Build a Dog House

You love your pup but don't love when he sheds? Build an outdoor house for your dog that will keep him dry and warm and your house fur-free. Follow the steps below to create a customized dog house that fits your family's personality .


Constructing the Base

  1. Consider what you'll be using the base for. Different dogs have different needs, but almost every dog will need the following: an insulated, dry space that he can call home whether it's hot or cold. Pay attention to these factors when building a dog house:
    • Think about insulation. Remember that the base builds the foundation for the whole house and creates a space of air between the ground and the floor that acts as insulation for the house. A house without a base is cooler during the cold months and warmer during the hot months.
    • Consider the specific elements that might affect the base in your outdoor environment. If it rains often in your area, make sure to use a non-toxic, water-resistant material and build the base high enough off of the ground to prevent flooding.
  2. Use a framing square and a pencil to begin reproducing the diagram you created on the wood itself. Cut 2x4 wood boards into four pieces, with two at 22-1/2" long and two at 23" long for a medium-sized dog.
  3. Place the 23” side pieces inside the 22-1/2” front and back pieces to create a rectangle with the 2" side resting on the ground. Use a countersink drill bit to pre-drill pilot holes. Then attach the base pieces together using two 3” galvanized wood screws in each end.
  4. Transfer the floor plans by using a pencil and a framing square to a single sheet of 3/4" plywood. The dimensions are 26" by 22-1/2" for the above sized frame.
  5. Using 1-1/4” galvanized wood screws, attach the floor panel to the base by drilling one screw into each corner of the of the base.

Putting Up Walls

  1. Again, use real wood for added insulation and versatility. Using wood for the dog house will help keep the house insulated, even if the wood is rather thin. For the front wall of the house, make the opening for your dog as small as possible (although still comfortable) in order to allow the house to retain heat.
  2. Transfer the plans for the sides of the house to the same piece of plywood used for the floor. Each side should be 26" long and 16" wide, while the front and back should be a 24" by 16" rectangle with an attached 12" high and 24" wide triangle on top of the rectangle. Cut out this shape in one piece for both the front and the back of the house.
  3. Leave an opening on the front wall of the house about 10" wide and 13" high. Leave a 3" tall space at the bottom of the opening to cover the base. To create the round arch at the top of the opening, use any round object you have handy, such as a mixing bowl.
  4. Cut out eight pieces of framing. Using a piece of 2x2 fir or cedar wood, cut out eight pieces to use as framing to secure the walls and roof. You will need four corner framing pieces 15” long and four roof framing pieces 13” long.
  5. Fasten one 15” corner framing piece to each edge of the side frames using three 1-1/4” galvanized wood screws. Then place the side panels on the base and screw galvanized wood screws every {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} around the perimeter.
  6. Attach the front and back panels. Place the front and back panels on the floor base and attach to the framing with galvanized wood screws every {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} around the perimeter.

Building a Roof

  1. Try building a triangular, sloping roof. This not only allows rain and snow to slide off of the dog house, but also gives your dog more room to stretch out in his humble abode.
  2. Draw the plans for the roof panels on the 2x2 piece of wood, with the dimensions at 32" long and 20" wide. These pieces will rest on top of the side panels to form a triangular sloping roof.
  3. Attach the 13” 2x2 roof framing piece to the inside edges of the front and back panels, halfway between the top and bottom of the angled side of each panel. Screw three 1-1/4” galvanized wood screws into each panel.
  4. Place the roof panels on top of the sides, making sure that the peak is tight and panels hang over each side. Secure the roof panels to the framing pieces using 1-1/4” galvanized wood screws at 3" intervals.

Customizing Your Dog House

  1. Personalize your dog house with paint. Using only non-toxic paints that won't harm your dog, you can paint the outside of the house to match your own, or pick a fun theme like an underwater scene. If you have small children, it can be fun to allow them to paint the dog house as an art project.
  2. Create a sturdier roof. To keep the dog house extra dry, you can cover the entire roof with asphalt-impregnated roofing paper, or tar paper. Once you've covered the house, you can then add shingles for a traditional, sophisticated look.
  3. Furnishing the inside. Keep your pup comfy by adding a blanket, dog bed, or piece of carpet inside. To add carpet, simply cut a piece of carpet to dimensions one inch smaller than the floor panel and secure it to the floor. Use wood glue if you want the carpet to be permanent, or duct tape if you want to be able to replace the carpet at a later time.
  4. Add fun accessories to make your pup's house a home.
    • Hang a name plate with your pooch's name over the front of the opening using a small nail and any type of material sturdy enough to withstand the elements. You can get personalized plates made of metal, make and paint a plate out of wood, or even hang spare dog tags. Make sure that the nail does not poke out to the inside of the house.
    • Attach small hooks to the outside of the dog house to serve as a place to keep your dog's leash or any other toys.


  • Make the roof slanted so that snow and rain will slide off it.
  • You can make your dog house a solar dog house by simply attaching a plexiglass roof. Then, add the regular roof on hinges so as to open it when the sun is out on cold days and close it at night or on hot days.
  • Make sure your wood is treated for the appropriate weather with non-toxic sealants.
  • Make sure to use non-treated woods and non-toxic paints.
  • If you'd like to decorate the interior of your dog's house, do that before you attach the roof.
  • Start with a 4' by 8' piece of 2x2 plywood from which to cut all of the pieces except for the 2x4 base.
  • You probably don't want to put permanent carpet inside because your dog house will often get dirty.
  • When building the house, try not to leave any nails around that could harm your dog.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 pieces of 2x4 wood cut into 22-1/2" by 23" pieces.
  • 1 large sheet of 3/4" plywood, at least 4' by 8'.
  • 4 pieces of 2x2 fir or cedar wood, cut into two 15" and two 13" pieces.
  • Electric drill or screwdriver
  • 1-1/4” galvanized wood screws
  • 8 3” galvanized wood screws
  • Hooks for leashes,etc. (optional)
  • Paint (optional)
  • Name plate and small nail (optional)
  • Bed for dog (optional)
  • Food and water bowls (optional)
  • Toys (optional)

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