Wooden Dog House | 13 Types of Wood You Can Use

Posted by Steven Barnhart on 23rd Nov 2020

Wooden Dog House

Types of wood for building a dog house

Since there is no such thing as an “exclusive” type of wood used for building a dog house, theoretically you could build it from any type of wood you want.

However if you factor in:

The cost and availability of a particular wood.

The climate you reside in and how well the wood will stand up.

The safety of your dog, especially if they like to chew everything in sight.

You might find there are certain woods that will work out better than others for building a wooden dog house.

This is not a complete list of all woods, just the most common!

So who is this information for?

This information can be used for anyone that is searching for a new dog house or someone that wants to build their own.

If you are trying to figure out which wooden dog house option is better then read about all the properties of each wood to help understand which one is better.

Hopefully this information will help either way.

Understanding the variety of woods

Most woods that are referred to as solid wood are cut into boards from the trunk of a tree.

Thank you Captain Obvious for clearly that up for us!

The type of tree will determine the beauty and durability of the finished wood piece.

There are hardwoods and softwoods and both can be used for building a wooden dog house.

The question is would you want to do it with expensive hardwoods or work with the less expensive softwoods?

Also when you are ready to take on this project will you be able to find the particular wood you are wanting to use?

The difference between a soft and hardwood

Don’t let the wood soft fool you, softwoods are not wimpy, they often come from coniferous trees like fir, pine and cedar.

The coniferous is a fast growing tree and it is popular because for the most part they will grow straight.

When you are working with lumber for construction projects straight is a good thing.

Generally speaking you can get almost all softwoods for less than a hardwood and are commonly found at home centers.

If you are considerate of our environment many of the softwoods are grown on managed forest.

The list of common softwoods that could be used to build a dog house

# 1.Western Red Cedar -

This wood is popular with woodworking professionals that need a wood for outdoor projects because of its natural properties; it will resist rotting in wet climates.

That is why a lot of outdoor decks are made with either cedar or redwood.

It is naturally resistant to insects which would be a good thing for your pet. It is common and easy to find and will not cost a lot.

Excellent choice for building a wooden dog house! Release the balloons, jump up and down! Too much? 

# 2.Fir or often called Douglas Fir –

This wood features a straight grain and is commonly used in buildings that are going to be painted because it doesn’t stain well.

The main advantage to this wood is that it is very cheap compared to other woods; it just won’t stand up to the elements unless you paint it.

Depending on your climate it may require yearly care so that it doesn’t rot too quickly.

It is also readily available at almost all home improvement stores.

# 3.Pine –

This is a very common wood that almost everyone has heard of and it is used for building almost anything, yes even doghouses.

It is used in building furniture because it is so easy to work with, also used in carving and it will stain well.

If you were to use it for building a dog house be prepared to perform routine maintenance because like firwood it will not stand up to the elements as well as other woods.

Like the fir wood it will be easy to find at almost all home centers.

# 4.Redwood

Like its buddy cedar redwood is popular for woodworking projects that are outside because it is also resistant to moisture.

It is soft and easy to work with, however it may not be readily available at your home improvement store.

If you do find it more than likely it will not be cheap as some of the other softwoods.

Cape Cod Dog House

Considering the hardwoods for a dog house project

The professional woodworkers love working with the hardwoods, they feature a variety of textures, color and really cool grain patterns.

These characteristics make them popular for fine furniture; of course the downside most of the hardwoods are very expensive.

Not to mention they may not hold up well outdoors, try leaving a piece of your fine furniture outside for a year!

Some of the hardwoods are becoming difficult to find and are being harvested without concern to their eventual extinction (Brazilian rosewood as an example).

Not only is this hard on our environment, it drives the price of the wood up so much making furniture out of it is out of the question not to mention a dog house!

Some of the hardwoods are actually illegal to use because of the overuse and damage that was done to our environment.

The list of common hardwoods that could be used to build a dog house

(but would you want to?)

Since we mentioned at the beginning theoretically you can use any wood here is a list of common hardwoods.

# 5. Ash –

This wood features a straight grain; it is easy to work with and will take stain very well. However this particular hardwood is getting hard to find.

You are not likely going to be able to waltz into your local home improvement store and find a selection of ash.

If you insist on building your dog house with ash you will need to cruise a lumber yard for a selection or may need to have it special ordered.

# 6. Birch –

There are 2 types of birch a yellow variety and a white variety. This hardwood will more than likely cost less than some other hardwoods.

You might get lucky and find a selection at your local home center, but for the best selection you may need to visit a lumber yard.

Will it hold up to the weather? Not so much!

Since it doesn’t stain very well, it will require painting to withstand the harsh elements.

# 7. Cherry –

Oh boy this wood is very popular and because of that the price has been going up and up!

It is easy to work with very pretty making it popular for fine furniture making.

More than likely you are not going to find it at your local home improvement store, so once again you are off to the lumber yard.

Because if its popularity it is far more expensive than so of the other hardwoods like maple or oak.

Gable Roof Dog House

# 8. Mahogany –

This wood is popular for furniture, it is not going to be easy to find, forget about the local home center.

This wood is not grown in sustainable forest so the environment is going to take a ding for this dog house.

Be prepared for a heavy cha-ching for this wood.

There are some wooden dog house manufacturers that will use a mahogany veneer for their interiors.

 # 9. Maple –

This is another wood that almost everyone has heard of and possibly had a maple tree in their yard growing up.

There is a soft and hard version of maple; this wood is not real expensive, however you will have to find a selection at a lumber yard.

It is not commonly found at a home improvement stores.

# 10. Oak –

Again this is a wood that most people are familiar with “the mighty oak tree” it is strong and since it is somewhat resistant to moisture it can be used outdoors.

However this is a wood that you will more than likely find when you look down because it is popular with flooring because of its beautiful grain.

Would it make a good dog house?

It is certainly strong and moisture resistant however you would probably want to paint it.

# 11. Poplar –

This is going to be the most economical of the hardwoods; however it is the ugly duckling of the hardwood family.

Would it make a good dog house? Meh…maybe for small woodworking projects.

# 12. Teak wood –

Okay this is one wood that will stare down the elements and say “is that all you have?”

Not only is it extremely weather resistant, it is also very beautiful, of course this makes it very expensive (may be as much as $24.00 a board foot)!

Teak wood is going to be extremely hard to find as well.

So unless you have a stash of teak wood lying around it would not be a good choice for building a dog house.

It would be awesome, but not practical!

#13. Walnut –

This is a tree we have all encountered at some point, much like the maple or oak tree. However it is not that easy to find actual large boards of walnut anymore so it will require a special order.

It is good to work with and if you were lucky enough to have access to some it would make a great dog house.

But it would make much more sense to use it for some fine furniture piece instead.

If a professional woodworker witnessed you making a dog house out of it they may have some harsh words for you.

Firwood Dog House

A thought about plywood

We need to mention plywood because there are many of you who may be thinking “hey buddy what about my all time go to wood plywood?”

Plywood is a common product used to build a variety of structures; however it is not part of our list because it is not an actual standalone wood.

There are no plywood trees!

Plywood can be made from softwoods, hardwoods, or a combination of the two.

Some of the common hardwoods used for plywood include ash, maple, mahogany, oak, and even teak.

The most common softwood used to make plywood in the United States is Douglas fir, although several varieties of pine, cedar, spruce, and redwood are also used.

If plywood is going to be used to construct a wooden dog house ideally it should be marine grade.

Marine grade plywood defined:

Marine plywood is manufactured from durable face and core veneers, with few defects so it performs longer in both humid and wet conditions and resists delaminating and fungal attack.

Its construction is such that it can be used in environments where it is exposed to moisture for long periods.

However marine plywood is not waterproof so it will require painting!

So there you have it softwoods and hardwoods

All of these woods like we mentioned can be used to build a dog house, but after considering all the factors there are some that will work better than others.

We talked a lot about wood but that is not the only material that can be used to build a dog house.

There are a plethora of materials that can be used which include composite wood products and a variety of plastic materials that are either from a virgin source or recycled.

Dog owners with wild imaginations have created shelters for their dogs that may or may not be considered safe and comfortable.

Dog house wood using modern technology

We would be remiss if we did not mention woods from the modern era, products that are used in exterior building and are designed to last for 30 years or more!

These are modern materials that are engineered to create amazing insulated, most weather resistant, and most comfortable dog houses.

The core of this design process is a unique U.S.-made engineered wood product with a simulated rough-sawn cedar finish. 

These engineered woods are designed for superior strength and structural integrity, as well as the highest possible level of moisture, rot, scratch, dent, and insect resistance.

A final word

Regardless what material you use to make a wooden dog house the most important consideration is that your dog is comfortable and safe!