A Guide For Choosing The Right Size Dog House

Dog House Sizes

Dog house dimensions 

As the title implies this is a guide for choosing the right size dog house for your best friend.

It is not rocket science but still very important for reasons we will explain below.

You just need to use some common sense to determine what size is right for your dog, so we hope these guidelines will give you some building blocks to start.

Our goal is to get the right dog house for your dog that they can enter, turn around, lie down and exit with comfort.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words if that is the case then a video may be worth a million.

So if you would rather have a visual aid than the written word skip to the video below, coupled with the dog house chart sizing image you should be able to determine the right size doghouse.

If you browse the internet you will find a plethora of formulas for selecting the right size and there is nothing wrong with them, however you may find some variations.

If math hurts your head there are some very simple ways of determining the right size house for your dog.

Method One for dog house sizing:

The next time your dog is napping and completely spread out, tape off the area they are occupying and this will give you the overall length and width they will require.

Next measure from the bottom of their paws to the top of their head for the overall height, this will determine how high the house should be, see considering the height of the dog house below.

The final measurement would be the width of their shoulders to determine the door opening, again see choosing the right door opening size below.

Method Two for dog house sizing:

This method is for someone who has mad DIY skills; you can create a mock up of a dog house out of cardboard.

This method will give you the exact size your dog will need and you can do a test run to see if they have any issues with getting in and out.

Of course this method will not require building a floor, it is the width, overall depth and height that we are concerned about. Again we want your dog to be able to enter, turn around, lie down and exit with comfort.

If you have children this is an ideal way to make it a family project that will teach them problem solving skills and more!

Bonus… it could be fun!

I would suggest your dog help, but there is that opposing thumb thing not working in their favor.

Now let’s look at your dog breed

The first place to start when you are choosing the right size dog house is to examine your dog breed; different breeds will require different considerations.

As an example you may have seen images of a dog lying in a snow bank taking a nap, this may be true of the Siberian Husky breed, but not likely for the Great Dane or other short hair dogs.

That being said the robust breed may not require an insulated dog house with a heater in winter, however a short haired dog may require those extras to be comfortable in winter or summer.

At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious your dog’s breed will go a long way to determining dog house size.

As an example if you own a Saint Bernard, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees or other breed of the extra large size, then guess what?

Ding ding ding it is a no brainer you need an extra large dog house or even larger no measuring needed!

Dog house builders are fully aware of the requirements of the various dog breeds so you don’t have to do the guess work.

Where you will need to do some planning is if you have a dog that is somewhat between one breed and another.

Or if you have a dog that is extremely large already in the extra large category, if that is the case you may not even find an extra large dog house in the marketplace but will require a giant dog house.

I have a friend with such a dog (St. Bernard) and I gave her dimensions of a typical extra large dog house and asked if her dog would fit, she just laughed at me, enough said.

What is the climate like where you reside?

The next item of consideration is your weather, if you reside in the desert southwest your dog will not require the considerations as a dog residing in the Great Plains that experience extreme temperatures.

This is where size is really important because if the house is too big your dog will have a hard time maintaining body heat in their house during winter.

If you are lucky enough to live in a climate that is mild all year long you can get away with a house that may be a bit larger.

Examine the condition of your dog

Another consideration is the condition of your dog.

Are they (gasp) overweight? Just because your dog falls into the small to medium category if they are 10 pounds overweight it matters. 

If so then the house may need to be a bit larger to allow them to comfortably enter, turn around and lie down.

Does your dog have issues with their hips?

If so you do not want them jumping to get inside the dog house, this is where adjustable legs on the doghouse will come in handy.

You want the dog house high enough off the ground to allow circulation but not too high to create difficulty for them getting in.

Dog House Size Chart

Now onto the different measurements:

Considering the height of the dog house

This measurement will determine the overall height of the dog house; it is accomplished by measuring your dog from the ground level to the top of their head.

The interior height of the doghouse should be approximately equal to the total height of your dog.

The interior height of the house can be up to about 50% taller than the total height of your dog and still provide adequate heat retention during cold weather.

See the diagram above labeled total height.  

Considering the overall length of the dog house

For this measurement you want to start at the end of the nose and measure to the very base of the tail (do not include the length of the tail). See the diagram above labeled total length.

This measurement will determine the overall depth of your dog house.

The proper width of the dog house

This is an easy measurement because ideally it should be approximately the same measurement as the length or at least very close.

That is why almost all dog houses you see provided by builders are the same length x width.

Choosing the right door opening size

The shoulder height measurement will determine the door opening size in terms of height.

The doghouse door opening height should be equal to 75% of your dog's shoulder height.

Taking into consideration that most dogs are comfortable ducking down or dipping to gain entry.

This is due to the fact that their ancestors lived in dens in the wild that had a much smaller opening than the interior.

This was to provide protection against predators from entering the den and harming newborn pups.

The female will create a small entry, however the interior was large enough to turn around and face the opening to provide a secure home for her pups.

See the diagram above labeled shoulder height.

Considering the width of the dog house door opening

This measurement is necessary to determine the door opening from side to side, simply measure your dog at their widest point (usually the shoulders).

The width of the door opening should be at least 1 inch greater than this measurement.

See the diagram above labeled body width.

What about multiple dogs?

We can’t provide these guidelines without taking into consideration that there may be more than one dog.

If you want the dogs to share the same house and they are from the larger breeds then you will need to consider a specialty house, like a dog house kennel combination or a luxury dog house that would allow space for more than one dog.

If they are small breed dogs you could have an entire tribe live in one of these homes!

Or get an extra large dog house that would accommodate two smaller dogs.

The other consideration is to provide a dog house for each dog, if they are approximately the same size then it is easy, they each get the same size house.

A final consideration for choosing the right size dog house

If you are on the fence about which size you should get i.e. medium or large etc. it is far better to go with the larger size for these reasons:

If you are purchasing your dog house online and select the wrong size you will be required to pay shipping cost to exchange for the proper size (ouch).

Think of it this way if you were buying a new mattress would you want one that had your feet hanging over the end? Probably not, you would go with the right size for your body type.

The same is true for your dog’s house, if it is a bit larger you can always add some blankets for extra comfort.

On the other hand you don’t want it super sized because your dog will have a tough time retaining body heat during winter.

Finally if you are purchasing a dog house online the merchant should have guidelines already spelled out in their product descriptions to help you.

If ever in doubt email the merchant to pin down the right size. If a merchant values your business they will make sure you select the proper size the first time!