Pit Bull Informational Pages
by Diane Jessup 


Collars and Leashes

The dog at left was found frozen to death; his wire crate was his "dog house". Crates of any kind, in fact most commercial dog houses available today, do not make appropriate dog houses.

A dog which spends any amount of time outside needs a dog house appropriate to the local climate. Obviously dogs in colder climates need well insulated dog houses.

This section will help you select the very best dog kennels and dog houses for your pit bull.


Two 7' x 14' kennels covered by a $150 Cosco cover. These covers have screened windows which can open in warm weather. These sturdy covers provide protection from both sun and rain and snow. They are tall enough to go over any kennel.

Here is an "Igloo" type dog house stuffed with grass hay and with a burlap cover added. These dog houses cannot be used on the ground - the holes on the bottom suck up water.

A very basic kennel. 6' x 12' chain link. A wood top and cement bottom. The cement pad could be replaced with cement blocks from the hardware store. A water bucket hooked to the kennel side, a raised platform for the dog to lie on off the cement. A plastic dog house attached to a tire provides adequate protection in a warm climate - but is not my first choice for a dog house. A tarp provides protection from sun, wind and neighbors.

This small kennel of a type favored in Europe is easily built and while very small, does provide a dog with a far superior living space than a shipping crate.

A very nice kennel set up for any climate. Make sure the dogs cannot chew through the wood portion.

A kennel provides a secure, weather resistant enclosure for your pit bull. Kennels can be snug or large and airy, depending on your circumstances. What they must offer, however, is:

  • Solid floor or ground wire around edges to prevent escape
  • Solid top or tip in to prevent escape
  • Strong, smooth, safe wire of sufficient strength to prevent escape
  • An area which provides shade and an area which provides the dog a spot to "sun" in
  • Large enough to allow the dog to move away from its feces and urine
  • Provide an insulated dog house which allows the dog to conserve its body heat
  • Secured water bucket

When choosing a kennel don't skimp. Buying a cheap, junky kennel from a large home store outlet puts your dog at risk. Most kennel panels from stores like "Home Depot" are 11 guage - far too weak to hold any determined dog.

Many pit bull owners are using the "Magnum Kennel" manufactured by Behlen, and while it is a bit more expensive than the average chain link kennel, it certainly is rugged. I found something I like better, called Life Time Gate panels. Same 2" x 4" size, but much less expensive and I think better made.

For those who don't want to pour a cement slab, a nice alternative is using cement pavers, 12" x 12" or 24" x 24" ones are best. Do NOT use "stall mats". They are extremely hot in the sun and extremely slippery when icy. They make nice "sunning benches", but cannot be used as a primary flooring.

Wood, also, makes a poor flooring surface. It holds disease and parasites and can sliver into the dog's paws.

Some people use pea gravel, or sawdust. Pea gravel can be useful, however it is very hard to contain. Sawdust can be dusty in summer and if it gets wet, it can mold.


  • Absolutely cover the top with wire, hogpanels, wood, metal or some other weatherproof and strong material to prevent escape. Think the dog won't climb out? Better safe than sorry.
  • Absolutely have a "dig proof" barrier on the floor. If you use hog panels, chain link or stall mats, cover them with fir chips, pea gravel or some other material. Be aware that black plastic stall mats make wonderful "sunning pads" but get dangerously hot in direct sunlight. DO NOT EVER use stall mats or other black plastic or rubber as the bottom of a kennel which receives sunlight.
  • Never kennel two dogs together. Experienced pit bull owners will tell you that leaving two bulldogs (or a bulldog and another breed) locked together is putting the dogs at an unnecessary risk. No matter how well they get along. Trust me on this.
  • Secure the water bucket to prevent tipping... but use your head. Make sure that whatever you hook the bucket with does not present an object the dog's collar can be snagged on. (Make sure the kennel wire doesn't have areas which can snag as well.)
  • Yes, LEAVE A COLLAR WITH ID TAG on your dog AT ALL TIMES. Your dog is at MUCH MORE risk not wearing a collar than from wearing one. In 20 years of working animal control, I never saw a single dog die from WEARING a collar, but saw close to 25,000 die from NOT wearing a collar and ID.
  • You don't have to be a pagan to be aware of the seasons! When planning a kennel, be aware of where the sun will shine ALL YEAR ROUND. A kennel which may be in shade all winter may have full sun with no shade at mid summer. Check existing kennels at all hours of the day until you are familiar with the sun's pattern. Make sure the dog has access to shade at ALL TIMES.

This shows the interior of the best type of dog house. The dog has a deck to lie on, an entrance way which blocks wind, a sleeping area which is large enough for comfort, but not too large for the dog's body warmth to heat, a small window for light and a view. In cold climates the walls should be insulated with styrafoam or some other insulation.

This inside view of the above type dog house, looking toward the door leading to the entrance way. It is filled with chips and grass hay. Notice the walls are double - there is styrafoam between them. This dog house is also fitted out with a heating element and provides comfortable housing in ANY weather.

There is one thing I believe in very strongly. A dog deserves warm, dry, comfortable housing. There is absolutely nothing that disgusts me more than somebody - either through ignorance, lack of empathy, stupidity or cruelty - failing to provide basic care for their dogs.

Many pit bulls live outside. While they would be much happier inside when their owner is home, this is not always possible. For a dog which must live outside day and night through all seasons, proper housing can mean life or death. Far too many poorly kept "game bred" dogs die from their owner's stupidity. Sarona Motorhead is but one example, having frozen to death.

Easy steps to heat a dog house.



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