How to Build a Doghouse for a German Shepherd

By Cayden Conor

A typical German shepherd weighs about 75 pounds and is 27 inches at the shoulder. A doghouse should be large enough for the dog to enter and turn around. It should be able to lay down comfortably and be far enough back from the door in order to be protected from the elements. The doghouse can be built to sit directly on the ground, or it can be placed on a cement pad or up on bricks. All measurements are based on the measurements of the dog.

Measure and Setting Up

Measure the dog from the tip of its ears to the ground and from the tip of its nose to the end of its haunches. Add 12 inches to the height measurement and 24 inches to the length measurement. These measurements will determine the length and height of the walls for the dog house.

Purchase enough wood and supplies to build the dog house to the size you need. You will need enough for four walls, the roofing and the flooring. Don't forget to figure in enough 2-by-4-inch boards for the trusses for the roof.

If you are putting the dog house on a cement pad or raising it on bricks, purchase enough of these materials to create the platform of choice. If you have an air compressor, a nail gun will make the job go much faster.

Build the Floor

Using the length measurement from Section 1, Step 1, cut 2-by-4-inch boards to make a perfect square. Stand the boards on the side, so that the 4-inch side of the board is vertical. Nail the boards together in a square.

Measure the square from the outside of one side to the other, from side to side and front to back. Cut a piece of pressure-treated plywood to these measurements. The measurements should be 4 inches more than the measurements in Section 1, Step 1.

Make sure the box is perfectly square, then nail or screw the pressure-treated plywood to the top of the box. Flip the box over so the plywood is against the ground.

Make two floor supports. Measure across from side to side. The supports need to fit between the sides, so take the measurement from the inside of each board. Cut a pressure-treated 2-by-4-inch board to fit. It should fit tightly and may have to be hammered into place. Nail or screw the supports in from the outside of the box.

Flip the box over. Using the nails or screws on the outside, make a chalk line across the floor where the support is. Screw the plywood into the supports along the line. Evenly space at least five screws along the chalk line. Flip the box over to make sure you didn't miss the supports. Flip the box over so the plywood is on top.

Build the Frame Walls

Mark the floor with the letters A, B,C and D---one letter for each side. Make the sides A and C, the front B and the back D. Measure each side and write its measurement next to the letter.

Cut a 2-by-4-inch board for sides A and B according to the measurements. Lay the boards on the appropriate sides with the 4-inch side facing horizontally (do not attach them yet). Measure from the inside edge of the sides to get the proper measurement for the front and back (C and D). Cut a 2-by-4-inch board to these measurements. This is the base of the frame for each wall.

Using the height measurement, cut 2-by-4-inch boards for the height of the frame. Depending on the length of each wall, you will need three to four uprights---one for each end and one or two in the middle (studs). For each wall frame, build a box. The 2-by-4-inch boards should be oriented so that the 4-inch width of the board faces the inside of the box. Insert the wall studs and nail or screw them into the frame.

Nail or screw each of the four frames to the plywood bottom. The frames should be small enough so that they will stand up without support, but do not lean on them, as they will not be sturdy yet.

Build the Roof

Build the trusses for the roof if you want a gabled roof. Measure from A to B and add 8 inches to the measurement. This will give you a 4-inch overhang on each side. Cut a 2-by-4-inch board to the measurement. Cut the angles for the triangle trusses. The sharper the angle, the steeper the pitch will be on the roof. Screw the boards together to make a triangle.

Attach the trusses to the frame walls with the hurricane straps.

Cover the roof with plywood. The plywood does not have to be pressure-treated, as it will be protected by the roofing felt and shingles.

Putting it All Together

Measure each wall frame and cut a piece of plywood to fit. Screw or nail the plywood to the frame. For the front of the doghouse, before attaching the plywood, cut a door out of the plywood.

Sand the rough edges of the doorway. Paint the doghouse or, if you wish to add siding, add the siding now.

Attach the roofing felt to the roof with roofing nails. Starting at the lower edge of the roof, lay a row of shingles. Attach the shingles with roofing nails. Work up toward the peak of the roof with the shingles, row by row. Complete the other side of the roof the same way. At the top of the roof, bend a shingle over the peak so that water does not leak into the dog house.

Add soffitt to the underside of the overhang of the roof if you want it. You can also add a rubber cover over the door. Make sure the rubber can easily be pushed aside by the dog.