Sometimes the simple approach is best to shield your pooch from the elements. Here’s how you can build an infinitely scalable dog kennel.

I don’t think my father-in-law believes that I did woodwork at high school. I don’t blame him either, because I’ve shown little aptitude for carpentry in our 11-year association. He also owns a construction company and holds a qualification in carpentry. We don’t see eye to eye on many things and didn’t agree on which breed of dog to get when we needed a new puppy to help guard our smallholding, so I acquired an Australian cattle dog in December. And now winter is setting in.

Although I do possess the skills to build a doghouse and my father-in-law has a mighty collection of reclaimed wood, I’m more comfortable supporting the local economy and purchasing a ready-made solution. The old man is old school and took matters into his own hands during one of his low periods. What follows is the impressive fruit of his labour. What’s nice is that it can be scaled up or down to suit any size outdoor* dog.

*Disclaimer: The sideboards aren’t actually bevelled and there are gaps where the boards overlap. You can cheat like this if you know your dog can tolerate the slight draught. The cheat is recommended for dogs with double coats that are used to sleeping outside.

Dog kennel how to:

Step 1 – Measuring

This doghouse is designed to fit a medium-sized animal and uses the wood from 10 pallets with minimal wastage. First measure the dog, or find the breed standards if your pet is thoroughbred. In this case an adult male Australian cattle dog stands 51 cm at the withers, so we made the opening 55 cm high. The floor is around 120 x 100 cm, with blocks from a block pallet used as stilts in each corner. Floor dimensions are only limited to the largest- size pallets you can source.

Step 2 – Cutting

I wasn’t around for most of this part, but my father-in-law bevelled* one edge of the 120 cm pallet boards at 35˚ for the sides and roof shingles. He also sourced 100 cm pallet boards and bevelled that at 35˚ to form the front and rear ends.
For the entrance opening he mock-assembled the front end, marked out the opening and cut the boards accordingly. The floor is a close boarded pallet.

Step 3 – Assembling

Set the floor on the blocks and treat the wood (we used Woodoc 50 Exterior Sealer Marine). Separately assemble the side panels by screwing the bevelled edges to a timber frame (we used 25 x 38 mm roof battens cut and set to 100 x 120 cm rectangle frame and a centre post). When the floor is dry, set the sides and glue/nail in place to the floor and to a pallet board (which then forms the bottom of the wall).

Repeat the framing for the rear panel (100 x 100 cm batten frame and centre post) and mirror the perimeter framing for the front, but place two centre posts – one on each side of the opening. Glue/nail to the sidewalls and floor.

Step 4 – Roofing

Before you put the roof on the dog kennel, it’s a good idea to check you haven’t got any sharp nail points inside. If there are any sharp nails, then take the time now to cut them off and file flat. You don’t want to cause any injury to your best friend.

Then all that’s left to do is attach the roof to the dog kennel. This can be done with the lengths of timber and nails. We chose an A-frame because my father-in-law is skilled enough to pull it off, but I would’ve gone for a flat roof had I been left to my own devices. We added a rubber mat over the apex for extra weatherproofing.