San Franciscans love their dogs. Do you doubt it? Consider this: A quick internet search finds 17 public dog parks within the city limits (approximately 47 square miles). By contrast, a similar search for San Jose (approximately 177 square miles) reveals only nine. In San Francisco, a dog’s life is the good life. Do you look for ways to spoil your pet? For a lasting doggie gift, why not give Max or Boomer or Roxie his or her own custom-built doghouse? Here are some tips to follow when embarking on this project.

1. Find a plan.

You can find a variety of doghouse blueprints by searching online, from simple projects a beginner could manage over a long weekend to elaborate models of human houses. But remember, your dog probably doesn’t care about the aesthetics. Your best friend just wants to be cozy and protected.

2. Size matters.

If building a doghouse for your new puppy, don’t forget he or she is going to grow. Be sure to consult your veterinarian or breeder so you can anticipate how large your full-grown pet will be. You don’t want to build a new doghouse every few months. Ideally, the doghouse should be small enough to warm up easily from your pet’s body heat. On the other hand, make sure there is enough room for the animal to stand up and turn around.

3. Lay the foundation.

In bad weather, water, dirt and snow will seep up through the floor of your dog’s castle. Avoid problems by raising the floor a few inches off of the ground.

4. Take the temperature.

If it is very cold, you may want to build both inner and outer walls, with insulation in between. On the other hand, for warm weather, consider cutting a window as well as a door to allow for ventilation. And, of course, the color of the house will make a difference. In hot weather, a bright color will reflect the heat away from the interior.

5. The bottom line.

A basic do-it-yourself doghouse kit, with pre-cut boards and design included, will cost in the range of $120. If you have the skills and resources to work from scratch, you could spend half of that, making this project a great deal. If you hired a carpenter or handyman to do the job, you would likely spend as much as $300 to $400.

6. One last thing.

Be wary of chemicals. Start with unfinished wood, and make sure when you buy paint, varnish or other finishing materials, that you check with the store about safety. Some products could hurt your pet.

Below are a few local businesses that may be able to help you get started.

Building REsources
701 Amador St
San Francisco, CA 94124
(415) 285-7814

If you prefer to use recycled resources, this is the place to shop. Building REsources is a not-for-profit organization that builds its inventory of recycled supplies from community donations. Be warned, though, that its donation-based inventory is unpredictable and you may not find everything you need.

Cheengoo Boutique LLC
2250 Union St, Suite 1A
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 337-8481

While you’re in the mood to spoil the pooch, check out this upscale pet boutique in one of San Francisco’s most fashionable shopping districts. Your pet’s house could be as well-appointed as your boss’ Russian Hill condo. Woof! Woof!

Discount Builders Supply
1695 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 621-8511

San Franciscans have supported this locally-owned hardware store for 50 years. Discount Builders Supply has a huge inventory and a knowledgeable staff. Build your doghouse without breaking the budget with a visit here.

Related: Build Your Own Playground With Your Kids In North Bay
Related: 9 Steps To Get Your Gas Grill Ready For The Season

For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit

Charles Kruger is well known in the Bay area as “The Storming Bohemian” ever since he entered the Bay Area cultural scene in the summer of 2009, attending 90 cultural events in 90 days and blogging about it. This project was successful enough to warrant a mention in The New York Times. His work can be found at


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