Igloo Vs Wood Dog Houses – Which Is Better?

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If you live in a cold area, then I’m sure you’ve considered an igloo dog house. This design is a  super unique alternative to basic dog house plans.

They look just like a traditional Igloo, but for your pooch, which makes them one of the perfect dog houses for winter!

At the same time, you may be wondering: is it safe to have an Igloo dog house? Are they as long-lasting & insulating as wood dog houses?

After all, wood is the traditional option for pet shelters & they’ve been around forever.

This article discusses igloo dog houses V/S wood dog houses, their pros & cons, and the best choice for you & your lifestyle.

Igloo Vs Wood Dog House Comparison


Igloo Dog house

Wooden Dog House

Petmate Indigo Dog House
Petmate Precision Extreme Outback Log Cabin Dog House



  • Allows for great ventilation
  • Weather-proof
  • Easy to build
  • Low-Maintenance
  • Cheaper doghouse option
  • Easily modified
  • Exceptionally durable
  • Usually pretty large

What is an Igloo Doghouse?

Petmate Igloo Dog House

An igloo dog house isn’t made of snow, as you might have initially thought! Igloo dog houses are actually made of plastic or styrofoam. Their primary purpose is insulation, so the materials & shape work towards the goal of keeping the internal temperature completely stable.

Igloo dog houses have a dome-like shape which prevents snow & rain built up.

They typically have a bent tunnel entrance. So, the dog must enter and turn to the right by a bit to enter the main living space. This is so that strong winds don’t enter & chill the interior of the shelter.

If an igloo is made of plastic, it is usually double-walled. This adds an extra layer of insulation because the air that is trapped within the 2 plastic layers acts to normalize the interior temperature.

Similarly, styrofoam is also a great insulator because the tiny air bubbles trapped in the foam act the same way.

Best Features

Here are some of the best features of an igloo dog house.

Ventilation: Igloo dog houses typically have a roof vent. This allows for some great ventilation, which is necessary for the summer. In the hot summer months, the warm air inside the igloo can get very stuffy and may cause your dog to overheat. 

Insulation: With an igloo, you don’t have to worry about how to insulate your dog house. Thanks to its unique, weather-proof, dome-shaped design, snow won’t rest on the dog house & make the insides cold. Also, since the main body is typically built with insulating styrofoam or double-walled plastic, the interiors will naturally be kept cold.

Easy installation: Dog igloos are super easy to build. Sometimes, they come pre-assembled. Or, all you need to do is snap the roof right onto the floor! It should take less than a minute. Thus, a dog igloo is great if you’re running low on time & can’t deal with building up your dog house yourself.

Low-Maintenance: For a plastic igloo dog house, you never need to worry about buying the right cleaners. Unlike wood, it is usually safe to use any sort of cleaner on plastic. This makes regular clean-up so much easier.

You also don’t have to change the design of an Igloo dog house throughout the year. For example, you don’t have to paint an Igloo white during the summer to reflect heat; it does a good enough job insulating by itself!

Pros & Cons of an Igloo Dog House


  • Built-in Insulation
  • No need to make seasonal changes
  • Super easy to install
  • Safe to use with most household cleaners
  • Easy to transport due to its light weight


  • Pricier than wood dog houses
  • Usually only come in smaller sizes
  • Not as durable as wood
  • Lightweight, so it can be blown away in a hurricane or strong winds. 
  • Some dogs won’t want to enter an igloo due to the small size & entrance
  • May crack in extreme cold and/or warp under direct sun

What is a Wood Doghouse?

Pets Imperial Norfolk XL Insulated Wooden Dog Kennel Cedar

A wood dog is the traditional outdoor pet housing solution.

Wood doghouses usually have an A-frame roof, which peaks in the center. This roof lets all the snow & rain build-up slide right off.

Nowadays, newer wood dog houses might have a slanted hinged roof. A slanted roof has one side that is lower than the other.

These roofs are also able to be pulled up, to allow for easy cleaning of the inside.

Wooden doghouses may also have rear vents or a window to allow for ventilation. 

The material of wood dog houses differs from area to area. The most common type of wood that is used is probably cedar wood, thanks to its natural anti-tick & anti-flea properties.

Cedarwood is also a great insulator and doesn’t retain moisture, making it a fantastic option in humid areas as it won’t rot. 

Pine is another type of lumber that is commonly used, mainly for how it looks. Untreated pine has a beautiful color that usually matches outdoor furniture; however, pine is not as rot-resistant as cedarwood.

Best Features

Since wooden doghouses have been around forever, there are certain factors that place them leagues above other options.

Price: Wood is definitely a cheaper doghouse option. Pre-cut wooden dog houses that you find online are typically much cheaper than their plastic counterparts. Or, you can build it yourself! It’s pretty simple to build your own wooden doghouse, but it’s almost impossible to build a plastic one.

To build your own wood pet shelter, all you need are wooden panels, a saw, a hammer, nails, and a blueprint.

Easy modification: If you decide to DIY your doghouse, then you can easily modify it to your liking. You can add double wooden walls, which will provide you with even more insulation than plastic.

If you install a double wall system, then you can add more insulation between those walls, like spray foam or fiberglass. Moreover, you can also decide what design you want and choose features that you will use in your daily life.

For example, you can choose to add window flaps made of carpet to stop any chilly winds from entering the shelter. Or, you can add a high-quality heater to warm up your pooch in the frosty nights.

Durability: Wooden dog houses are exceptionally durable; expect a good quality dog house to stay standing for more than a few years. Due to the higher structural integrity of wood, it lasts much longer and can take a lot more damage than plastic. 

Size: Wooden dog houses are usually pretty large. Therefore, if you’d like, you can add other things inside such as toys, blankets, a bed, and food bowls. This will make your beloved pup much more comfortable.

Pros & Cons of a Wooden Dog House


  • Typically the cheapest option
  • Usually bigger than Igloo dog houses
  • Can modify the insulation based on your location/time of year
  • More durable


  • Wood is not a good standalone insulator- must equip other materials to prevent temperature change
  • Prone to moisture damage (rotting)
  • Harder to install as you need hardware & carpentry skills
  • Can become infested with pests
  • Harder to clean

In Conclusion

Both an igloo doghouse & a wooden doghouse are fantastic options for pet owners.

However, I would recommend that you use an igloo doghouse if you have a smaller pup who loves cozier areas.

Since an igloo doghouse works best in snowy climates, this design is preferable for pooches like Spitzes or Akitas who are able to stay outdoors in sub-freezing temperatures.

On the other hand, I would recommend a wooden dog house if you live in generally temperate climates & don’t plan on leaving your dog outdoors when it gets below freezing. I think a wooden dog house is best for larger dogs who like to remain active in their dog house.

Also, wooden dog houses require more carpentry skills, so I would only recommend them if you’re handy & have experience handling lumber. 

If you enjoyed this article & found it interesting, please share it with fellow pet parents. Leave a comment down below about your favorite dog house material. Thanks 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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