Dog Breeding Kennels – Designs, Ideas, Tips For Responsible Breeders

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Breeding dogs is a fantastic way for animal lovers to make families happy & spend time with their pets. However, breeding is a very tedious process, and you need to keep your animal’s well-being in mind.

The health and comfort of your dogs should be a top priority; this ensures that your puppies will grow up to be well-adjusted and well-behaved. 

An essential for every breeder is the right kennel; what kennel suits your lifestyle? Do you need an indoor or outdoor kennel? What conditions are the most important for you? Do you have any air quality or weather issues? 

You can also consider ways to revamp your kennel with additions that improve the quality of your puppies’ lives. Furthermore, you must keep some tips in mind for rearing the pups, taking care of the bitches, and choosing the right family.

Kennel Designs

There are a variety of kennel designs that you can choose from based on your respective breed and your lifestyle.

However, some conditions should be present regardless of the design, such as adequate sizing. Your puppies should be able to walk around, sit, and turn around easily in their kennel. 

Your kennel must also have comfortable sleeping conditions. Using a bed or a mat helps keep the puppies warm throughout the night. 

Outdoor Kennels

Outdoor kennels are the more common option for kennels. If you plan on breeding for a long time & you plan to have multiple litters in a year, then an outdoor kennel is the best option for you. 

Pros of an Outdoor Kennel

  • Easier to clean
  • Suitable for larger breeds
  • Less disturbance at home
  • Allows more breeding bitches at the same time

Cons of an Outdoor Kennel

  • Need more materials
  • More expensive
  • You must leave the house frequently
  • Not suitable for extreme weather conditions
  • Dogs don’t get as socialized

Cement & Metal

Concrete Dog Kennels

Cement and metal kennels are one of the most common kennel designs. This design has a cement floor, cement half-wall, and metal bars dividing the separate dogs, as well as metal roofing to cover the puppies from rain.  

This is a good choice for experienced breeders that are handling more than one bitch at once. The cement is easy to clean, and the cement provides some soundproofing to prevent dog fighting. 

This design also has good visibility for the kennel breeder. You can quickly scan the area and ensure the puppies are healthy & happy. 

However, very deep cleaning of the kennels must be done from time to time to remove natural outdoor build-up.

One important aspect to remember is that health issues may go unnoticed in a cement and metal kennel. You must take good care of the canine health of your litters and take them to a veterinary health professional frequently. 

Indoor/outdoor kennel

Two saint Bernard dogs in breeding kennel

Indoor/Outdoor kennels are a fantastic option for responsible dog breeders who would like to work near their homes. Indoor/outdoor kennels are often attached to your main house by a wall, and a wire fence is built around it.

It usually has full roofing, which keeps a normal temperature inside the kennel. These are more convenient because you don’t have to leave your house and travel to see the dogs, which means that the puppies get more frequent socialization. 

However, since this kennel design is limited by the size of the wall, the individual kennels may end up becoming a little small. This could end up negatively impacting your puppy’s health in the future. 

If you do decide to go with this design, draw a detailed blueprint with drainage, kennel measurements, and materials, and ask another professional breeder for any possible health hazards or risks. 

Multi-Level Kennels

Multi Level Dog Kennels

Multi-level outdoor kennels are my personal favorite because of how many different design ideas you can implement. The example given takes inspiration from a Japanese pagoda, with a curved roof and red fencing with intricate designs. 

I’ve also seen a Subway-inspired kennel where the raised platform was fashioned like a metro station, and the puppies could play with the toy train on the lower level.

Multi-level kennels allow for a clear and distinct division of space. Newborn puppies are early introduced to the concept of separate sleeping and playing space.

Naturally, dogs like to segregate their space; by having a raised platform, you can ensure that you will raise a litter of very clean puppies!

Also, having a raised platform makes it very easy to clean up puppy waste because the platform acts as a sort of barrier to prevent newborn puppies from getting in the way while you are cleaning. 

However, make sure to invest in puppy stairs or a ramp to prevent health issues from the constant jumping, especially if you have a dog breed with shorter legs. 

Dog House

Happy kids painting the doghouse

This is the classic kennel option that I’m sure we are all familiar with, so we had to add it to the list! In actuality, dog houses are not the best option for breeders.

Although they are cheap to make & a fun project for the whole family, they are very difficult to clean & not suitable for younger puppies. 

A doghouse can keep puppies warm if it is insulated, but the insulation needs to be frequently checked to ensure that it’s functional.

Also, a doghouse is only suitable for one adult dog; a litter of puppies can get possessive over the space & may push the runt out.

The dog house also does not allow adequate space to socialize or play because it is so tiny.

So, we would recommend this design for families with only one adult dog living in a temperate climate, but not for responsible breeders with a full litter of puppies. 

Indoor Kennel

Indoor kennels are a fantastic option for a family-run breeding business. They are easy to maintain and relatively cheap. If you are a beginner breeder, consider this design.

Pros of an Indoor Kennel

  • Easy to supervise
  • Suitable for smaller breeds
  • More interaction with the puppies allows for more socialization
  • Weather-proof

Cons of an Indoor Kennel

  • It needs a lot of space in the house
  • Can be noisy
  • Difficult to clean
  • Requires more frequent cleaning
  • It needs floor protection against scratches from puppies.

Playpen Kennel

Two small puppies in a kennel

This is the most common kennel design for indoor breeders. It is also very suitable for newborn puppies. Essentially, this design features an upright wire fence in a small area of the house. 

This is a great option to raise a hand-reared puppy because they will constantly be near humans, and you will be able to supervise them always.

This is also a great option for whelping because you can make the area as comfortable as possible for the bitch. 

However, this design takes up a lot of space in the house. Furthermore, the puppies may also create a lot of noise, which can irritate members of the house.

Puppy Kennel 

Saint Bernard puppies playing at breeding kennel

This is a great design for a litter of puppies after whelping. This is a smaller cage with puppy accessibility & safety considerations.

For example, a puppy kennel would have a ramp, would be soft all around, would have adequate space for the mother to nurse her pups, and would have pee pads all over for easy clean-up.

This makes puppy proofing a lot easier because you are limiting the space that the puppies have available to them.

Make sure that you have given them adequate toys to excite their minds and keep boredom at bay.

Kennel Ideas

If you have a kennel idea in mind, there are still a variety of different features that you can add to your kennel to improve the quality of life of your litter.

Indoor/Outdoor Toys

Add a variety of indoor/outdoor toys to reduce boredom and challenge your puppy’s mind. Just ensure that the toys you choose are safe for rough use and are suitable for your respective breed. 

The possibilities are endless! You can add a baby slide; larger breeds love climbing up them and sliding down! You can also add balls, stuffed toys, or even something like an old tire. Dogs will find entertainment in anything!

Natural Behavior Expressors

Purebred puppy Golden Retriever in a cage for potty training

Dogs, especially young puppies, tend to gravitate towards behaviors that they would do in the wild. These behaviors can easily become destructive if they are expressed in the wrong setting.

Thus, installing natural behavior expressors gives your dogs a safe outlet to perform these behaviors. Some examples include a sandbox for digging, a kiddie pool for swimming, and stuffed toys sprayed with dog training scents for sniffing. 

If they have these outlets, they are less likely to rip up your favorite pillow or scratch up your hardwood floors! 

Whelping Area

This is a great feature if you have a bitch who is preparing to give birth. Prepare an area, perhaps a whelping box, that is separate from other dogs.

This will help reduce the stress the mother faces, especially if this is her first litter. This area should be warm, inviting, and comforting. 

The conditions of the whelping box should be perfect at the time of birth. Maintain a normal temperature throughout the birthing process by using air conditioning if the weather is extreme. In fact, invest in a quality dog house heater if you are planning on breeding for a long time. 

The puppies need extremely sanitary conditions for the first few days of life; ensure that you have gloves, wipes, scissors, and a thermostat (to record body temperature) ready near the whelping box.

Examination Area

This is useful if you have larger outdoor kennels. In order to monitor the animal welfare, you can install a quiet examination area that is close to the main kennel but separated from the other puppies.

This examination area should have sanitation materials, and basic health supplies such as an examination table, a thermostat, and a flashlight. 

Noise Canceling Material

If you have some dogs that don’t get along well or are reactive with other dogs, then consider investing in noise-canceling material.

This can stop dogs from becoming instigated by other dogs, which is crucial if you have an aggressive puppy.

Breeding Tips

teenage girl holding three labradoodle puppies

So, you have your kennel all set up now! You’ve got the perfect design & have great ideas to implement. Before you begin your breeding adventure, look through these tips to make your breeding process as smooth as possible.

Kennel Care

Hygiene is the most important factor in raising healthy puppies. The frequency of cleaning depends on how dirty your puppies become, if you have an indoor or outdoor kennel, and how much your dogs shed.

  1. Remove the puppies from the kennel and provide them with a toy or something to entertain them.
  2. Remove water & food bowls and soak them in a pet-safe soap solution. Scrub them with steel wool to remove any dried food particles. 
  3. Wash their bedding and toys with a pet-safe detergent.
  4. Sweep up any fur and puppy waste from the floor.
  5. Spray a cleaning solution on the floor & walls and use a stiff brush to scrub all exposed surfaces. 
  6. Rinse thoroughly with water.

The First Litter

If your bitch is birthing her first litter, the most important thing a responsible dog breeder can do is to make the process as smooth as possible.

This means taking her regularly for vet visits, making sure she has everything she needs in her whelping box, and keeping other dogs away from her. 

As she is pregnant, ensure that she is eating nutritious food & getting enough exercise. Immediately after birth, count how much placenta she has passed.

The number of placentas she passed should be equal to the number of puppies, as a retained placenta can lead to serious health consequences.

The bitch should tear the membrane sac of the puppies, but if she doesn’t, you must do it yourself gently. 

Ensure that all the puppies start suckling immediately. This is because the mother produces an anti-body rich type of milk called colostrum right after giving birth. It is crucial that all puppies drink this for their long-term health.

Selling Puppies

Australian Labradoodle Puppies

As a kennel breeder, you must ensure that your puppies are going to the right family.

Consider factors such as activity level, type of housing, if there are kids/other pets, and personality.

Every puppy is born with an innate personality that can’t be changed. Backyard breeders will often just sell the dogs to the highest bidder; experienced breeders will consider their personality to get the most sustainable match. 

Your potential customers must go through an intense screening process to ensure that they can adequately care for the puppy. 

If you have a retired bitch, consider spaying her and adopting her to a more relaxed family. In this way, she can live out the rest of her years totally relaxed & carefree.

It is very important that you do not impregnate your female too much; limit her to only 4-6 litters, and then retire her. Not only does this preserve genetic diversity, but it also keeps her healthy.


As you can see, responsible dog breeding is not as easy as it looks. Although it is exceptionally rewarding and fun, you have to keep your dogs’ health as the first priority.

This means that you must choose the perfect kennel design for your needs and lifestyle, implement kennel ideas to enrich their lives and follow proper breeding techniques so that your puppies grow up healthy.

If you follow these tips, you will make countless other families happy with their new lifelong companions!

If you have any additional tips, please leave them in the comments below. Thank you for reading!

Meet our writer

Anoushka’s love for animals began with taking care of the cows & chickens on her family farm. As she grew older, this love transformed into a love for dogs. She volunteers in a dog shelter, so she is well-versed in the care and comfort of all breeds of dogs.

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