Dog House Plans

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How would you like to build your own dog house with plans that would make it a cinch? Dog house plans are hard to come by - especially good ones that will last the distance and ones that your dog will actually use! I've found some impressive ones at Coolhouseplans.com (click here).

Dog House Plans
- adapted from Building a Dog House by Kevin Ireland (original article at CornerHardware).  Dog health issues added after consultation with Dr Lilian from Ask The Online Vet.

The design basics when building a dog house

What size is your dog?  Size the house to fit your dog. Whilst it's tempting to make a really roomy dog house, your dog may not appreciate it because during cold months, your dog's body heat keeps him or her warm. An oversized house may mean that your dog can't generate enough heat to warm it. So forget building a Taj Mahal for your dog. How big should a doghouse be?  A good rule of thumb is to build it so your full-grown dog can walk in, turn around inside and stretch out completely.

Provide Ventilation. 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 allows excess moisture to escape and stops 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.

Make it safe from the elements. Be sure water, wind and rain can't enter. Generally, this means overhangs for doorways and vents, and tight seams everywhere.

Using Pressure-Treated Wood - Pressure-treated wood is great at standing up to moisture and rot because it's impregnated with arsenic and heavy metals. It's therefore best (as these are poisonous to pets and people) to avoid using it for the floor, walls or any other parts of a dog house that will come into contact with your pet. Use dog friendly materials like untreated softwood and plywood for the floor, frame and walls. It's okay to use it for the base frame of the dog house as it will be sitting on earth. This may not be so much of a problem if the dog house is sitting on tiles or on pavers. If you have a puppy that's still in the chewing stage, avoid having sections of Pressure-Treated Wood exposed as your pup will undoubtedly find chewing them a great treat.  And that goes for offcuts you may have lying around whilst you are building too. When working with Pressure Treated Wood, ALWAYS wear gloves and a dusk mask.  

Customize your dog house to suit. Once you have the basic design of the dog house, you can opt to add little 'extras' to it - a clean out door to allow easy access for you to clean up inside the dog house, adding insulation to the floor and roof etc.

This is what the finished dog house will look like if you follow the dog house plans below. You can build a basic version in an afternoon from plywood, dimension lumber and shingles. It's a simple, sound design that handles a dog of 70 pounds or so. All framing is cut to just four lengths, shown as dimensions A, B, C and D in the diagram on the below. To change the overall size of the house, just change the four framing dimensions.

Tips when building your dog house

  • Cut all the 2-by lumber before you start construction. Cut the first piece of a given size, and then use that piece to mark the dimensions of its mates. A carpenter's pencil or lumber crayon is handy for marking the cut pieces.
  • Don't cut the plywood till you've assembled the framing and measured it out from there - you want the walls to fit the actual frame. This compensates for the inevitable minor assembly errors, and your finished house will be all the better for it.

Building a dog house - the tools and materials you'll need



Tape measure Dimension lumber: see **
Speed square 2 4-by 8-foot sheets, 3/4-inch exterior plywood
Carpenter's pencil 8 7-inch angle clips
Circular saw 1 4-by-4 or 4-by-8 sheet, 2-inch, hard foam insulation
Chop saw Construction adhesive
Jigsaw Drip edge, 14 feet
Hacksaw Tar paper
Handsaw Exterior caulk
Framing hammer 1 bundle roofing shingles
Staple gun 4d galvanized nails
Socket wrench 12d galvanized nails
Adjustable wrench 3-inch outdoor screws
  1 1/2-inch outdoor screws
  Aluminum roofing nails
  Prefabricated shelves

Lumber dimensions for building your dog house**

Nominal size and length Quantity needed Lengths to cut (see Fig 1) Number to cut
2 by 6, 8 foot 2 A
2 by 2, 8 foot 1 C 4
2 by 4, 8 foot 4 C
2 by 4, 4 foot 1 B 1
1 by 2, 8 foot 4 C

Building a dog house - the plans and building instructions

Fig 1

1. Build the base. With a tape measure, carpenter's pencil and speed square, measure two 2-by-6s for lengths A and B, and cut those pieces to length with a chop saw or circular saw. Fasten the parts together with galvanized 12d nails or 3-inch outdoor screws (often sold as "deck" screws). Align the base frame with one corner of a plywood sheet, square up the frame if necessary, and then trace around it onto the plywood. Cut out the plywood floor with your circular saw and attach it to the base with galvanized 4d nails and a framing hammer. If you want to insulate the floor, do it now. Flip the base over and attach hard foam exterior-grade insulation with construction adhesive.

2. Build and attach the wall framing. First, make the corner posts; these are marked C on the illustration. You'll need one 8-foot 2-by-4 and one 8-foot 2-by-2. Mark and cut each of these into four C lengths. Then nail the 2-by-2s to the 2-by-4s with 4d nails, as shown. Next, build the top frame. You'll need two 8-foot-long 2-by-4s. Mark and cut them to make two A lengths and two B lengths. Nail them together with 12d galvanized nails. Finally, attach the top frame to the posts with 7-inch angle clips and 4d nails, as shown. Attach the completed wall-frame assembly to the base with 3-inch outdoor screws, two in each corner, driving them diagonally through pilot holes in the posts and into the base. This securely "tacks" the wall frame to the base; final fastening comes when you add the house walls.

3. Add the roof frame. To make the first rafter, mark and cut the last 8-foot 2-by-4 to length D. Then use your speed square to mark 30-degree angles at each end of the rafter. Cut the angles with your circular saw, and then use that rafter as a guide to mark and cut three more. Now cut the ridge beam—length B—from one 4-foot 2-by-4. Drill pilot holes, and then screw the rafters temporarily to the ends of the ridge beam with 3-inch outdoor screws. Test-fit the resulting roof frame on the wall frame, and mark where the rafters fit over the wall frame, as you'll need to cut notches there. (The speed square will help you with the exact angles.) Unscrew the frame and cut the notches with a jigsaw or handsaw. Reassemble the roof frame with the screws, and then nail it to the top frame with 12d nails, or screw it in place with 3-inch outdoor screws.

4. Add the walls. Lay out the wall panels on the plywood, taking actual dimensions from the frame itself. Cut and install the sides first, then measure, cut, and install the front and back (the gable ends). Note that the ends overlap the sides. All four pieces need to overhang the base by 1 1/2 inches. Fasten the siding to the wall framing and base with 4d galvanized nails or 1 1/2-inch outdoor screws. Lay out and cut a door opening in one of the ends before you install it, sizing it to your dog. (An opening that's a hair small will retain heat better than one that's too big. Don't worry, your dog will get in.) To draw the top for a round-top door, make a string compass. Cut the opening with a jigsaw fitted with a coarse woodcutting blade. After this end is installed, fill in the door bottom with a piece of 1-by-2, as shown in the drawing. This adds a bit of threshold and makes for a neat appearance. Use your power drill and a hole saw to make the optional 2-inch vent holes. Finish by cutting 1-by-2 trim to hide the corners where the plywood walls meet, and run it along the tops of the gables as well (see the detail drawings). Caulk the plywood corner seams before you nail the 1-by-2s in place; use 4d nails to attach the trim pieces.

5. Roof the house. Lay out and attach the plywood roof the same way you did the walls. Butt the pieces at the ridge, and make sure the roof overhangs the rafter ends by 2 inches on each side and 4 inches at each gable end. Add more insulation if you like: use construction adhesive to glue rigid insulation inside the roof panels before you install them. With a hacksaw, cut the aluminum drip edge that will protect the plywood edges. Attach it to the roof with aluminum roofing nails. With a utility knife, cut strips of builder's paper to fit across the roof, making them long enough to cover the drip edges. Install the paper with a staple gun, starting at the bottom of the roof and working up. When you add a new piece, overlap the lower one by 2 or 3 inches. Finally, cut and install the shingles, staggering the seams and attaching them with aluminum roofing nails. Stain or paint the doghouse, or leave it plain. Now you can call your dog!

Another dog house plan I've found is one from Woodstore - see below :

dog house plans

Designed in accordance to the standards of the American Kennel Club on requirements for dog housing, this pooch haven is functional and comfortable for your dog. Plenty of "creature comforts".

Flower pots home>garden structures plans

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Dog House Plans