When building a dog kennel, take into account the weather in the region, the type and age of the dog it will house and the budget available. This will provide a guideline on how the kennel can be laid out for the best use of the space and comfort of your dog. Every kennel needs a sheltered, indoor sleeping area, an exercise area and a section where the dog can do its elimination without contaminating the rest of the kennel.
Indoor Sleeping Area
Locate the sleeping quarters at the farthest end of the kennel from your house, and position the doghouse so that the entrance faces away from the wind and rain. For an unheated sleeping area, the space should be just large enough for the dog to stand up in lie down and stretch out. Sleeping quarters warmed by heating pads on the floor can be bigger. Separate the bedding section from the entrance by a divider or passageway.
Outdoor Relaxation Area
If you live in a warm climate, locate the kennel in a shady part of your yard where the dog can lie outside and be protected from the summer sun. In colder regions, make sure that part of the outdoor area gets some sunlight in winter so that the dog is not forced to spend its time indoors to keep warm. Plan an outdoor relaxation area in a shady spot where the dog can lie during the day. This should be located closest to your house in a position where the dog can see what is happening.
A large, energetic dog needs as much space as possible for the exercise area, so plan the kennel to accommodate the animal's needs by giving it an uninterrupted stretch to run along. This can be to the front of the acreage, so the dog can move up and down the length watching your house or the street. A big dog that is less energetic, such as a Great Dane or an older dog, needs less space to move around, and you can use a greater portion of the space for relaxation purposes.
Create a feeding station that is accessible from outside so that you can insert and retrieve the food bowl easily without entering the kennel. Leave a gap of a couple of inches above ground level through which you can insert a tray with food and water, or make a hatch in the kennel wire that can be opened and closed from outside for this purpose. The water station can be a gravity-fed water holder that is connected directly to the water supply, and the bowl also should be removable for cleaning without entering the kennel.
Designate a section away from the sleeping and relaxation areas where the dog can do its business. Dogs prefer not to soil areas where they sleep and eat, and a sand pit equipped with building sand mixed with cat litter will make an ideal elimination area that absorbs the odours well.