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Building a Doghouse Step by Step

Take time to build the perfect pad for your pet.

| May/June 2007

  • DogHouse1

    composite illustration by Nate Skow; dog photo by Alexander Abolinsh
  • DogHouse5

    composite illustration by Nate Skow
  • DogHouse4

    composite illustration by Nate Skow
  • DogHouse3

    composite illustration by Nate Skow

  • DogHouse1
  • DogHouse5
  • DogHouse4
  • DogHouse3

After our faithful golden retriever, Chance, died at the grand old age of 15, I knew I’d need to do two things. First, head back to his breeder: Anybody who could produce a sweet-tempered dog that lived that long deserved repeat business. Second, build a doghouse to replace the one I’d made for Chance when he was a puppy. The old house had held up well, but it was beginning to show its age. Besides, every new dog deserves new digs.

My design for our new pal, Chase, incorporates a porch and extended “saltbox” roof attached to the basic doghouse design.

The basic house is simple to build, and if you want to add extras, as I did, you’ll see that the underlying structure is easy to adapt.

Design Basics

Size the house to fit the dog: It’s tempting to make a really roomy doghouse, but your dog won’t appreciate it. During cold months, your dog’s body heat keeps him or her warm. If the house is too big, the dog can’t generate enough heat to warm it. How big should a doghouse be? There’s no exact formula, but a good rule of thumb is to build it so your full-grown dog can walk in, turn around inside and stretch out completely.

Vent it well: In hot weather, good airflow will keep your dog from overheating. And in damp weather or cold weather, when the dog’s moist breath is steaming up the house, proper ventilation prevents mold from forming. Vents in the peaks of the roof will do the job as long as you leave the doorway open or just loosely cover it with a flap so there’s an adequate updraft.

Build it off the ground: This keeps the dog out of contact with damp soil. It also prevents the wood from rotting and extends the life of the doghouse.

8/23/2019 7:09:07 PM

We're not much into 'woodworking' but we do a naturopathic cat rescue and the healthy cats are expected to be TNR in our neighborhood, with the more delicate ones indoors in playpens, but that means we need shelters outdoors for a dozen cats at least.. plus a feeding area. So far we abandoned strawbales, and only use the tarp-over-remesh-low-tunnels for feeding areas... We're testing a better SHELTER concept this season that is built on concrete-half-blocks, a plastic basement-window-cover hinged to a solid 2x8 board resting on the blocks so the structure looks like the sloped glass tire-houses and we're humanly watching the cats get curious, and cozy up to the model structure... Hoping they will adopt that model before the weather gets cold so we have time to build the rest, so that each model is backed up against the house [to benefit from whatever escaping heat the house does provide]... Estimated cost about $40 at home depot, and simple hauling, stacking, minimal sawing once-or-twice, and a tiny bit of drill work to attach the hinges. Each model would provide sheltered space [complete with nest of mown grass] of about 24" x 24" with an 8"x24" space that's 17" high.... Light and airy-looking, with double exit for cat-ideas of security AND be easily cleaned out after winter season is past, unlike the usual barn-type..... ttyl
5/15/2018 9:20:05 PM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own doghouse and other DIY projects – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)

4/25/2016 8:53:35 AM

Sounds like a great plan, but where is the plan diagram?

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