How to Choose the Right Size Dog House – How to Buy a Doghouse

You might as well ask ‘how long is a piece of string’, judging by the abundance of dog-house sizing formulas out there!  But we’ve read them all and condensed the best advice into this handy guide:

Most common doghouse size guide

You should always measure the dog’s height from the ground to the top of its head for all doghouse formulas.  And here’s the most-used doghouse sizing formula:-

Length:     Dog length x 2
Width:      Dog length x 3
Height:     Dog height x 2
Doorway: Dog height x 1

Doghouse size guide for DIY dog-kennel makers

If you’re planning to make a dog’s house yourself, there are lots of downloadable plans at places like Wood magazine. This size formula is recommended for pets living in a colder area, and is designed to be snug and a comfortable when it’s cold outside.

Depth:  Dog Length x 3
Width:  Dog Length x 3
Height: Dog Height x 2

It’s a good, simple way to get the right size of doghouse, without complicated calculations.  However, you’ll need to see a Wood project plan for more details about the door opening and roof dimensions.

Doghouse sizing by ‘educated guess’

If you don’t want to do the maths, and feel you can judge the best size of doghouse yourself, here are a few tips:-

  • Entry doorway height – a little lower than the dog’s height
  • Length – the same length, or a little longer, as your dog
  • Width –  also the same length, or a little longer, as your dog
  • Height – more than the standing height of your dog

The entry height needs to be slightly lower than your dog’s actual height – measured from the ground to the top of its head.  For some reason, dogs prefer a kennel doorway that they have to duck down to pass through. It’s probably an ancient instinct to stop larger animals coming in uninvited!  And it helps keep in the heat during cold spells, too.

Online doghouse guides go by weight

If you’re buying online, you’ll find that the stores offer doghouses according to the weight of the pet.  But if your dog is one of the tall, thin breeds, such as a Doberman or greyhound this won’t always work. For tall, lightweight dogs it’s just as important to measure the dog’s height to get right size doghouse.  And solidly built dogs like the bulldog or chow-chow will obviously need extra width inside their shelter.

Kennel sizes for hot & cold climates

Generally speaking, you need an inside space that’s large enough to let the dog enter, turn around and lie down in. This is agreed between most animal care organizations, veterinaries and the U.S. Humane society. But you then you need to factor in the climate conditions in your local area.

During cold weather, a kennel that’s too big for the pet inside will not have the necessary heat-retention benefits. On the other hand, an extra-large doghouse will be cooler for dogs living in a hot climate. And if you live in an area that has hot summers, but very cold winters, maybe you need two kennels.  A snug doghouse for winter and a larger and cheaper dog shelter for summertime. Locations that have mild winters, and a temperate climate, are suitable for a kennel that’s slightly bigger than your dog.  This will provide comfortable conditions all year round.


  • Cold winters = snug doghouse size for heat-retention or you could buy a large doghouse you can heat safely in winter, which will be cool in summer
  • Hot weather =  large doghouse size for cooling air circulation
  • Mild weather = in-between too-large and too-small for your pet’s size

And if you think this is turning into a ‘Goldilocks’ situation, you’re not too far wrong!

Housing a growing dog

For puppies and young adults, be sure to choose a doghouse that will still be suitable for them within the next 6 – 12 months of growth.  If you’re a member of a breed club, you’ll often find owners buy and sell ‘outgrown’ kennels between members.  So this is a great financial saving.

So whether you’re planning to buy a doghouse from a pet superstore or online, you should now have a better idea of how to choose the right size doghouse for your doggy companion!

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