How to build an XXL dog house

Building a dog house seems to be an easy job at the first sight, but it isn’t. If we are talking about a medium to large size doghouse, the process can be quite complex because you have to build a frame to sustain the structure.

The request for this project came from one of my work colleague who asked me to build a doghouse for his “xxl” dog. After measuring the dog and anticipating his future dimensions, it turned out that the house has to be big:  90 cm (width) x 130 cm (length) x 115 cm (height).

The construction process is split in three parts. In the first part the focus is to build the frame, the second part is dedicated to the paneling, while the last part is about polishing and painting.

Frame structure

To build the frame I’ve followed a standard wood house plan. First I’ve created the bottom frame followed by the top one, joined them together and then finishing with the roof. The timber I’ve used was 4.5 cm x 3.5 cm thick, there is nothing special about it, this is what I had available. For joining the frame pieces I’ve used some simple wood screws, it’s quick and easy. I personally don’t like too much screws or other metal in the wood construction, so as you will see later, I’ll do my best to hide them as much as possible.

Here is the frame. The execution time is about ~1 – 1.5 hour.

wood dog house framedog house frame


Before start paneling the frame, I had to process all the lumbers and create a tongue and groove joint. To achieve this, I’ve used my router table with a tongue and groove knife.

tongue and groove jointtongue and groove joint

I was not satisfied with result, so I’ve tried to do some tricks in order to make the joint line more visible. I haven’t had any special knife dedicated to this job, so I had to improvise. After I’ve finished the tongue and groove joint I’ve switched to a V-groove router bit and processed  all the timbers again.

Once I’ve finished with the joints, I’ve cut all the pieces carefully to the same lengths ( to achieve this I’ve  mounted a stopper to the circular saw).

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Paneling the frame

To panel the frame I’ve used some wood screws, but I’ve tried to put the screws the closest possible to the end because the edges will be covered so hopefully they won’t be visible.

Painting & Staining

Before start painting, I took all apart (except the frame), this way it’s easier to paint and you can apply uniform paint on both sides.

wood dog house2015-09-09 20.13.55

In order to hide the corner joints, I’ve decided to cut a piece of wood to cover the corner. This way I could hide the screws used to fix the panel wood.

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I’m pretty sure that everybody knows how to cut a  corner covers wood, but if not, here is a picture which tells everything. Basically, you have to adjust the circular saw to the desired height and apply two cuts which will remove the unneeded materials. If you use a square material, like I did, you have to calibrate the circular saw height and thickness just once, otherwise you have to do it twice.

wood corner cover

I decided to use two colors, so I stained the corner cover wood using a light oak stain.

staining the wood

After painting, I’ve finished with the roof and mounted a classic red shingless (~ 1.8 m/2 needed).

xxl dog house wood dog house

Name inscription

For the name inscription I had two choices.

  • Option1: to carve the name using a hand router
  • Option 2: to cut out each letter individually.

My choice was option1. I was already familiar with this process so I could do it relatively easy. You can find more details about the inscription process in my next post.

After putting all together  here is the final result!

dog house