How To Build a Dog House

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Here is a do-it-yourself dog house that I have dubbed the “Sparky1”. It features an insulated floor, roof, and walls, a removable roof for ease of cleaning, a cedar deck with roof, an optional inner wall, and solid construction throughout.

The Sparky1 Dog House
Figure 1. The Sparky1 Dog House.

It was made from common construction materials – including recycled cedar boards from an old deck, T1-11 exterior grade plywood, and 2X pine framing lumber. The whole thing cost less than $150. (A similarly constructed commercial dog house could easily go for $500+.)

The doghouse was built as a gift for a needy local family. That’s their pooch “Nicky” in the picture. He seemed to be right at home as soon as he climbed into the house for the first time.

Front view of the dog house
Figure 2. Front view of the Sparky1. Note the ventilation holes on top.

Dimensions: The house was designed for a medium sized dog. It is 30″ wide, 33″ deep, and 37″ high. The doorway is 11″ wide and 15″ high. The front deck measures 18″ by 26″.  The whole thing weighs about 100 pounds.

Drawing and materials list

The house consists of six insulated panels. The side and roof panels are made from 2″x3″ framing lumber sandwiched between T1-11 exterior sheathing and sanded plywood interior panels (1/2″ for the walls, 1/4″ for the roof). For insulation, I used 1″ thick foam sheeting. This comes in 4′ x 8′ sheets and is pretty easy to cut to exact size. The floor, which measures 28-3/4″ x 32″, consists of a cedar frame with 1/2″ plywood on top and foam sheet insulation on the underside.

Inside the dog house
Figure 3. Inside the house.

Cedar was used for the floor frame, the deck, roof cap, and trim boards. It was salvaged from 5/4″ decking material that was cleaned and planed down to 4/4″. It almost looked too nice to use for a dog house, but at least it wasn’t being thrown out or left to rot…

Top view of the dog-house

Building the Dog House

Here are the steps for building the dog house:

Step 1: Floor and Side Walls
Step 2: Front and Back Walls
Step 3: Roof
Step 4. Deck

I found that it worked best to partially build the front and back walls (step 2), build the roof next (step 3) and then come back and finish up the front and back walls. The step 2 page provides details on the construction sequence.

The house can be constructed using standard woodworking tools. I used the following ones: table saw, radial saw, power hand saw, jig saw, router, drill, 1/4 sheet sander. I also used a planer to plane down some old deck boards but that’s not an essential tool for the project.

I estimate that the house can be built over a weekend or two – with the aid of the plans provided here. (It took me more like 4 weekends partly because I was designing as I went.)

See also our dog house buyer’s guides:
-> A comparison of the most popular dog house heaters of 2020

-> In-depth reviews of insulated dog houses