A guide to building a dog kennel, including how to plan the build and what costs you might expect.
While there are many different sized dogs, this article will focus on building a kennel for a medium-sized dog. To make a similar kennel for a larger or smaller dog, you will need to increase dimensions accordingly.
This depends upon the size of your dog since this will determine how much raw materials you need to be able to build it. A medium-sized dog – such as a collie, a Bassett Hound, or a Dalmatian – will require a base size of at least 122cm long by 91cm wide and a height of 91cm to fit it comfortably. You will need to construct a sloping roof so that water or snow cannot accumulate, and even consider a double skinned build for draught protection. To hire a handyman to build you a kennel of that size, you should expect to pay up to £200. If you intend to make build your own dog kennel, depending on the size and quality you should expect it to cost around £40 - £300.
To build a dog kennel, you will need to build a framework with a sloping roof and an open doorway that is raised off the ground. You will need to have reasonable woodworking skills and be able to make this structure, as the material will have to be marked out accurately, cut with precision, and fitted together using recognised techniques. The finished article will also have to be painted to protect it against the elements.
The best way to tackle this is to download a plan from the internet as it will not only give you a series of visual plans that you can follow but will also supply you with a detailed cutting list that you can take to your local wood supplier to stock. Most plans detail either a straight-sided construction with a sloping roof or an A-frame type structure which has no flat sides. Of these, the A-frame design is the easiest to construct and uses the least materials, but may not offer your dog the same amount of room as the flat-sided type. You will need to follow guidelines on the approximate size of your dog to select the right sized kennel.
You should construct your kennel following the plans, which normally involves constructing the base, erecting the walls, and then finally placing the roof on the purpose-cut ends. Construction is generally carried out using woodscrews into corner sections, and you must ensure that you use screws that remain in the wood sections and do not extend beyond the corner elements, exposing the dog to potentially dangerous sharp edges. If you are adding a second skin inside, you will need to fit this first – and fill it with any insulating material such as fabric, polystyrene, or similar – before fitting the roof.
Start constriction with the base, ensuring that the actual base of the kennel is kept off the ground to provide insulation and protect your dog from extremes of temperature. You should use sturdy (possibly 2” x4”) sections all around your base to lift it off the ground and ensure support.
The sides and roof of your kennel can be constructed from either separate wooden slats fitted together with a downward overlap to prevent rain ingress, or from solid sections of hardboard or similar hard and inflexible wooden board. Do not use MDF as this can readily absorb water from rainfall and start to expand and break, even if it has been thoroughly painted.
Once the structure has been completed, it will need to be painted to protect it from the elements. Because it is likely to be placed outside for its whole life, the painting should consist of several coats, and a good quality lacquer to finish it off to ensure that it can repel the rain and snow. After each coat, you need to sand it down to ensure that the next coat fully adheres to the previous one. Finally, rub-down the last coat of paint before applying the lacquer so that the clear finish is also fully adhered when dry.
Generally, a small kennel is about 76cm in length and is designed for dogs that weigh 12kg to 18kg. Medium kennels are approximately 91cm and are meant for dogs that weigh 19kg to 32kg. Large kennels measure about 107cm and are for dogs that weigh 33kg to 41kg. Extra-large kennels measure 122cm and are designed for dogs that weigh 42kg to 50kg. A giant kennel may be about 137cm; it's for use for dogs that weigh over 50kg. These are regarded as minimum sizes, and you need to review the size of your specific dog – which may be a small or large example of the breed when planning your kennel.
Here is a list of commonly asked questions regarding building a dog kennel.
You should build a kennel that is the correct size for a fully-grown dog of your breed’s size as your dog will grow into it. You can take up all the extra room in the kennel as your dog grows with extra bedding to keep it warm and comfortable.
Height and length are the two most vital dimensions to consider when building a kennel. Measure your dog from the feet to the very top of the head. Add 5cm to 15cm to this measurement for the recommended height. Measure the dog from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. (If the dog has an especially long tail, don't have to measure the whole tail.) Add 5cm to 15cm to this dimension to determine the recommended length of your dog's kennel.
It is best to apply a layer of insulation as this will not only keep your dog warm in the winter but will actually help cool it in the summer. The best way to do this is to apply a double skin to your kennel so that the still air between the two skins becomes an insulating area. Alternatively, you could fill the space with an insulating material for extra warmth.
Ideally yes. A hard surface such as concrete or paving slabs will not only help prevent your base from rotting but will also offer protection from extremes of weather and possible flooding. If you already have a suitable base in your garden, use that; otherwise, it is worth putting down a collection of slabs to offer a firm base. The wooden sections that you use for your base will provide insulation from these cold and hard surfaces.