How to Build a Cheap Dog House

Don't banish your canine friend to the outdoors during the winter and summer.

Outside dogs that live on a farm or in a backyard year-round will appreciate having their own house to crawl into on hot or cold days. Even a cheaply built dog house will preserve the dog's body heat and prevent it from injury or death due to extreme temperatures.

Plywood is a sensible choice for building a cheap and sturdy dog house that will preserve your dog's body temperature. For maximum body heat retention, custom-build your dog house to match your dog's size. To make the steps of this article more concise, we will assume you are building a house for a dog measuring 2 feet long from its nose to where its tail begins, and 15 inches tall from the ground to the top of its back.

Step 1

Determine the size of the dog house before cutting the plywood or two-by-fours. Calculate the dog house length by adding 18 inches to your dog's length; in this case the dog house will be 42 inches long. Derive the dog house width by adding 12 inches to your dog's length; 36 inches for this instructional. Calculate the dog house height by adding 9 inches to your dog's height; this example will be 24 inches tall.

Step 2

Cut the plywood sheets into five pieces to cover the two sides, front, back and top of the dog house. Cut the front and back pieces to measure 24 inches tall by 36 inches wide, and the two side pieces to measure 24 inches tall by 42 inches long. Cut a fifth plywood piece that measures 45 inches by 39 inches in order to cover the top of the dog house and provide a 1 1/2-inch overhang on all sides of the house.

Step 3

Measure and cut the two-by-fours you will need to construct the frame of the dog house. Begin by cutting four two-by-fours to 22 inches long for the height of the dog house. Cut four more pieces to 34 inches long, and four to 32 inches long.

Step 4

Assemble the two-by-fours into a box frame for the dog house. Begin by laying down two of the 22 inch two-by-fours parallel to one another with their 4-inch sides against the floor. Use the hammer and nails to attach the two 34-inch boards between the ends of the first two boards, creating a rectangular form with 90-degree angles. Repeat this with the four remaining pieces measuring 22 and and 34 inches long.

Step 5

Stand the two rectangular frames up facing each other, and have one or two assistants hold the frames in place as you attach the four remaining two-by-fours measuring 32 inches long to the corners of each rectangular frame. Hammer the final piece into place to create a box frame, the skeleton for the dog house.

Step 6

Attach the side, front and back plywood pieces to the two-by-four frame by placing the plywood sections where they fit on the frame. Each piece should fit into place on the frame perfectly width- and length-wise, but stick out 2 inches above the frame on the top of the structure.

Step 7

Trim 2 inches from the back of the doghouse to create a slightly sloping roof to drain off water. Cut a slope into each 36-inch side of the dog house from the taller front panel to the shorter back panel. Center the final plywood piece in place as the roof of the dog house, and attach it with wood glue to the top edges of the front, back and side walls of the dog house.

Step 8

Cut a hole in the front of the dog house with a jigsaw to create an opening large enough for your dog to easily get in and out of the house. Then paint, stain and apply shingles to the dog house as desired.


Use the formula described in the first step to determine the dog house dimensions for a larger or smaller dog.

Things You'll Need

  • 3/4-inch-thick plywood, 2 sheets

  • Tape measure

  • Carpenter’s square

  • Miter saw

  • 8-foot long two-by-fours, 4

  • Hammer

  • 4-inch nails

  • Wood glue

  • Jigsaw

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