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Build a Dog House

Man's best friend wants a home to be proud of, so throw him a bone and build him a great dog house. You can give your dog a haven from the weather that also matches your house.

Build a Doghouse


Building an attractive and safe dog house doesn't have to be a complicated project. Just keep a few basic principles in mind:

  • The house should have a floor which sits far enough above ground to prevent water from entering on the rainiest days. Raising the floor will also isolate it from the cold ground in the winter.
  • Consider your dog's habits. For example, some dogs like to sit on top of their house. If you suspect that this may be the case with your dog, don't put any roll roofing or shingles on the top of the house since they can get hot in the summer sun. Just use an exterior plywood panel, treated with a nontoxic preservative like linseed oil. (The doghouse in this how-to uses a traditional peaked roof design, but could easily be modified to incorporate a slanted roof.)
  • The illustrated dog house was designed for an average sized dog. Feel free to scale the dimensions up or down as necessary to accommodate your dog. It should be large enough to allow your pet to turn around easily in it. Don't make it too large, since a smaller house is more easily heated by the dog's natural body heat-an important consideration in winter.

Make sure nails are accurately driven. You don't want the points of nails sticking into the living space of your pet. They could cause injury.

Cutting Out the Parts for Your Dog House

Cut the parts.

The illustration provides the dimensions for the panel elements of our dog house. The house is designed to make the most use of a single sheet of plywood siding. Notice that the drawing has two floor panels. This is done so that you can double the thickness of the floor for rigidity.

Step 1

Lay out the panels on the back of the siding as shown in the drawing. Then, carefully cut out the panels on the lines. Cut the entry hole only large enough to allow your dog easy access.

Step 2

Cut your 10-foot 2x4 into the following:

  • 2 pieces 22-7/8-inches long (platform sides)
  • 2 pieces 20 3/4-inches long (platform front and back)
  • 4 pieces 6-inches long (platform legs)

These will be used to build the platform on which the house will be built.

Assembling the Dog House Platform

Assemble the Platform

Consult the drawing at right when performing the following steps:


Step 1

Round the bottom of the 6-inch platform legs.

Step 2

With tops aligned, nail the legs flush against the inside edges of the 22-7/8-inch long side pieces of the platform.

Step 3

Assemble the frame by nailing the 20 3/4-inch front, back and side pieces in place as shown.

Note: The front and back pieces overlap the ends of the side pieces.

Step 4

Finally, align the first floor panel with the frame. It should align without overhanging edges. This will assure that the frame is square and that it's properly assembled. If the floor and frame don't match up, double-check to make sure you have correctly assembled the frame. If the frame is assembled properly but there's a slight overhang in a place or two (perhaps because the panels weren't cut perfectly straight), trim off the excess with a circular saw. When you're done, nail both floor panels in place.

Building the Dog House


Step 1

Build the doghouse.

Rip the 8-foot 2x4 into 2x2 stock to be used as frame elements.

Step 2

From these, cut 4 pieces 12 1/2-inches long.

Step 3

Nail these pieces flush against the short edges of the sides. One frame piece should be positioned starting at the top of each side corner, leaving a 3 1/2-inch space at the bottom to allow the side panel to overhang the platform.

Also attach frame pieces to the inside roof line of the front and back panels. The frame pieces should meet at the top and extend along the roof line to approximately 2 1/2-inch from the sides.

Step 4

Put one of the sides in place (the edges of the side should align with the front and back of the platform) and nail it to the platform at the bottom. Repeat this step for the other side.

Step 5

Now you may attach the back of the doghouse. Align it with the sides and nail it in place, first against the platform, then into the 2-inch by 2-inch frame members in the corners. Do the same for the front.


You now have a doghouse with no roof. While you still have the chance, check carefully inside the house to make sure there are no exposed nail points. Cut and file down the edges of any exposed nails that could injure the dog.

Putting on the Dog House Roof

Step 1

Nail a 22-inch long piece of 2-inch x 2-inch flush against the top inside edge of one of the roof panels (along the 32-inch axis). The piece should be centered, 5-inches in from the edges of the panel. When both roof panels are installed, this piece will run across and support the ridge cap.

Step 2

Place the first roof panel in position (the one with the frame piece along the top inside edge). Nail it to the frame attached to the top of the front and back of the doghouse. Be careful not to miss with the nails. You don't want to leave exposed nail points inside the doghouse. You may not be able to get inside once it is finished to take care of any problems.

Step 3

Nail the remaining roof panel in place.

Finishing the Doghouse

Shingles are an inexpensive and attractive way to prevent a doghouse from leaking. If you wish, you can shingle the dog's house to match your own. They're not difficult to install.

For a doghouse, using roofing felt is optional. Staple the paper to the roof in a single sheet running up one side and down the other. Be stingy with those staples though. You just need to hold the stuff in place until you can install the shingles.

Run the first row of shingles upside down (split tabs up) along the bottom of the roof edges. Use short roofing nails. Starting directly on top of this row, begin nailing the shingles in place in the pattern you desire. Cap the ridge with cut shingle tabs to prevent leaking. Take a look at your own roof. It will show you how it should look.

If you choose not to use shingles, form a cap from a piece of aluminum flashing to run along the joint where the two roof panels meet. Run two beads of roofing cement, or silicone caulk, along the bottom of the cap and nail it in place.

Round and sand any rough edges of the doghouse that could injure your dog. Some people prime and paint their doghouses to match their homes. Others treat the wood with linseed oil only, in case the dog tries to eat it. If you do paint your doghouse, use a good quality exterior latex house paint.