Building a Doghouse Step by Step

Take time to build the perfect pad for your pet.

| May/June 2007

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.

4/25/2016 8:53:35 AM

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

4/28/2014 8:22:49 AM

From long experience it is good to have a way to lift the lid or open a back for cleaning. Otherwise you'll have a flea hotel and potential for fungus. I like the overhang for keeping it dry and cooler or warmer as the need may be. I've seen houses that had a false ceiling and space for a heat lamp under the roof which pointed into the house through a hole in the ceiling. That's a nice touch in winter. It would be nice if the plans with the dimensions were capable of being made larger for viewing. I would have liked that.

Dog House Designer
2/10/2009 11:24:30 AM

I designed a modern dog house for my Australian Shepherd Savannah and have a question about insulation values. I put the plans out there that I designed to purchase online and want to make sure it is properly insulated. Can someone direct me to actual dog house design standards?? Much appreciated. - Andrew Wright

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, gardening, real food and more!