How to Build a Basic Dog House

I’m a pet lover. Specifically, I’m a dog and cat lover. My cats stay inside, but my dogs are kept outside. Each one has their own homemade house. I checked out the dog houses that are available on the market, but since I enjoy working with wood, I decided to build my own. In fact, I’ve even built dog houses for friends and family members who admired my handiwork.

If you need a basic house for your dog, you can build one in less than a day. To start this project, you’ll first need to determine how big of a house your pet will need. The best way to do this is to measure Fido. Measure his or her height while they’re are sitting down and while they’re lying down. I measured each of my dogs while they were stretched out so I could build a house they’d be comfortable in. Also, measure the width of your dog’s shoulders. Add four inches to the measurements you have, and you now know the dimensions the dog house needs to be.

As for the material you’ll need to buy, two by fours work well in building the frame. I used Cedar wood siding on some of the dog houses I built. Others were covered with tongue and groove floor boards that I was given. The tight fit of the tongue and groove boards made the walls of the structures especially airtight. Some people choose plywood to cover the walls of a dog house with. Plywood doesn’t hold up well in my part of the country, so I don’t use it.

You’ll need plenty of two by fours to make the frame. You will need four-two by fours to make the length of the house, four-two by fours for the width of the house, and four more two by fours for the height. Then, of course, you’ll need a sufficient amount of siding for the walls. The roof and floor of the dog house can be covered with siding or with thick plywood. Plywood sheets are easy to work with. All you need to do is measure out the piece you need, then cut it out of the sheet.

And, to finish your building, you’ll need shingles, paint, or stain.

Even though it’s a little more expensive, I chose to use treated wood whenever possible. A frame that’s made out of treated wood will last longer, especially the bottom of the frame that’s in contact with the ground.

Once you have your materials, it’s time to begin construction. Measure and cut the two by fours to make the frame with. Then, lay them out on the ground so they form the basic layout of the dog house.

When I build small houses for breeds like petite Terriers, I use wood screws to assemble the frame. For bigger breeds like German Shepherds, I choose to use spikes instead.

After you have assembled the frame, measure and cut four- two by fours for the height. Screw or nail them on the inside corners.

This basic plan will use a slightly slanted, one piece roof. So, now you need to use an electric saw to cut the top of each two by four so the roof will sit at an angle. If you’re building this house to accommodate a large dog, you can add four more two by fours to the frame. These pieces will fit in between the existing corners.

Now that you have the basic frame completed, cut a piece of Plywood (or whatever you choose to use) and attach it to the bottom to make the floor. I usually use wood screws and an electric drill for this step. It makes it go quickly. You can attach the sides, front, back, and the roof of the dog house in the same manner.

Before I add the finishing touches to a dog house, I use a Saber saw to cut out the hole in the front. Measure and cut out a big enough opening so your dog can get in and out of his or her house without struggling.

For a large dog house, I frame the opening with four pieces of one by one inch wood. This helps to keep the edges of the wood from splintering.

And finally, add a shingle roof- you can use tar paper underneath the shingles if you choose- and your basic dog house is built.

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