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What size dog house do you need?

Updated on October 26, 2010

So, you're planning to get a house for your best friend, and you're wondering what size dog house you need. You're already off to a great start, because figuring out the size of your dog house is one of the most important parts of the process.

That's because choosing the right size is critical to creating a dog house which stays nice and warm. Most of the time, as long as your dog house is well insulated, it will stay warm and cozy just from your dog's own body heat - as long as it's the right size for him. If it's too big, his body heat won't be able to heat it.

So, it's definitely worth taking the time to get it right! I'm going to show you how to do that here. You can also visit my website for more information on what size dog house you need, as well as a free e-course on creating the best home you can for your best friend.

How to figure out what size dog house you need

The right size for your dog is probably smaller than you think. He only needs to be able to get in and out, and turn round.

Here's how to figure out the measurements of the dog house itself:

  1. Measure your dog's standing height. the dog house should only be about 25% more than this measurement.
  2. Measure your dog's length, from his nose to the base of his tail. No need to include the tail itself in this measurement, as he wraps it around him when he lies down. Got the measurement? OK, the dog house should be no more than 25% longer than this figure.

Now calculate the door size:

  1. The width of the door should be only just wider than your dog.
  2. The height of the door should be no taller than your dog, and in fact it can be a little shorter, as he'll happily duck to get in. As long as it's at least 75% of his shoulder to floor measurement, he'll be fine.

Now check the size

It's a good idea to test the size before you start building, as it's a lot easier to make adjustments to paper than to wood! This is especially true if your dog is elderly, as he may have more trouble getting in and out than a younger dog.

It's easy to test the size you've just worked out - just take a large cardboard box, and cut it to size, sticking it back together with parcel tape. Cut the door hole, too. Then have your dog go in and out, to make sure it's easy for him.

Get great dog house plans

Getting really good plans can make it a whole lot easier and more fun to build your dog house.

I like Bill Keane's Easy Build Dog House Plans. Here's why:

  • They come in a range of sizes, so you can be sure to build a house the right size for your dog
  • They have tons of really clear diagrams and instructions, so they make the project a breeze - even if you're new to DIY
  • You don't need any fancy tools - just the kind most homes have already
  • The plans include the all-important insulation and raised floors, so the house stays warm and dry
  • There's an overhanging roof, to protect your dog from wind and rain
  • The door can be built in standard sizes, in case you want to add a shop-bought dog door

There are even plans for a duplex dog house!

You even get some fun extras, like ideas for decorating your dog house, and some useful ones, like tips on keeping the house warm in winter and cool in summer.

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