The Ideal Doghouse

Click to enlarge

The doghouse illustrated in Figure #2 can be simply made from readily available materials. Basically, it is a 2″x 2″ frame with a 1/2″ or 3/4″ weatherproof plywood exterior. It has an entrance and hallway that are separated from a sleeping area. Walls, floors and ceiling of the sleeping area are insulated with R-12 or better insulation which, in turn, is covered on the inside with a panelling of 1/4″ hardboard or similar material.

For each inch of your dog’s height (measured from top of shoulder to ground), allow 36 square inches of floor space. For example, a dog 12 inches tall needs 432 square inches of floor space, or a floor area of 16″ x 27″ = 432 square inches.
(Click to enlarge Figure 2)

Add 1 or 2 inches to your dog’s measurement when in a sitting position (from top of head to ground), in order to determine the ceiling height. For example, a dog 12 inches tall will have a sitting height of about 14 inches and the doghouse ceiling should be 15 or 16 inches high.

For example, a Dalmatian (20″ tall, sitting height 23″) doghouse should measure:
• sleeping area – 20″ x 36″
• hall area – 12″ x 20″
• ceiling height – 25″
• doorways – 10″ square
• roof – 36″ x 72″
For other breeds’ doghouse dimensions, see Table 2

Table 2 – Doghouse dimensions for dogs of various sizes
Areas and ceiling heights are inside measurements 10″ – shoulder
12″ – sitting
12″ – shoulder
14″ – sitting
16″ – shoulder
18″ – sitting
20″ – shoulder
23″ – sitting
24″ – shoulder
27″ – sitting
28″ – shoulder
32″ – sitting
Sleeping Area 15″ x 24″ 16″ x 27″ 18″ x 31″ 20″ x 36″ 22″ x 39″ 25″ x 43″
Hall Area 11″ x 15″ 12″ x 16″ 12″ x 18″ 12″ x 20″ 14″ x 22″ 16″ x 25″
Combined Area
(Sleeping and Hall)
15″ x 35″ 16″ x 39″ 18″ x 43″ 20″ x 48″ 22″ x 53″ 25″ x 59″
Ceiling Height 14″ 16″ 20″ 25″ 30″ 36″
Doorways 7″ square 8″ square 9″ square 10″ square 11″ x 13″ 12″ x 16″
Roof 25″ x 48″ 26″ x 54″ 34″ x 62″ 36″ x 72″ 38″ x 78″ 41″ x 86″
Platform (if used) 25″ x 48″ 26″ x 54″ 34″ x 62″ 36″ x 72″ 38″ x 72″ 41″ x 86″


Table 1 – Breed shoulder heights

(may vary by individual dog)

Chow Chow, Collie  22″ to 24″
Siberian Huskie, Retriever  22″ to 25″
 Samoyed, German Shepherd  22″ to 26″
 Old English Sheepdog  22″
 Newfoundland  25″
 St. Bernard  25″ to 27″ 1/2
 Bouvier  26″ to 28″
 Great Dane  28″ to 30″
 Russian Wolfhound  28″ to 31″

In sub-zero temperatures non-winter tolerant dogs must be monitored consistently

The Animal Protection Act states the following:

An owner must provide adequate shelter at all times for their pet regardless of the season. Whether that is inside the comfort of your home, or inside the comfort of your pets very own home.

Older dogs and young pups do not tolerate cold weather as well. A young pup is small and still growing and doesn’t have the body mass to keep as warm as a half-grown or adult dog. If an insulated shelter is provided it is usually build to accommodate it’s adult size therefore heat retention is an issue. Pups should not be expected to live outside 24 hours per day.

For outdoor periods, an insulated, heated shelter and the owner closely monitoring for cold stress is needed. Older dogs may have arthritis or may be diminishing in body condition and therefore may need a heat source or be kept indoors.

If you are unsure if your dog is winter tolerant, please contact Animal Protection Services at 306 777-7700. An Officer would be happy to attend and assist you.

If you kennel your dog outdoors, the Regina Humane Society Strongly recommends that:

• Dogs should NOT be chained. Severe physical injury, even death, can easily result. Chained dogs also suffer psychologically and they are 80% more likely to bite. Fence your yard, don’t chain your dog!
• A dog that is kennelled outdoors should always spend time indoors with the opportunities for socializing and play;
• Ideally the roof of your doghouse should be removable to make cleaning the interior of the doghouse easier.

Some breeds of dogs can live outside during the winter, if they are provided with an insulated doghouse of the proper dimensions. The dimensions are directly related to the size of the dog and are critically important if the dog is to maintain warmth in the doghouse with its own body heat.

• Dogs should be acclimatized to outdoor living when they are young and the weather is warm.
• During severe weather, dogs may have to be brought inside.
• Aged, young or infirm dogs should not be housed outdoors.
• Dogs with short coats are prone to frostbite and can not endure cold temperatures.

Doghouse exteriors should be finished with a weatherproof material or lead-free paint. Changing the location of the doghouse will allow you to control the effects of the sun, shade and wind.

Bedding material should be put in the sleeping area; straw is recommended. It is not advisable to use blankets. Change the bedding every 1 to 2 weeks and keep the house interior clean.

A burlap or canvas outside flap should be used to provide more weather protection in the winter and be removed in the summer.

The house should be elevated on bricks or cinder blocks to keep the floor dry and it may then be necessary to provide a low base platform which will allow the dog access into the raised house and an area off the ground on which to lie when outside its house.

If your present doghouse as a peaked roof and is large enough, it may be possible to install an insulated ceiling, making it warmer in the winter and preventing ice jams on top. In addition, a small rainproof vent could help to dissipate any moisture inside, thereby reducing the possibility of mould.

In above zero temperatures, shelters include a structure that is dry and draft-free, has 4 walls with a floor and a roof. Since heat retention is not a concern in the summer months, a garage or shed is appropriate as long as the dog has available light and ventilation or is provided periods of time where it will receive natural light and sufficient fresh air.

Winter shelter is the same as summer shelter except that it must be properly insulated or have a heat source sufficient to maintain above zero temperatures inside the shelter. The minimum insulation requirement is R-12. The shelter should be of proper size for the dog to maintain and generate its own body heat within. A general rule of thumb is large enough for the dog to walk in, turn around and lay down. Dogs lay curled up when trying to maintain warmth, look at the dog in this position and build accordingly. Most owners tend to want to build shelters larger but in winter BIGGER IS NOT BETTER.