Looking for DIY doghouse plans for a larger breed dog? This DIY dog house (with free building plans), is perfect for our Berner and would easily fit labs, golden retrievers and other breeds in the 100lb range.
London has introduced new bi-laws where anyone caught leaving their dogs outside for an extended time in the cold can and will be fined. I am 100% on board with this – I abhor animal cruelty – BUT Miss Lacey is a Bernese MOUNTAIN dog…
which means that she LOVES the cold and snow and her breed is an “outdoor” dog. Our girl is an indoor dog, but when the snow flies it is a battle to get her into the house. Truly. I have to chase her around the yard yelling “Get in there!” and she only caves when I have her cornered. lol
Because I do want my obstinate dog to have some shelter when she’s being
a pain a mountain dog, and because I really don’t want to get fined, I decided to build my girl a doghouse.
Plans for this DIY doghouse are from DIY Pete, and save for a few small changes, I kept to his plans pretty closely.
I have to tell you this doghouse is HEAVY.
Like, I-can’t-lift-it-to-move-it heavy, so you’re going to want to build it where you want it to stand. My backyard is on a slight slope so short of digging into the ground to lower the back, or putting the front on risers – my placement was limited to…. well, really just the patio. Yes, that’s going to be a pain to move next summer.
A friend and I built the base for the dog house and the side framing in the garage and then lugged the pieces to the backyard before assembling them with pocket screws.
The overall size of the base is 48″ long by 31 ½” wide (door frame opening is 27″ wide by 27″ tall) not including the roof. Miss Lacey is a small Berner weighing in at about 80lbs – so the size of a golden retriever or lab – and the doghouse is perfect for her, but might not fit a St. Bernard.
To give you an idea of size, this is Lacey and I trying it out together.
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Now DIY Pete used plywood to fill in the framing, but it seemed like an unnecessary and expensive step to me – and this DIY dog house is already pretty expensive. I decided I would try rigid foam insulation. (My dog isn’t a chewer so I felt safe with foam over wood)
I layered cedar fence boards along the sides and back – partially for the look and partially because it will age and patina over time and won’t require the upkeep of paint or sealer.
For the roofing I used a composite panel (over corrugated plastic, metal or roof shingles). It came in a 48″ x 79″ sheet so there wasn’t a lot of waste and at roughly $30/per panel, it seemed well worth the money. This brown composite panel is made by Ondura and comes with the foam fillers you see underneath, so all I had to do was cut it with a utility knife and attach it to the DIY doghouse roof with roofing screws (and washers).
I left Lacey’s dog house like this for a week or two – partially because we received a small dump of snow, and partially because I was struggling to finish up the side cedar shingles (I just could NOT figure out how to cut that top angle???)
Lacey did not go into the dog house once. Not even when I put a dish of peanut butter in the back of it.
Odie and Luna took pity on me and snuggled in – but at ~$200 into this project, a cat fort was not what I was going for.
That’s when I decided to line the inside with rigid foam board to see if I could cut more of the wind coming through.
I cut each board separately to make sure I had a nice, tight fit inside the framing of the DIY doghouse, and then tucked them inside.
The roof is one solid panel of ply, covered with the composite roof, so I didn’t bother to insulate it any further.
Here’s something I learned from a friend… “Hay is for hamsters and straw is for strays”. Meaning: the difference between hay and straw is that hay you feed to pets – horses, guinea pigs, rabbits etc, and straw is used to line horse stalls and, in this case, dog houses, to keep “strays” or pets warm and dry.
A single bale of straw is huge. What you see here is less than a quarter of it – so at $4/bale it’s a pretty great option for keeping “strays” warm all winter.
It ALMOST worked… Lacey still hasn’t snuggled herself inside her new chateau, but she does love the straw (and perhaps the roast beef I hid under it so I could take this photo lol).
I added a bit of outdoor paint to the roof line just to tie it to the composite panel and Miss Lacey’s DIY doghouse is done!
Just in time too… the snow may have come and gone, but it is freezing rain at the moment and I can’t keep her in the house all winter.
Special thanks to DIY Pete for creating and sharing these awesome building plans!
And neighbours… I’m doing all I can to keep this darn dog warm and cozy. Please know that this doghouse was built in an effort to save you from my swearing and running around the yard in my pyjamas trying to drag her fluffy butt inside. lol
If you’re not in the mood to build – the following (affiliate) links might help – please note, for full affiliate disclosure, please see the sidebar or end of this page.
Have a great one!
Love it. I think Lacey will come to love it especially when the real snow comes? Or maybe not!