Doghouse Dimensions and Chart for Breeds of Various Sizes

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If your dog loves the outdoors & you have to drag him back inside, you might want to consider installing an outdoor dog house. A basic dog house is a great option for keeping dogs securely inside.

They are relatively cheap & safe. They are also perfect if your dog can’t stay inside for behavioral reasons.

However, if you are thinking about designing your own cozy dog house (read our article on how to build a dog house!), then a super important feature is size. You must choose the correct size for your dog to be comfortable & secure. 

Follow these tips to choose the most suitable dimensions for your beloved pooch!

How big do you really have to make it?

Cedar Wood Dog House

This is the question that will definitely pop into your head when you’re designing a dog house or choosing the best one on the market.

A doghouse should be, at the minimum, large enough for your dog to lay in, fully turn around, and be able to stretch in.

If it is smaller than this, your pup may end up feeling really cramped & uncomfortable.

This could mean that they won’t even enter the doghouse! Imagine how frustrating it would be if you spend 50 hours building a snug doghouse, and your pup won’t even enter!

Dog house sizing matters. It’s probably the most critical aspect of doghouse construction. 

So, you’ve got to ensure that the dog house has suitable floor space for your pet. To calculate this, you can consider the breed of your pet & measure specific dimensions of their body.

It would be best if you compared the measurements you have found to the sizing guidelines given down below.

However, you must make sure that you don’t make it too big. If it is too big, then it will lead to heat loss.

In cold climates, you must make the dog house big enough only for them to move around. This will allow the insulation to work effectively & keep the severe winter cold outside.

Measuring a doghouse

Wooden dog house on green lawn

There are a few parameters that you must take care of when deciding the dog house dimensions. A good size dog house must meet base space requirements of both floor space & vertical space.

There are so many dog house ideas that can playfully incorporate the required space while still looking really good. 

  • Height
    • The height of a dog house is found by measuring from the ground to the tallest point on the roof.
    • For A-frame roofs, this will be in the middle. The apex where the two roof panels meet is the highest point.
    • For slanted roofs, which are made of a single tilted panel, measure the height of the higher side.
    • The height of the dog house should be between 1.3-1.6 times the distance from your dog’s head to the ground. So, if your dog’s height is 20 inches, the dog house should be 26-32 inches tall.
    • If the dog house is smaller than this, your dog won’t be able to stand up properly & which could lead to many harmful behaviors such as anxiety, depression, and fearfulness.
    • If it is more extensive, this could lead to your dog losing a lot of body heat in a colder climate. A cozy doghouse with a low ceiling helps with body heat retention by trapping warm air during freezing weather conditions. Thus, a large doghouse will make your dog feel a lot more chilly.
    • You can personalize this based on your dog’s personality. If your pooch prefers to lay down and cat nap in the dog house, then you can stick with a height that is 1.3x your dog’s height. If they love to stand guard in there, you should have it a bit larger at 1.6x your dog’s height.
  • Door height
    • Doorway height is measured from the floor to the top of the highest point in the doorway. If your doghouse is placed on some sort of raised platform, measure from the surface closest to the doghouse. So, if you’ve placed the doghouse on a deck, measure from the deck to the highest point in the archway.
    • The dog height should be 0.75x the distance from your dog’s shoulder to the ground. This is because your dog is able to crouch down a bit to enter the house. Also, having a smaller doorway will invoke your dog’s denning instinct because it resembles the entrance to a cave. This can help your dog become more comfortable with the idea of sleeping in the doghouse if they are new to it.
    • A larger doorway size will end up allowing too much air to enter the doghouse. While this is great in a warm climate because it allows for a bit more ventilation, this can lead to a loss of heat in a colder climate. Cold air will blow into the doghouse, which will make your pup very chilly.
  • Width
    • The width is the smaller perpendicular distance between 2 opposite panels of the dog house.
    • The width must be 1.75x the length of your dog’s nose to tail. This will give them an ample amount of floor space to turn around. Plus, if your dog likes to spin around before he goes to sleep, it’s important you choose a doghouse with a large width.
    • You could also measure based on the chest width of your dog. However, I find that it’s best to measure based on the length because dogs love to turn around in their dog houses. Measuring based on the width almost always comes out too small.
  • Length
    • The length is the larger perpendicular distance between 2 opposite panels of the dog house. 
    • The length should be 2x the tail to the flank measurement of your dog. An ideal dog house should have a large enough length for your dog to comfortably enter & stretch out completely. 

How To Measure Your Dog

A man measuring dogs height

Now that you know exactly how big you should make your doghouse based on the measurements, here’s how to effectively measure your dog’s dimensions.

  1. Use a fabric measuring tape: A hard ruler or measuring tape won’t follow your dog’s natural curvature. Therefore, you will end up with incorrect values. If you don’t have a soft measuring tape, then you can use a piece of string & then measure it later with a ruler.
  1. Provide distractions: Since you need your dog to be standing through this process you need to make sure that they are standing & not moving. To do so, I like to smear peanut butter mixed with chicken liver paste on the wall. My dog then spends a few minutes standing up & licking it off, which is plenty of time for me to get my measurements.
  1. Measure chest height: Position the bottom of the measuring tape on the floor. Raise it up to the chest. End the measurements at the shoulder area. If you have a dog with long hair, you will notice that the fur changes direction around the center of the chest and may even form a spiral. You want to end your measurement a few inches above that.
  1. Measure height: To measure height, continue your ground measurement by moving the end of your measuring tape up to the dog’s head. End your measurement at the top of the skull. Dogs can get easily distracted at this step, so make sure that they are distracted & that you are armed with treats!
  1. Measure length: To measure length, you will need your dog standing. Measure the distance from your dog’s nose to the tip of the tail.
  1. Measure width: For the width, you must measure the widest part of the dog’s body. This is usually the withers. The withers is the top point of the shoulders. To measure this, simply take the measuring tape from one side to the other. 

Measuring your dog is a fairly simple process and shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes. Just make sure you have enough peanut butter!

Measurement Table

If you want to make sure that you measured your dog correctly, or you don’t have the time to do so, refer to this table sizing guideline. Here, we have divided dogs into categories based on weight, and we have listed the recommended doghouse size for each category.

This is especially useful if you are buying a ready-made dog house & you want to make sure that it can comfortably fit your pooch. Or, if you are choosing one of the best doghouse plans for your construction & need to ensure that it’s suitable for your pet.

Dog Category

Dog Category

Dog Category

Dog Category

Dog Category

Dog Category

Weight Limit

Weight Limit

Weight Limit

Weight Limit

Weight Limit

Weight Limit

Example Breeds

Example Breeds

Example Breeds

Example Breeds

Example Breeds

Example Breeds

Average Height

Average Height

Average Height

Average Height

Average Height

Average Height

Average Length

Average Length

Average Length

Average Length

Average Length

Average Length

Doghouse height

Doghouse height

Doghouse height

Doghouse height

Doghouse height

Doghouse height

Doghouse length

Doghouse length

Doghouse length

Doghouse length

Doghouse length

Doghouse length

Doghouse Doorway Height

Doghouse Doorway Height

Doghouse Doorway Height

Doghouse Doorway Height

Doghouse Doorway Height

Doghouse Doorway Height

Extra Small

<10 Pounds

Chihuahua, Bichon Frisé

12 inches

20 inches

20 inches

40 inches

9 inches

Small

10-20 pounds

Havanese, King Charles Spaniel

13 inches

25 inches

24 inches

52 inches

10 inches

Medium

20-40 pounds

Cocker Spaniel, Bulldog

15 inches

26 inches

26 inches

52 inches

11 inches

Large

40-60 pounds

Portuguese Water Dogs, Pointers

21 inches

42 inches

30 inches

80 inches

16 inches

Extra Large

60-80 pounds

Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever

26 inches

50 inches

36 inches

100 inches

20 inches

Extra-extra-large

80+ pounds

Rottweilers, Bernese Mountain Dogs

34 inches

53 inches

45 inches

110 inches

26 inches

Dog House Sizing Guide

If you follow these guidelines, you will likely have a perfectly-sized dog house. However, this may run a bit big for more lazy dogs. So, we recommend shaving off a few inches for dogs who only like to sleep in their dog houses.

If you have a dog that likes to play sentinel in his dog house & watch guard over the backyard, then follow these suggested dimensions.

We definitely recommend sizing down by a few inches in the colder climates. This will make the insulation much more functional and will keep the house warm even in severe winters. 

If you want the best of both worlds, you can make a larger size house for the summer. When the warmer weather disappears, you can take old fabric or carpet and stuff it into one side of the dog house. This reduces the size & also makes it much more insulated.

Alternatively, you can also drill another wooden panel in the dog house to block off a bit of the extra space. However, this is a more time-consuming option that requires carpentry skills. 

What if I have a mixed breed?

If you have a mixed breed, please disregard the breed category in the table above. Mixed breeds are unique because the size of the dog can vary widely based on its genetic makeup. 

If you have a mixed breed & you are trying to find the right house dimensions, use your dog’s measurements rather than breed information. This will give you a much more one-of-a-kind dog house design.

Final Thoughts

Your dog will absolutely adore a custom-built doghouse. Just like we daydream about coming back to our cozy homes after a long day of work, doggies also consider their pet shelter as their actual house, a safe haven & a private retreat. 

Thus, it’s our job as pet owners to make this space as inviting as possible. To do so, we must choose the right dimensions. You need to consider factors like your dog’s breed, energy level, and measurements. 

You have to ensure that you are measuring your furry friend properly. Then, choose a dog house size that is big, but not too big. You should aim for the shelter to be big enough for your dog to turn around, but not too big to start freezing in the winter. 

Striking this balance can be hard, so feel free to refer to the handy measurement table we have provided above!

If you found this article entertaining & informative, please share it with your friends. If you’ve got anything to add, leave a comment down below. Thanks for reading!

Meet our writer

Anoushka’s love for animals began with taking care of the cows & chickens on her family farm. As she grew older, this love transformed into a love for dogs. She volunteers in a dog shelter, so she is well-versed in the care and comfort of all breeds of dogs.

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