By John RihaMore in Outdoors
A place to escape the elements is a must for dogs that spend any time outdoors. This project will take you through the steps to build a classic doghouse from a single sheet of plywood and some dimensional lumber. Remember that your doghouse should be proportionate to your dog. Bigger is not necessarily better, because dogs tend to feel more secure in small spaces. Also, a properly sized doghouse helps your pet use its natural body heat to warm the interior and stay comfortable during cold weather.
This project is for a small- to medium-sized dog, up to about 50 pounds. You’ll be able to cut all the main parts of the house from a single sheet of 3/4-inch-thick exterior-grade plywood. Wood is a natural insulator that helps keep your doghouse cooler in summer, and warmer in winter. Your dog’s safety is a priority, so use good quality plywood and wood that’s free of checks and splinters. Use pressure-treated wood only for the base where your pet can’t chew on it—pressure-treated wood contains chemicals that could harm your dog. Plan to stain or paint the doghouse using low-VOC finishes.
Cut the 2x4 into four pieces for the base:
two at 22-1/2“ long
two at 23” long
Cut the 2x2 fir or cedar into 8 pieces for the framing:
four corner framing 15” long
four roof framing 13” long
First, you’ll want to transfer the dimensions from the PLAN DIAGRAM to the plywood. Use a straightedge and framing square to reproduce the diagram on the sheet of plywood. Note that on the layout, no pieces are touching each other so that the width of the saw blade cut — the kerf — will not alter any dimensions.
Make the doorway about 10 inches wide and 13 inches high. Leave a 3-inch-tall lip at the bottom of the hole to cover the base and bottom panel. The door height opening should be about 3/4 of the dog’s height. Large doors aren’t necessary as dogs prefer to duck to enter a doghouse — it makes them feel that they’re entering a cozy and protected space. Plus, it’s a good idea to have the entry as small as possible to help retain heat in the winter and keep out weather. Use any convenient round shape to help you form the arched top of the entryway — a dinner plate, Frisbee, or pot cover works fine.