How to Build a Classic Doghouse

Build this cozy, colorful doghouse for your best friend. Better yet, let the K-9 carpenter help out!




Best friends deserve the best. So give your pal the finest doghouse around - this one. What makes this house so doggone good? First, it's sized right for comfort (see 'Sizing Your Doghouse' below). Second, you can build it from readily available 2x2s, plywood and siding. Third, it's easy to build - you should be able to finish it in an afternoon - unless of course, you're all paws.

Following are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Insulate the floor (as we did) with rigid, extruded polyurethane; it resists moisture and has a high R-value.
  • Secure the back wall in place using easy-to-remove drywall screws. This allows easy access for changing bedding or airing out the house.
  • If you’re building a house more than 40-in. long, add an extra pair of roof rafters in the middle to support the roof boards.
  • Build your house from non-toxic materials, especially if a chewing pup is the occupant. We used standard plywood rather than pressure-treated.
  • Bend over any nails or screws that protrude into the doghouse.
  • Paint the exterior for protection and appearance. Add fascia, corner boards and door trim as desired.
  • Provide bedding—hay straw, cedar shavings or blankets—to help ward off cold, dampness and wind.
  • Face the door away from prevailing winds. A door flap (required by law in some states) also helps keep the place cozy. Locate the house in the shade to help your dog stay cool.

Sizing your doghouse:

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to doghouses. You want to provide shelter large enough so your pet can easily enter it and turn around, but small enough so your dog’s own body heat can warm the place. There’s no need to make room for a hot tub or overnight guests.

The following are rules of thumb to take into account when designing your doghouse:

  • Length: 1-1/2 times the length of your dog (not including tail).
  • Width: 3/4 to 2/3 the length of your dog (not including tail).
  • Height: About 1/4 taller than dog (from top of head to paws while standing).
  • Door Opening: 2- to 3-in. taller and wider than the dog’s measurements at the shoulder.

Tech Art

Doghouse 1995 Tech Art

Project step-by-step (3)

Step 1

Create the frames

Doghouse 1995 Nail

Nail together the 2x2s that make up the floor and roof support frames. The corners can be mitered (as we show) or square-cut.

Step 2

Secure plywood

Doghouse 1995 Secure

Secure the plywood walls to the 2x2s frames and to one another using drywall screws. Add optional 2×2 uprights at the corners for strength and weathertightness.

Step 3

Install the roof and details

Doghouse 1995 Install

Install the roof. Screw the ridge pole and short rafters to the gable ends first. Install the rabbeted lap siding, starting at the top and working down for a tight-fitting ridge.

classic doghouse