Easy Mutt Mansion

A low-cost, high-quaility, do-it-yourself doghouse fit for a canine king.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Mutt Mansion Improvements
Over the years, readers have made improvements to the plans in order to modify it for their dogs comfort.

This doghouse was designed to be inexpensive and easy to build, so that dogs wouldn't have to suffer through winter in a box with one end open to the wind. The plans were first published in Outdoor Life back in 1983. Over the years I've mailed out thousands of copies, some to readers younger than the plans themselves. The time seems right to publish them again.

[BRACKET "1"] BUILD FRAMES Begin your doghouse by cutting the pieces out of two 4-by-8-foot sheets of ½-inch CDX plywood sheathing. More expensive plywood can be used, of course, but CDX is adequate if you keep the house painted. Cut and assemble two 24-by-42-inch frames from treated two-by-fours, safe here because the dog can't chew them. Drive in two 10d nails at each corner to hold the frames together. Fasten the plywood floor and porch pieces onto their respective frames with 6d nails spaced 6 inches apart.

[BRACKET "2"] ASSEMBLE UPPER FRAME Next, from a two-by-two, cut and assemble the 24-by-42-inch upper frame. Use just one 10d nail at each corner. That will allow you to adjust the upper frame to accommodate the sloping roof angle.

[BRACKET "3"] FASTEN THE WALLS Place this upper frame and the already assembled floor on their sides and fasten the back wall of the doghouse to them with 6d nails. Turn the assembly upside down and nail the front of the doghouse in place. Nail on the two sides, which will overlap the front and the back edges of the doghouse.

[BRACKET "4"] POSITION THE CORNERS Because of warp or cutting error, the corner two-by-twos may not be the exact dimensions indicated on the assembly plan, so measure and cut each two-by-two separately. Slide the two-by-twos in their places between the upper frame and the floor. Drive one 6d nail through the upper frame into each corner two-by-two. Toenail the two-by-twos at the bottom and finally hammer 6d nails through the plywood walls into the corner posts. If draft-allowing gaps are unavoidable, caulk them.

[BRACKET "5"] ADJUST FOR DOG SIZE The slots that will hold the insert wall are formed by two-by-twos. Again, for an accurate fit, measure from the floor of the doghouse to the top of the upper frame and cut the two-by-twos to fit. Position the two-by-twos according to dog size-very near the outside entrance for large dogs, in the middle for beagles. Leave a 5/8-inch gap between each pair of two-by-twos to accommodate the insert wall, nail the two-by-twos to the inside of the top frame and then nail up through the floor.

[BRACKET "6"] PREVENT CHEWING These two-by-twos jut out 2 inches from the wall, which may encourage some dogs to chew. Cover those gaps with 3-inch-wide strips of plywood 177/8 and 197/8 inches long. If your dog is a chewer, trim both sides of the outside entrance with 1-by-2-inch oak or sheet metal. Because oak and metal are difficult to nail, drill holes first.

[BRACKET "7"] BUILD THE ROOF COLLAR The roof will fit like a cap so you can easily remove it to clean the house. For proper fit, measure the 1-by-4-inch roof collar dimensions separately along the upper edges of the front and back. Add 2¼ inches so these one-by-fours will overlap the side one-by-fours. Get the dimensions for the side pieces by holding the front and back one-by-fours in place against the doghouse and marking in order to get the proper angles at both ends. Add ½ inch to each side piece so the roof is loose enough to get on and off easily.

Nail the collar together and slip it over thee doghouse. Have someone hold it in place while you position the plywood roof piece over the collar and nail. A screen door hook attached to each side piece of the roof collar will hold the roof in place.

[BRACKET "8"] ADD A PORCH Set the porch in front of the doghouse so your dog can be off the wet ground and yet outside whenever he or she likes. Paint the outside only. Breath moisture will condense on inside paint during cold weather.

[BRACKET "9"] OPTIONAL TOUCH A Scott spring-loaded door over the entrance is a nice addition. (From $15; 800-966-3647; scottsdog.com) For ideas from readers about other improvements, go to our Hunting Dogs section.