Building DIY Dog Kennels & Dog Runs

Building dog kennels for a family or a commercial operation can be a challenging but rewarding DIY project!

Some people call dog houses or dog crates “kennels.” 

However, the type of dog kennel we are talking about is like those you see at animal shelters, where dogs have an outdoor run with a sheltered space to go to if they want shade or protection from weather.

Family Dog Kennel

You can build your own dog kennel in the backyard or on your property with either a single enclosure or multiple runs, depending on how many dogs you need to contain.

As the video below shows, you can be creative and save money in the process. 

DIY dog run (24 x 24 ft) and attached raised dog house (4 x 8 ft) made from a kids’ playhouse.

The builder said the fence cost him $200 – which is what you’d pay for a much smaller manufactured version.

Commercial or Multi-Dog Kennels

For multiple dogs, there are four areas that you need to factor in when building dog kennels:

  1. An indoor space (like a dog house) so each dog can choose to be out of the weather, or find rest away from other dogs if need be.
  2. An individual outdoor area, or dog run, where each dog can get fresh air, go to the bathroom, and socialize with other dogs around them.
  3. Additional rooms for offices and waiting clients, and areas to store supplies, sequester nursing bitches or dogs under quarantine, or for dogs recuperating from illness or surgery.
  4. An exercise yard where dogs can run at speed.

Location Considerations

Important factors to keep in mind regarding where to build a dog kennel on your property include the following:

  • Local building codes and permits
  • Access to utility hookups such as water, power, and sewer
  • How will you minimize the noise from barking?
  • What would offer maximum sun exposure in winter and minimum afternoon sun exposure in summer?
  • Do you have any trees that could offer shade or cause a problem with branches breaking in the wind?
  • Is there space for the number of kennels, runs, and additional rooms will you need?
  • Is there room for an exercise yard?
  • Is the ground level or sloped?
  • Will you need to provide drainage to prevent flooding?
  • Can you face the runs and kennel door openings away from the wind in cold climates?
  • Is the location convenient for the people who will be maintaining the dogs and kennels?
  • Will the kennels be far enough away or downwind from your residence to reduce odors?

Proper Planning Pays Off

Of course, you’ll likely have to compromise in some areas. Investigate the above questions and the following ideas carefully. 

As we can attest from hard experience, it will save you money and aggravation if you plan thoroughly before you start to buy materials or to build a dog kennel, especially if you want one that lasts a long time…

Take inventory of the materials you have on hand or can scrounge from local sources and online (e.g. craigslist or freecycle).

For example, when we lived in southern Oregon, we procured hundreds of feet of free fence wire and posts simply by being willing to remove them from someone else’s property! 

We’ve found that used plywood and lumber are still often available too, despite the much higher prices of new wood products these days… Last year we asked a company that was remodeling a building if we could take scrap lumber out of their dumpster. Permission was granted and we ended up with at least two dozen eight-foot usable 2x4s and some pieces of plywood.

Things to Know About Building Dog Kennels 

Determine the following:

  • The size of each doghouse and run
  • Materials to use for the doghouse door, floor, walls and roof
  • Materials to use for the gate, floor, walls and roof of the run
  • Insulating materials to be included
  • Additional heating or cooling devices required
  • Waste removal and drainage
  • Gates to and fencing around exercise areas
  • Additional rooms needed:
    To store food and medications; to store cleanup materials; for whelping; for dogs recovering from an accident or illness; for dogs that have a contagious disease and need to be quarantined.

For more specifics about building dog kennels regarding construction and planning, and for links to sources of our research, please see Dog Kennel Instructions and Dog Kennel Ideas.