How to Build a Doghouse

How to Build a Doghouse

Building a sturdy and comfortable doghouse splits the difference between wanting what's best for your best friend and not necessarily wanting your best friend hogging your bed. Build the house a little bigger and you've got a storage shed or small barn. A little bigger than that and you've got a garage. That's to say, the techniques you learn here are the same ones you'd use to build any framed wooden box with a top that points at the sky. Note that standard shingle size is 12" by 36", but the package size depends on the weight of the shingle, so you may want to ask for help at your home supply store.


• Measuring tape

• Pencil

• Carpenter's frame

• Circular saw or handsaw

• Jigsaw

• Drill and bit larger than your jigsaw blade

• Sandpaper or orbital sander

• Staple gun and ⅜" staples

• Utility knife

• Safety goggles

• Paint brush


• One 8-foot pressure-treated 2 × 4 board

• One 8-foot 2 × 2 board

• One 4' × 8' sheet exterior-grade plywood

• 3" galvanized deck screws

• 1¼" galvanized deck screws

• Four 15-inch 1 × 1 framing strips

• Four 13-inch 2 × 2 framing strips

• 15-pound tar paper

• ½" galvanized roofing nails

• Asphalt shingles (to cover roof)

• Exterior-grade paint

1 Measure, mark, and cut an 8-foot, pressure-treated 2 × 4 into four pieces to make the rectangular base. You'll need to cut two lengths of 22½" and two lengths of 23". Measure, mark, and cut an 8-foot 2 × 2 into four lengths of 13" and four lengths of 15", to make the frame of the walls and roof.

2 Use a tape measure, carpenter's frame, and pencil to draw the following template onto the 4' × 8' sheet of exterior-grade plywood. Adjust the size of the opening to fit your dog—it should be about ¾ of your dog's height. (Keep in mind that the smaller the opening, the less quickly the house will lose heat.) Either freehand the arch at the top of the entryway or use something round to stencil it—a Frisbee works well for this shape.

How to Build a Doghouse

3 Cut out the pieces from your plywood template. Clamp the plywood securely to sawhorses (best) or to your workbench and use a circular saw or a handsaw (more arduous) to make all of the straight cuts.

How to Build a Doghouse

4 To cut out the entryway, first drill a hole big enough to fit the blade of your jigsaw in the piece to be removed (the hole can go anywhere). Start your jigsaw cut in this drilled hole and follow the lines of your entryway to cut it out. Support the flap you're cutting out so that it doesn't tear free and splinter once the weight of the detached piece is too heavy.

How to Build a Doghouse

5 Decide whether you want the roof of your doghouse to end at a mitered 45-degree angle or whether you'll overlap one roof face on top of the other. If mitering, set the blade of your circular saw to tilt 45 degrees before cutting the line that will be your roof apex on both faces. Because the roof faces are exactly the same size, you can cut both faces at the same 45-degree angle and then just flip one to join the cut sides. Sand the edges of these pieces to remove any splinters.

How to Build a Doghouse

6 Assemble the base framing. The pressure-treated lumber will sit against the ground, with the floor of the house sitting on top of it. Not only does this keep untreated wood from molding and rotting, and keep the treated wood away from Fido's teeth, but it also traps air underneath the house to act as insulation. The 22½" pieces are the front and back, and the 23" pieces are the sides. Laying the lumber on its edge, fit the 23" pieces inside the front and back pieces, and predrill two screw holes per joint so that you're drilling through the face of the 22½" pieces and into the ends of the 23" pieces (remember, the finished floor dimensions should be 22½" × 26"). Use 3" galvanized deck screws to hold the frame of the base together.

7 Screw on the floor. Lay the piece of plywood that is the floor of the doghouse on top of your frame. Use 1¼" galvanized deck screws spaced about every 8" to 12" to hold the plywood floor to the frame.

How to Build a Doghouse

8 Attach the framing strips to the side walls, top, and back. Lay a 15" framing strip along the 26" length of one of the side pieces. Leave 1" of plywood extending past the strip at the bottom. Use 1¼" deck screws spaced about every 8" to fix the framing strip to the side wall. Repeat for the other side wall. Lay a 15" framing strip across the bottom edge of what will be the back of the doghouse, again leaving 1" of plywood past the strip. Lay the final 15" framing strip along the bottom edge of the doghouse front, again leaving 1" extending past the strip.

How to Build a Doghouse

9 Attach the side walls to the base. Place a side wall against the base so that the framing strip sits on the top of the base and the 1" overhang of plywood along the lower edge of the side wall extends down to the pressure-treated lumber. Use 1¼" deck screws spaced about every 5", screwed down through the framing strip and into the base to hold the pieces together. Repeat for the other side wall. Then, use 1¼" deck screws to screw through the overhanging 1" of plywood along the lower edge of each wall, into the pressure-treated lumber, spaced about every 8".

How to Build a Doghouse

10 Attach framing strips along the insides of the roof angles of the front and back plywood pieces. Center one of the 13" 2 × 2 framing strips along the inside of a sloped roof edge so that the top of the strip is flush with the top of the plywood. Use three 1¼" wood screws, driven through the plywood into the framing strip, to hold the strip in place. Repeat for the remaining three 13" framing strips.

How to Build a Doghouse

11 Attach the back. Tip the house on what will be its front and lay the back piece against the rear edges of the side walls. Seat the framing piece attached to the back down against the base. Screw it in place as you did with the side walls. Repeat to attach the front.

How to Build a Doghouse

12 Attach the roof panels. Lay a panel flush against the framing strips you attached to the wall pieces in Step 10, making sure that if you chose to cut a 45-degree bevel to miter the top of the roof in Step 5, to place the angle appropriately at the apex. Also make sure the roof panel sits square to the walls and that the eaves hang over an equal amount on both sides. Use 1¼" wood screws spaced about every 8" to screw the roof panel to the framing pieces. Repeat with the other roof panel.

How to Build a Doghouse

13 Now shingle the roof. Run 15-pound tar paper up one side of the roof and down the other, staple it in place, and use a utility knife to trim it flush with the roof panels. To install the asphalt shingles, start with an upsidedown row of shingles (tab up) along both lower edges of the roof panels, using roofing nails to hold them in place. The shingles should overhang the plywood edge of the roof panel by about ¾". Then nail another layer of shingles, right-side up, directly over this first row. Install another row slightly higher, making sure it overlaps the first. Continue installing rows until you've completely covered both roof panels. Cap the roof ridge by cutting smaller rectangles of shingles, bending them over the roof peak and nailing them in place so they overlap each other slightly, covering the nails in the previous tab.

How to Build a Doghouse

14 To finish, paint the walls of your doghouse with an exterior-grade paint. Let dry.

How to Build a Doghouse