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How to Build a Doghouse

If your best friend likes being outdoors, they need their own spot to keep warm and dry.


  • Step 1: Measure your dog Measure your pet's height, width, and length with the tape measure. Add approximately 12 inches to the height, 18 inches to the length, and 9 inches to the width to determine the dimensions of your doghouse. This one will fit a medium-sized dog.
  • TIP: Because a dog's body heat warms a doghouse, it should be just large enough for your pet to stand in and turn around easily.
  • Step 2: Cut the platform wood Lay the 10-foot 2-by-4 on a workbench. With the circular saw, cut it into eight pieces: two pieces that are 22 7/8 inches long, two pieces, 20 ¾ inches long, and four 6-inch pieces.
  • TIP: To keep your eyes safe from flying debris, make sure to wear safety glasses.
  • Step 3: Nail the legs Using the circular saw, round one end of each of the 6-inch pieces (these will become the legs of the doghouse). Take two of the legs and one of the 22 7/8-inch pieces. Line up the flat edges of the legs with the edge of the platform side, and, using the longer 16d nails, nail the feet to the piece. Repeat this step for the other side. These pieces will be the two sides of the platform.
  • Step 4: Make a rectangular frame The 20 ¾-inch pieces will become the front and back of the frame. Hold the side pieces so that the legs are on the inside and nail the front piece to the sides. Repeat this step for the back side of the frame.
  • Step 5: Cut the plywood Lay the plywood on the workbench or on two sawhorses and cut it into the following pieces: two bottom pieces (20 ¾ inches by 25 7/8 inches), two roof pieces (31 7/8 inches by 21 7/8 inches), two side pieces (16 inches by 25 7/8 inches), one back piece (22 inches wide and 27 inches high), and one front piece (22 inches wide and 27 inches high).
  • Step 6: Creating slopes Cut the front and back pieces so they have a triangle shape at one end: 16 inches high on each side and 27 inches high in the middle. One end of each board will be flat while the other end will come to a point, like an arrow.
  • Step 7: Cut a door About 3 inches above the bottom edge of the front piece, start cutting a door hole. The doorway should be wide enough to accommodate your dog, flat at the bottom, and rounded at the top.
  • Step 8: Lay the floor Lay one floor piece on your frame and line up the edges. If the floor piece hangs over the edge, trim off any excess wood. Nail the first floor piece to the frame using the 16d nails, and repeat the process for the second piece, giving your dog a two-layer floor.
  • Step 9: Create frame elements Cut the 8-foot 2-by-4 in half, creating a pair of 2-by-2 boards. Cut each of these boards into four 12½-inch pieces and one 22-inch piece. You should now have nine frame elements, which will reinforce the doghouse.
  • Step 10: Attach the sides Using the 8d nails, nail two 12½-inch frame elements to one side panel. The elements should be placed vertically at each end and 3½ inches from the bottom edge. Repeat the process for the second side panel. Nail one side panel to each side of the frame.
  • Step 11: Attach the back and front Place two 12½-inch frame elements on the back piece so that they meet at the point and nail them with the 8d nails into place. Attach the back piece to the back of the frame. Repeat this process for the front piece. Place the cedar shavings on the floor to create bedding for your best friend.
  • TIP: Check for any exposed nails and file down any pointy tips with the hand file.
  • Step 12: Attach the roof On one of the roof pieces, attach the 22-inch frame element with the 8d nails, centering the piece so there is the same amount of free space at either end. Put the roof piece into position on top of the house and nail it to the frames at the front and back of the doghouse. Then nail the second roof panel to the first frame element of the first roof panel.
  • Step 13: Prime and paint Paint the exterior with primer and let dry. Then, add a coat of exterior latex paint to protect the wood and allow to dry.
  • Step 14: Lay down the shingles Using the roofing nails, nail down one row of upside-down roof shingles at the bottom edge of each roof panel. Lay down additional rows on top of the first row, using short roofing nails.
  • FACT: Two great Danes in Gloucestershire, England live in a doghouse that has a spa and a plasma television set.

You Will Need

  • A tape measure
  • A circular saw
  • A work bench
  • A 10-ft. spruce 2-by-4
  • Safety glasses
  • A hammer
  • A bag of 16d nails (3 1/4-in.)
  • A bag of 8d nails (2 1/2-in.)
  • A 4-by-8-ft. sheet of untreated spruce plywood siding (5/8-in. thick)
  • An 8-ft. spruce 2-by-4
  • A bag of cedar shavings
  • A hand file
  • 1 gal. of exterior wood primer
  • 1 gal. of exterior enamel paint
  • A box of roofing shingles
  • A bag of roofing nails
  • Two sawhorses (optional) (optional) (optional)

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