary wildly. This causes most people to know what they are looking for. If you have even been to a Dog Park, you know exactly what a Dog Run is. Normally, a park will have a main fence, and then inside will be a segregated run for dogs to play without a leash. Perfectly shaped to give a dog room to run around and play. The main perk is you can leave toys or obstacles inside the dog run and let your furry buddy play all day.  Dog Runs have a huge advantage over just a regular fence.

The Dog Park type of Dog Runs are often large. It is the fenced off section of a public park that allows a dog to run unleashed. Nearly every local dog park will have an outdoor dog run. Ten years ago runs were uncommon. You would have to search out special parks to find a dog run. Now? Every major city has one because they are safe and more enjoyable for dogs.

But if your dog is anything like my dog, a daily run and bi-weekly trip to a dog park just will not suffice. This is where a personal dog run comes into play. You can build a run for your dog at home which is safe, secure, and allows you to not worry about your dog running amok.

The Best Dog Run Ideas

Hyper active dog? Check. Huge yard without a fence? This second question will direct you to either purchase a run or start looking for run ideas. You realistically have three options when building your own run. Each option has unique advantages which depend on your dog size, yard size, and obstacles in your yard.

Your Three Options

  1. DIY Puppy Run
  2. Dog Run Cable
  3. Or Find a Puppy Run for Sale

Be honest here. If you have a large yard, have a large breed dog (Or a very energetic mid size dog) and are willing to build your own run, I would always suggest you do it yourself. When building it yourself, you have to stick to the basics. A dog run is usually very tall chain link fence. The DIY Run has the main perk of being far cheaper than fencing an entire yard. An at home run will also have at least a floor and most likely a ceiling.

The floor be build out of anything, even dirt. But want a material your dog will not bite or dig through. I normally use composite board, or pebble stone that I pack in. Some people use metal, but I find this dangerous if you have a dedicated chewer. You can also use concrete but that is expensive and I am not too keen on my dogs running on concrete all day, especially in the heat.

If building your self, you absolutely want a great cover. Depending on climate, a plastic tarp can do. You just want to have at least some of the run shaded, and out of the sun for the hot days.

Dog Run Size Matters!

Get your mind out of the gutter –  size does matter. For dog runs, one that is too small will be uncomfortable for your furry friend. If you’re keeping your pup locked away in an area that’s too small, it can be considered cruelty, especially if left outside for extended periods of time. Extended time, in boredom or unsavory conditions (Read: Heat or Bad Weather) and you have a determined dog trying to escape. Eventually, your dog will get out. 

That leaves most of us scratching our heads on large to build a run. When you go shopping for a run you find a lot of small, thin chicken wire – like runs. Those are absolutely awful. Too thin, too cramp, and easy to jump over. Lucky for us, the Humane Society has Dog Run requirements. 

The average run should be:

  • 3 feet by 10 feet long
  • The height should be at least 6 feet

If your dog is over 100 pounds, the width should be increased by one foot. While dogs that are over 200 pounds aren’t typical but exist, you should increase by another foot if they appear to be over this number on the scale.

Not pleased with these figures? Another way of determining the best size run for your pooch is to multiply their length by 5. There are laws to abide by when it comes to the scale of a dog run, and it should fit within the regulations of the Animal Welfare Act.

If the space you give them does not allow them to sit, stand, lie comfortably, and walk in a normal way, then your space is not big enough for them. They should be allowed exercise and to rest comfortably accordingly to the regulations given by the humane society.

These rules are like kennel or cage rules. The height is entirely designed to prevent even the best jumpers from escaping an outdoor run. The roof absolutely helps here. The last rule of a DIY run is to have enough shaded space for your puppy to lie down at any time of the day and be out of the sun.

What about a Dog Run Cable?

A Run Cable is essentially a metal woven cable with a stake you drive into the ground. This is is my least favorite option, but are the least expensive. You can get dozens of feet with a Dog Run Cable, but an aggressive or excited dog can pull the stake out of the ground. But when you can’t build it yourself or do not have the room, this is a decent option.

You must make sure the yard you have the run cable void of any obstructions your puppy can wrap around. Putting the stake in concrete also helps vastly. I discourage using a dog run cable if you do not already have a fenced yard. Worst case scenario is your dog will break free.

Advantages of buying a Dog Run

Dog Run for Sale

The advantage should be pretty clear. When buying you always get features such as:

  1. A built in warrenty
  2. Easy of installation
  3. Included instructions
  4. Customer support
  5. Measurements already handled
  6. Proper material
  7. Saves space over a DIY

Those are just the basics. Your average DIY’er is not going to be able to properly weld the corners of the chain link fence and will most likely skimp. The best part of buying a run is the pre determined measurements. Just like a kennel or cage, every Dog Run you buy includes recommended dog sizes. Rather than doing the math yourself, you are guaranteed to get a good one.

Plus, I enjoy the reviews I get from big online retailers. I can pick one of many that fit my needs. Buy buying is not for everyone, far from it.

The Best Dog Runs for Sale

We touched on this earlier. The thin metal will not cut it. Even small dogs will chew through or jump over the traditional chicken wire like run that you find at most local stores. Even Petco and Petsmart carry the chicken coop like wired runs. No wonder so few people have runs when the options are awful. This leads us to looking online for a run.

As a dog owner and lover, and owning every size and type dog you can imagine, I have tested several runs and found my three favorites, for very different reasons. I even include what size  and activity level dogs I suggest for each.

#1 The Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Wire Kennel

The best you can buy is the Lucky Dog Uptown Welded Kennel. It includes standard features you need in a run. When looking for a dog run for sale you have a few absolute needs, which Lucky Town Provided in this sturdy construction run. Like all featured runs, this absolutely meets the requirements outlined by the Humane Society. Another perk are adjustable sizes, you can get a smaller Lucky Dog Uptown Run. But I am reviewing the optimal size, which also has hundreds of positive reviews. Plus, it is what I use for my new puppy.

Standard Impressive Features:

  • 6 Feet Tall – Tall enough for even large breed dogs.
  • 4 Feet Wide – Wide enough for even the longest dog to comfortably lay down.
  • 8 Feet Long – Long enough for even a large dog to play.
  • Weather Guard Cover – Prevents weather from harming your puppy.
  • Welded Stainless Steel – No sharp edges and extremely durable.
  • Easy to Assemble

This Dog Run is Good for:

  • Small, Medium, and Large Breeds
  • Dogs who Love to Run
  • Up to two Medium Sized Dogs
  • Multiple Small Sized Dogs

This run has all you need. The cover, size and constructions makes it the perfect option for most dog owners. This can even house multiple dogs. The long design and sturdy construction allows space for multiple dogs playing. A common pitfall of dog runs are that they are designed for one dog to run. People buying a dog run often have multiple dogs.

#2 Advantek Select Pet Gazebo Metal Modular Outdoor Dog Kennel

Look at this cure little Tee-Pee! This is the ‘real deal’ version of runs you find at a local store. It is optimal for one dog to run in circles. I only enjoyed this run for small breeds and travel. But it absolutely has a place for several dog owners due to its fabulous construction. Hundreds of review online show dog owners agree.

Standard Features:

  • Made of Galvanized Steel
  • Five Feet Wide Design (Circular)
  • Built in Umbrella Roof
  • Only One Panel Opens
  • Door Panel has included Window to Refill Food and Water
  • Spring Loaded Lock to Prevent Puppy Escape
  • Portable (You can Fold and Go!)

This Dog Run is Good for:

  • Dog Up to Sixty Pounds
  • Small, and Most Medium Breeds
  • Optimal for Travel
  • Multiple Small Breeds (Including Teacup and Miniature – Especially Poodles)

This run has a special place in my heart for small breeds and portability. For RV’rs this is perfect. Also families with multiple lapdogs (Not your husky who loves to jump on your lap, the real lapdogs). A small and energetic dog can run around in this run for hours. The ability to open the window panel allows for human interaction without the risk of letting all dogs out. Which is needed when dealing with small dogs.

#3 Lucky Dog Modular Box Kennel

This monster is the easiest to set up and come in the largest size. It can be purchased at an astonishing 6 feet tall, by 10 feet wide and 10 feet long! This is the only extra large breed run I have found or used that was great quality. If you have two large breed dogs, or an extra large breed dog, this is the run you want.

Base Model Features: 

  • 6 Feet Tall
  • 10 Feet Long
  • 5 Feet Long
  • No Tool Required Assembly
  • Optional Anchors to keep in Ground
  • Welded Wire Condtruction

This Dog Run is Good for:

  • Dogs Up to and Over 100 Pounds
  • Medium, Large and Extra Large Breeds
  • Up to Three Medium Breed Dogs
  • Up to Two Large Breed Dogs
  • Extra Large Breed Dogs
  • Extremely Active Medium and Large Breed Dogs

The base model is only slightly larger than the first lucky dog option. What sets this apart is the optional 6 by 10 by 10 option, and the anchors. This run is designed to be anchored into the ground, which is an absolute necessity – as all extra large breed owners know. Unfortunately, you do not have many other options for a very large run that is built well.

Quick Dog Run Recap

When all is said and done, you need a great dog run that will fit your sized dog and provides them with the appropriate outdoor shelter. Each common type has it’s own benefits. It is more important to have the right size run for your dog than worrying about extra features like a cover. 

A park with a dog run is the perfect option for people with no or a small yard. Or dogs that need socialization. Do not forget the puppies who hate to be alone. Since most cities have dog parks now, this should not be a big deal to find one. Most city parks require a dog to be fixed and licensed to go to a park. In my area, you need to pay for admittance to several near by parks but they have an even better run,  water areas and plenty of shade to cool down.

If you have a big yard, have out door dogs, or a dog that keeps jumping over your regular fence, a DIY Dog Run is a fantastic option. You do need some basic handy man skills, a truck or large vehicle for supplies and a lot of tools and skills. But if you are handy at all, it can be done.

After that you have the dog run cable. I dislike it, but a cable is better than nothing. A cable can withstand a teething puppy, and coming in various lengths, you can find a cable for your needs.

My Favorite Dog Run for Sale

My personal favorite is #1,  the Lucky Dog Outdoor Playpen. I am slightly handy, but my husband would be the one to install a dog run for us. We have a small yard. All the indicators point to buying a run. But the real reason why I lean this way is I want to guarantee my run is built right for my fur baby. My puppy, Eevee, will be a big dog, she is teething, she can already jump over three feet, and is expected to be 100 pounds and lean. Although a cable may be designed to withstand teething, I have seen my puppy chew through cheap metal (She went through a phase of enjoying it) and anything wood or plastic like.

She is also a digger. Knowing I have a properly enclosed run from top to bottom, that is shaded and she can grow into is all I need to know. It is the best option for my family. But as long as you get your dog an outdoor play place, all is good. Just like a kennel or cage, a dog wants their own safe place. Add in the fun exercise a reprieve from bad weather, a run will be the best gift you ever got your puppy.