Building a Dog House

Building a dog house yourself can save you money while keeping your dogs (or cats and other critters you want to protect) out of the weather.

However, if you're short on time, it may be just as effective to buy one.

Whether you build a dog house, or buy one, there  are many opportunities for adding your own creative touch - you can make it as plain or fancy as you like!




Start With a Plan

Preparation includes measuring your dog and finding a suitable space to put the dog house.


Reading up or watching videos on how to build a dog house before you begin is likely to result in a more satisfactory product.

If you don't know where to start, see below for some of the good plans available.

We've tried to organize them so you can quickly compare which one(s) may work for you.

Some free sets of plans we recommend. See:




Basic Things to Consider

A well built dog house:

  • Is sized to fit your dog, but not too big*
  • Provides adequate ventilation for either warm or cold seasons
  • Has good insulation for colder seasons and climates
  • Has a wind partition for severely cold climates
  • Is easy to clean via a removable or hinged roof
  • Sets up off the ground
  • Is built of non-toxic materials in places a dog might be able to chew
  • Complies with local building codes

*Recommended Minimum Dog House Sizes

  • Highest point of roof = top of dog's ears + 3 inches [75mm]
  • Lowest point of roof = top of dog's shoulders + 3 inches [75mm]
  • Length = dog from nose to tail + 12 inches [300mm]
  • Width = dog stretched out on side from claws to top of head + 6 inches [150 mm]
  • Doorway = wide enough for the dog's widest point + 1 inch on either side [25 mm each side]



More Information On Building a Dog House

Here are some ideas regarding insulating a dog house.

In an unshaded yard, your dog may appreciate a covered porch attached to his or her dog house.

A dog house is set up off the ground to keep the bottom dry and keep crawly critters and dirt out.

You may wish to cover the floor of the dog house to make it more comfortable for your dog. An old quilt, foam pad covered with vinyl, rubber matting from a car salvage yard, old carpet, or straw are some possibilities.

A ramp can be added if your dog is older and cannot climb steps anymore.

Happy building!



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