How to build a dog kennel

Everybody deserves a good solid roof over their head to keep out the elements. Especially your best friend. Even though he or she comes equipped with their own fur coat, the sun, rain, wind and cold can make life pretty uncomfortable for them. So here’s a haven for your hound which is easy to put together and can be adapted to suit all sizes of dogs.

Project checklist


  • Circular saw or hand saw
  • Electric or cordless jig saw
  • Power drill and bits
  • Carpenters square
  • Claw hammer
  • Measuring tape or ruler and pencil
  • Caulking gun
  • Exterior grade plywood sheets
  • Treated pine
  • Silicone sealant and construction grade adhesive
  • Galvanised nails and bolts
  • Steel Colourbond roofing, clout nails and insulation (optional)

Step 1: Plan ahead

First, you have to decide how big your kennel needs to be. If it’s too big, your pet won’t feel secure in it. Too small and he or she will probably ignore all your efforts. It should be just big enough for your dog to stand up in and to turn around before lying down and curling up.

Step 2: Start at the bottom

With a project, like this, you need to start from the floor and work up. The floor should be at least 100mm off the ground to allow air circulation and to keep the kennel dry inside. So first build a subfloor frame from the 100 x 50mm treated pine. Treated pine is ideal for this because it is virtually rot proof.

After measuring up and deducting ply wall thickness, pencil a line across the ends of the timber with a carpenter’s square. Cut to length making sure the ends are square for a strong join. Then lay the pieces out on a flat, firm surface and butt join each corner with 100 x 4.5mm galvanised nails or 75mm x 8 gauge wood screws. Drive nails at a slight angle for greater strength.

Next, measure and cut the centre subfloor frame cross piece and nail it to the outside pieces, again at an angle. Do the same for the remaining two smaller cross pieces. Then drill large holes through the subfloor frame to ensure cross-ventilation and allow water to run off.

Finally, measure and cut a piece of 12mm plywood and fix to the subfloor frame using adhesive and galvanised nails along all sides and cross pieces. That’s the base done.

Step 3 & 4: Open the door

Before you put the walls up, you need to put a door in. For exact measurements for the door, refer to our Mitreplan. The side walls are cut so that they are flush with the edge of your frame. The front and back walls will overhang and be flush with the plywood and that means you will end up with perfect butt joints. Use construction adhesive between the walls and 40mm x 2mm bullet head galvanised nails.

Handy Tip: To keep your dog warm and dry and keep out fleas, silicone all the joints on the inside and out.

Step 5: Roofing in

Once the floor and walls are built, it is time for the roof and we will be building that out of plywood but once that’s done you can do anything you like to the top of it such as waterproof paint, corrugated iron or even AstroTurf.

Handy Tip: If you are using corrugated iron, make sure you round off all the edges and corners.

Now it’s time to cut out the gables that hold the roof panels in place. Measure the back wall from outside to outside, and refer to dimensions in the Mitreplan which will give you the height of your apex. Once you have all the measurements, you can start cutting.

Temporarily attach the gable to the kennel, and do this by attaching a scrap bit of plywood to the gable with 3 nails. Place the gable on the kennel and tack more nails into it, and your gable is ready for the roof panels. Do this for both gables.

Now to cut out the roof sheets. Make one roof sheet 12mm longer than the other and that is to allow the thickness of the plywood to create the perfect butt joint at the ridge. The other thing to think of is the overhang of the roof to stop the weather from getting in the door. We are going to leave 125mm on our kennel, so you will need to mark that out. Hammer the roof panels onto the gable. Once again, silicone the roof joints to keep it water tight.

Step 6: Finishing touches

Take off the temporary gable bracing and you are now ready for a coat of paint. The last thing to do is hinge the back wall so you can lift the roof off and keep the kennel nice and clean.