If you’re looking to build a dog house for your pooch, then these free dog house plans for large dogs will hopefully save yourself tons of time and lots of money!
Building your own dog house can be a fun and rewarding project. You could make a weekend out of it and enlist the help of family or friends or turn it into a home-school project with the children. Or, you could go it alone and enjoy all the glory of the final product!
Knowing how to build a dog house is really the first step. It may seem a daunting task initially, but it can be as simple – or as grand – as you wish. The basic requirement is that it needs to provide shelter for your dog when he is outside of the home.
A large breed will obviously need a dog house suitable for a large dog, but you will find that the prices will go up with the dimensions when you look to buy these in-store or online. This is one of the main reasons owners turn to DIY dog houses for large breeds.
Things to Consider Before Building a Dog House
In the United States, a dog has a legal right to a safe environment, which includes shelter, warmth, food, and water. If you’re looking to build a dog house for a dog to spend a lot of time – or all of his time – outdoors, then there are things to consider to keep you safe from the law and ensure the happiness and wellbeing of the dog.
As well as the dog house you’re looking to build; there are other things needed to ensure the dog is fully protected from the elements. Looking at the different types of heat lamps available will help with this. The dog will need constant access to fresh water and for his environment to be sanitary – we would recommend looking at convenient dog waste stations to solve this.
It is wise to section off a portion of the yard to be entirely for the dog, as it can be a pretty hazardous area for dogs – especially if they’re not supervised for long periods. A simple fencing construction can be used to contain the dog within a smaller dog-safe area, or you could look at outdoor dog playpens to place your dog house in.
The dog house will need a flat, solid foundation, or it is at risk of subsiding or rotting underneath. A spirit level will let you know if the area you’ve selected is even, but we would recommend you raise the base of the dog house too. Ideally, the bottom will be tarmac, concrete, or paving slabs – all of which you can buy in bulk here.
The Best Dog House Plans for Large Dogs
We’ve scoured the net, so you don’t have to, and have rounded up the best free dog house plans for large dogs below.
1. The Weekend Project
We love the straightforward design and the simple-to-follow instructions of this dog house plan. It’s also good to see images from other owners and how they’ve tweaked the design to make their dog’s house entirely bespoke.
This design requires a lot of lumber wood, which would be cost-effective to purchase directly from a lumber yard. We estimate this dog house to cost over a couple of hundred dollars (if completed with decent quality materials), which is more expensive than some dog houses out there. Still, you can’t put a price on the sense of satisfaction you’ll get once this is completed.
2. The Complete Freebie!
Now, this is a dog house plan with a $0 investment – providing you can get your hands on some pallets and have the tools required to hand. The pallet dog house has a straightforward plan with a step-by-step photo guide. Nowadays, people are just fascinated with pallets and what they can use them for, so it’s no wonder they can be utilized for our canine friends.
You can find free pallets in several places, but due to the angle cuts and dismantling of the pallets, we would recommend investing in a jigsaw – which could be the only purchase necessary with this plan.
3. The Ranch
Check out the cute ranch design here. We love the rustic finish, obtained by using redwood lattice battens and cedarwood, which will add great durability to the finished design too. The instructions are laid out in six straightforward steps, with images too.
The ranch dog house is crafted from just three sheets of plywood, with an estimated investment being around $200. When you compare this to a commercial dog house that doesn’t look as good quality, the price seems justified.
4. The Gable Roof
The Gable-Roof dog house plan can be adjusted to be adequate for small, medium, or large breeds. This plan is a basic guide, with easy-to-follow instructions across seven internet pages – it may be easier to print this plan out due to this.
The plan suggests a plywood floor which may require additional flooring to be more sturdy and easy to clean. Easy-stick vinyl floor squares would be a low-cost and simple way of upgrading this floor.
5. The Custom Insulated Dog House
The best thing about this custom insulated dog house plan is the video tutorial; if you’re more of a visual learner, this is a great advantage. It may seem a little daunting that the video and plan images show three people constructing the dog house, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it is a 3-person build, and those with basic DIY skills could find it reasonably straightforward.
As it is a custom plan, you can change the wood and size to suit your own preferences, but we like the recommendation provided for the weather-resistant screws.
6. Something a Little Different
Scroll down to page 30 of this PDF, and you will find a superb dog house plan for medium to large breeds. A great feature of this dog house is the lifting side panel to aid easy cleaning. There is also a removable interior panel to section the dog house into two parts – possibly one for resting or sheltering. The smaller section could be designated sleeping quarters.
This plan is aimed toward more advanced DIYers out there, but with limited materials required, anyone with the right amount of enthusiasm could give it a go and not be out of pocket for trying.
7. The Crooked Dog House
For the more quirky ones amongst us, this design is pretty awesome. It is recommended for people who can complete DIY at an advanced level, and although it looks relatively simple, it is a detailed and intricate design. This Dr. Suess-looking dog house plan has a shopping list and cutting instructions to help, and the steps are highly detailed but explained in a simple manner.
We love the yellow color choice the author chose and the name plaque above the door too. Little touches can make a big difference.
8. Simple Dog House
This simple dog house plan has seven straightforward steps and is available to download and print in PDF format. Our favorite bit about this plan is the vast comment section, where you can find lots of tips from people who have completed this design – some modifying it to their own specifications, along with pictures of their finished dog houses.
It is interesting to see how other owners have transformed the one design, and the results couldn’t be more varied – it is hard to believe that they’ve all come from the same plan!
9. The House With a Roofing Deck
This plan is not for the faint-hearted. But, if you’re good with woodwork constructions and your dog loves to sprawl out and soak up the sun rays, then this design could be perfect for you. You don’t have to build the entire plan and add the stairs and roofing deck to an already established construction or store-bought dog house.
The roofing deck is by no means simple. With railings, runners, and brace, a lot of time, skill, and effort is required to ensure this is a safe and aesthetically pleasing design. If you have a high-energy, bouncy breed, enticing them up high may not be the best idea. But for more placid dogs or seniors, this plan could mean they will enjoy those long summer days just that little bit more.
10. Download and Print Plan
This large dog house plan comes with a step-by-step tutorial and a downloadable PDF to print out. A top tip would be to hinge the roof of this dog house to allow for better access and easy cleaning. We estimate this build to cost between $300-$400, so not the cheapest design, but the plan itself has many benefits.
We love the drop-down shopping list menu and then drop-down cutting list as well as the step-by-step visual guide.
Tools and Materials
The tools required to build a dog house are likely the same tools you will already have around the home – this isn’t a specialized construction requiring premium tools. As a general idea for the above plans, you would likely need:
- Tape Measure
- Spirit Level
- Framing Square
- Miter Saw
- Safety Goggles
The materials required would include:
- Screws & nails – of varying sizes, check the plan you choose for the right screws and nails and go for weatherproof versions if you can.
- Wood glue – waterproof wood glue will add extra stability to the construction.
- Wood stain/paint – wood stain will protect the wood from the elements, as well as dampness and mold.
We have already mentioned the importance of heaters, but there are other factors to consider, such as insulation, flooring and underlay, the roof, and additional safety measures. As the above plans can be treated as rough guides, you may want to pretty the house up and add things like windows or exterior lighting too. This is your dog house, made how you want.
When it comes to insulation, there are a few choices. Foam and foil sheets, cut to size, are the most affordable options but ensure that they’re entirely covered as dogs with a need to chew will love nothing more than tearing it all out, given a chance! It is important to insulate the dog house because no matter how much a dog can love living outside, he still needs to be warm when out there during the colder months or in colder climates.
Underlay should be moisture-resistant to ensure longevity. An asphalt roof would be the most secure against the element, but consider adding a roof underlayment as an extra layer of protection. Roof underlayment can be easily fixed into place with a stapling gun, and we would say it is worth the investment as if the roof isn’t water-tight, the entire build will suffer.
Hi, I’m Walter,
I live in Oklahoma City, USA, and have extensive dog caring and grooming expertise. In addition, I provide dog training tips and tricks through my blogs in Canine Weekly. I have a Dog Behavior and Training diploma and have previously worked as a Dog Trainer at ROC Animal Training and Behavior and Tip Top K9 of OKC Dog Training.
Apart from writing on Canine Weekly, I share my views on Twitter and Linkedin.