How Do I Build a Dog House Step-by-Step?

A dog house helps to protect a dog from snow, rain and heat.
A dog house helps to protect a dog from snow, rain and heat. (Image: golden retriever image by goldenjago from

A dog house is a good way to shield your dog from rain, snow and sun. If you have an outdoor dog then a dog house is a must. It gives the dog a place to go for its personal space and the feeling of security. The best way to size your dog house is to make it big enough for the dog to be able to walk in, turn around and lay down comfortably. Building a dog house saves money as pre-constructed dog houses can be quite expensive.

Things You'll Need

  • 4d nails
  • 12d nails
  • Aluminum roofing nails
  • Hammer
  • Circular saw and/or hand saw
  • Brackets
  • Shingles
  • ½ inch thick plywood
  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Aluminum drip edge panels
  • Waterproofing stain
  • Paintbrush

Measure the appropriate dimensions for the dog’s size. It should be big enough for the dog to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably at their full grown size. Measure the length, height and width.

Measure four pieces of 2 by 4 lumber for the base of the front, back and sides of the dog house. Draw a straight line marking the measurement on the wood.

Cut the wood to size using a circular saw, then lay it out to form a square. The narrow side of the wood should be facing upwards.

Nail all four corners together, using 12d nails, to secure the frame. There should be four nails per board, one in each corner.

Measure and cut a piece of ½ inch plywood, using a circular saw, for the floor of the dog house. The floor should be flush with the base of the house.

Nail the floor to the base along the edges, using 12d nails. Make sure to place one nail in every corner and then one nail every 10 to 12 inches along the border.

Measure and cut a piece of ½ inch plywood for all four walls.

Saw nineteen pieces of 2 by 4 lumber for the front, rear and side wall stud frames. You will need one stud for all four borders, and three studs for support in the center of side walls and the rear wall.

Measure and cut an opening in the piece of lumber that will be the front of the dog house. Make sure it is large enough for your dog to pass in and out of easily.

Nail the studs onto the border and center of the sheets of plywood for the side walls, using 12d nails. For the rear wall, nail the center stud off center by 2 inches to help secure the roof. For the front wall, nail the studs along the border only.

Position the walls on to the base of the dog house. Once they are in place, nail them down to the floor, using 12d nails.

Attach a bracket to top of all four corners and nail them into place, using 4d nails, securing the top of the frame together.

Measure and cut six pieces of 2 by 4 lumber to create three rafters for each side of the roof. Measure and cut a notch to one edge on each rafter that will sit along the frame of the house.

Cut the ridge board from a 2 by 4 to hang over each end of the house by 2 to 4 inches, from front to back. If you would like a larger overhang then measure and cut accordingly.

Measure and cut two pieces of 2 by 4 for the struts. One strut will be for the front of the dog house and one for the back.

Nail the struts to the center of the front and back of the dog house, using 12d nails.

Nail the ridge board to the strut boards, using 4d nails.

Measure and cut two pieces of ½ inch plywood for the roof and two for the sides in the arch of the roof. The two side panels should be the shape of a triangle.

Nail the rafters to the frame of the house and to the ridge board, using 12d nails.

Nail the side roof panels to the house and the rafters on the edge of the frame, using 12d nails.

Nail the roof on to the rafters, using 4d nails.

Measure and cut an aluminum drip edge to cover the roof.

Secure the aluminum drip edge to the roof using aluminum roofing nails.

Measure and cut shingles and lay them over the aluminum drop edge. Start from the top of the roof and begin to nail the shingles down with roofing nails. Work your way down to the edge of the roof. Each shingle should overlap by 2 inches.

Stain the dog house with a waterproofing stain to prevent damage from moisture. Waterproofing stains come in a variety of colors and are available at your local hardware store.

Tips & Warnings

  • Place your doghouse in a shady spot as it can get dangerously hot inside the doghouse in summer.
  • Never use treated wood as the chemicals may be harmful to the dog.

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