How To Build A Dog House Out Of Wood

Just like us, our dogs need an escape every once in a while. Like it or not, after being adorable (and a tad bit annoying) throughout the day, our furry friends need some shuteye, and a dog house gives them their own space! It helps keep them warm and dry, which also keeps your house free from fur.

That said, not many dog owners know how to build a dog house out of wood. The process is simple, but there are a few intricate details you’ll have to pay attention to if you want your adorable friend to stay comfortable after having a round of zoomies.

It would help if you also remembered that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better in this case since dogs tend to feel more secure in enclosed spaces. Moreover, a properly sized dog house can also help your pet preserve their body heat.

So, how to build a dog house out of wood?

For starters, grab some dimensional lumber and a sheet of plywood.

The Stuff You’ll Need

  • Hearing and eye safety tools
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Circular saw
  • Paintbrush (optional – only if you want to paint the dog house)
  • Speed square
  • Straight edge
  • Primer
  • Roof nails
  • Latex paint (only if you want to paint the dog house)
  • Rolled roofing
  • Six 2x4s (every piece should be 8 feet long)
  • 7.5-inch plywood sheets (every piece should be 4×4 feet)

How Big Is Your Dog?

Several miss this integral step and are missing it causes all problems when you’re done building the dog house. Even if you know how to build a dog house out of wood and the technical aspects involved in building one, people seldom think of the most important element of the build: the dog! Quite frankly, you’ll find dogs in all shapes and sizes.

Initially, get a rough idea of your dog’s height and body shape. You can measure their height from the ground till their head (your dog must be standing when you do this). Your dog’s length is measured from the tip of their paws to the tip of their tail.

Try to do this when your dog is lying straight and prone. They shouldn’t be curled up. A big dog like a Saint Bernard or a Tibetan Mastiff can measure 35 to 45 inches, and small pups can measure around 15 to 25 inches.

What Do You Plan to Use the Base for?

Every dog can have different needs. However, every dog needs an insulated and dry space. Whenever you’re considering building a dog house, pay attention to the following factors:

  • Consider different external environments that can affect the base of the dog house. If it often rains in your vicinity, make sure you use a non-toxic and water-resistant material that can build the base high enough from the ground to prevent flooding.
  • You should also consider the insulation you’re going to use. The base of the wooden dog house will be the foundation for the whole structure, and it’s going to create a space between the ground and the house’s roof, which will create an insulation space. A house that doesn’t have a base is more likely to be cooler during the winters.

Start By Creating a Door

The door of your dog house is going to have a rectangular shape. It’s also essential to remember that the dog house is going to be taller than wide. Start by cutting off a strip of wooden plywood panels that is a foot in length. When you’re done cutting, the dimensions of the remaining piece of plywood should be 3×4.

Once done, place the wooden panels in a way so that the shorter side is facing you. Even though you’ve measured your dog’s height, dogs can also bow their head when they’re entering the house, so making a measurement error or an inch or two won’t be much of a problem. That said, make sure the door isn’t too low, or your dog may be reluctant to enter the house. If you make it too high, you’ll run out of a wooden board. A higher roof can also make the house cooler, which isn’t something you want either.

Keep the door’s height between 24 and 26 inches, and then draw two parallel lines that depict the width of the door. Twenty inches is an average width for the door, but this also depends on your dog. If this isn’t enough for your dog, don’t be afraid to take out the saw!

Creating a Structure

People who know how to build a dog house out of wood know that the overall structure of the dog house takes the most time. Then again, getting this part of the process right makes everything else a lot easier. Start by working on the roof, moving to the rear panel, and then working on the sides. On the front panel you just erected, make a mark for a triangular peak that’s going to form the roof of your dog house.

Do this by making a middle point at the top of the wooden panel. This is going to be the top of the dog house. Rest the straight edge on the wooden plywood with one end on the midpoint and the other end 20 inches beneath the board’s side. If you wish, you can also place this higher (not more than 8 inches) to achieve a flat roof for the board. However, don’t move it too far down because the dog may run into the door. Repeat the same process on the other side to make an inverted v-shape. Cut this with a circular saw.

To make the side panels, you’re going to need two more plywood sheets. Cut both of these sheets at the 20-inch mark to make sheets that are 20 x 48 in dimension. The 48-inch size is the length of the house. This can also vary based on the size of your dog. However, a standard length that works for most dogs is about 45 inches. Since you won’t be able to screw or nail anything into the plywood, you’ll have to create a nailing surface that will help you bring the whole dog house together.

The nailing surface that you create must wrap around the whole perimeter of the house. The floor is going to need a nailing surface, too. To create a nailing surface, cut the plywood at a length of 29-inches, then nail these on to the rear and front panels.

Putting It All Together

Once everything has been put together, and the dog house seems sturdy, fill in the narrow gaps in the house with caulk. Some people prefer painting their dog house, while some prefer a more natural look for their home. Since plywood has a porous surface, you must prime its surface before you paint it.

To do this, use the primer and ensure every corner of the wooden dog house has been primed. Let the house dry for at least two or three days; once it has dried, you can paint the house. Priming will make your job a lot easier. When painting, there are no specific colors that are right or wrong. It all depends on your preferences and where you want to put the dog house. The one thing you should bear in mind is that darker colors absorb sunlight a lot better.

If you paint the dog house completely black, it may get a lot hotter and your dog may not want to use it.


Knowing how to build a dog house out of wood is essential if you’re considering getting a dog. Several dog owners let their dog rest in a backyard that does not have access to indoor living space, which shouldn’t be the case! Even if you let your dog inside, a wooden dog house plays an important role in their overall wellbeing.

When your pup spends excessive time outdoors, it is more exposed to the weather. In challenging conditions, like a heatwave or a snowstorm, it is essential that you’re careful with your pets. More importantly, if you have a dog that has special needs, infuse this element into your overall build, too. For instance, if your dog is blind, it may not find the dog house initially after you’ve built it. You’ll have to place it near the dog house and place some of its favorite toys inside it.

Moreover, you’ll also have to install some cushions around the entrance because it’s likely your dog will bump into the wood while entering. After all your hard work, if your dog is not using the wooden dog house, there’s no need to fret! Dogs can take some time to get used to new surroundings, and eventually, they’ll start using the wooden dog house.

So, there you have it! An extensive guide on how to build a dog house out of wood. Use it to build one for your furry friend and make their day!

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