DIY Dog Kennel Instructions

Sam's dog DIY dog kennel

The dog kennel instructions below give all the necessary parameters to build a dog kennel.

From them you should be able to design your own backyard kennel or a commercial operation, including a sheltered dog housewith a run for each set of dogs.

The photo at right shows Sam’s Cool Kennel built by John Dunn of Fresno, California, to keep his dog’s cool in the heat of summer.

Why We Don’t Supply Specific Kennel Plans

Each person’s setup will have different requirements regarding size, climate and location. Therefore, you’ll need to put the information together yourself (or with someone else) for a custom build.

Proceed with caution: Please check out your local building codes to see what adjustments you may need to make before you start making any concrete plans.

If you’re looking for some visual help to go along with our dog kennel instructions, you may wish to go to Dog Kennel Ideas first.

Dog Kennel Instructions: Sizing

About 4 x 4 feet or 5 x 5 feet to match the width of the runs
Metric sizes: 1220 x 1220 mm or 1525 x 1525 mm (see below)

Around 50 square feet for less active breeds
Some builders use 4 x 12 feet; others 5 x 10 feet
Metric sizes: 1220 x 2440 mm; or 1525 x 3050 mm

For more active, restless breeds, 6 x 12 or even 6 x 24 feet is recommended for runs. A 10 x 10 ft area or thereabouts also works.
Metric: 1830 x 3660 mm; 1830 x 7320 mm; 3050 x 3050 mm

(Makes it easier for dogs to avoid stepping in their feces)

Dog Kennel Instructions: Materials

Construction materials should be:

  • Easy to clean
  • Weather resistant
  • Tough enough or able to be protected so dogs cannot chew through them
  • Able to be purchased locally
  • Affordable*

*Beware of going too cheap, especially for materials exposed to the weather. If you want to cut corners somewhere, do it with the doghouse framing studs and indoor plywood rather than the chain link fence and roofing materials. You may otherwise spend many years regretting your choices.

Dog Kennel Instructions: Dog House


  • Plywood placed on a 2×4 or 2×6 frame
  • 3 Inch foam insulation to fit within the frame underneath the plywood
  • For maximum dog comfort and something that is easy to disinfect, consider a removable vinyl floor pad or a rubber mat
  • Other materials that can be used include newspaper (although the ink may show up on dogs with lighter coats!) and sawdust. Avoid straw since it can cause allergies and harbors insects too easily.


  • 3/8 to 1/ 2 inch CDX plywood
  • 2×6 or 2×4 lumber
  • 3 inches insulation (Styrofoam or polyurethane or whatever the mice won’t chew on. Avoid fiberglass since it doesn’t insulate when it gets wet)
  • Galvanized corner bead (metal molding used for sheetrock) to cover wood product edges and corners that could be chewed on
  • 1×2 inch welded wire to protect flat areas of wood from chewing


If the doghouse is inside a building, you may not need a separate roof. For commercial kennels, acoustic ceiling tiles can help moderate noise from barking.

If a dog house is exposed to the elements, you could use a sandwich of the following materials with insulation in between:

  • 3/8 to 1/2-inch exterior plywood, other kinds of lumber, aluminum sheets, or tin
  • 2×6 or 2×4 lumber
  • 3 inches insulation – see DOGHOUSE WALLS above

Dog Kennel Instructions: Dog Run


  • Reinforced concrete or asphalt (hot top) about 4 inches thick. Concrete should not be too rough for dog’s pads nor too smooth to be slippery. Some dogs react to certain types of concrete and so asphalt may be a better option. However, asphalt needs to be shaded.
  • The floor may be covered with rubber matting, sawdust or cedar shavings.
  • The floor should slope downward 1/4 to 1/2 inch every 12 inches (or 6 to 12 mm every 300 mm) in the direction of your drainage gutter for easiest cleanup. This should not be necessary with a raised wire mesh floor.
  • Steel mesh wire can be used instead for a raised floor, although we would also only recommend this for a shaded run. Make sure holes are too small for dogs’ claws to get caught in the mesh.


  • Chain link fence, 9 gauge, can be used by itself, with wooden posts, or with a concrete block base. Pre-manufactured panels are available from national hardware chains. 
  • Woven wire mesh is an alternative to chain link fencing and may be supplied with a manufactured metal frame. 
  • Another option are panels made of solid metal bars, spaced such that a dog cannot get his head caught in between them.
  • When using concrete blocks, fill the blocks 3/4 to 2/3 up with sand and top with concrete.


  • In a cool to warm climate, use wire mesh or chain link fence, at least 11 gauge, to prevent dogs climbing or jumping out.
  • A wire mesh or chain link roof can also protect a dog from fallen branches if the run is shaded by a tree.
  • In a very hot or cold climate, use a corrugated tin roof or exterior grade plywood covered with tar paper and/or shingles for shade or snow protection. 
  • In snowy climates, make sure the roof slopes downward so snow can slide off or be brushed down.

Other Dog Kennel Instructions to Consider


  • Insulation for the doghouse walls, floor and ceiling.
  • Suitable ventilation for the doghouse.
  • Piped hot water heat under the concrete flooring.
  • Air conditioning, a misting system, or fans for summer.
  • A doghouse door that blocks out most or all of the wind. (All of it if the doghouse has adequate ventilation.)


  • Sealed concrete floor or wire mesh
  • Gutter inside or outside
  • Sloping floor: 1/4 to 1/2 inch per every 12 inches. (Or in metric units: 6 to 12 mm per every 300 mm)
  • A dog waste digester or dog poo composting system

Note that taking the dog out a couple of times a day for exercise will most likely reduce or eliminate the amount of waste it leaves in the kennel. It’s also better for the dog’s mental and physical health.


  • Flies: Spalding Fly Predators are small bugs that you can purchase in bags. Sprinkle them in the kennel. They hatch from cocoons and eat any fly larvae in sight. Fly strips can be used in conjunction with these predators.
  • If birds of prey or other critters pose a threat to your pet’s safety in warmer climates, a fenced dog run with an overhead fence or corrugated tin roof can keep your dog from getting nabbed.
  • Mosquitoes: Avoid areas of standing water nearby. If near a pond, mosquito fish larvae are a natural way to keep numbers down.
  • Fleas: Cedar shavings are supposed to deter fleas. Sawdust may harbor them.