Custom dog houses are very useful if you have particular pet needs -- for example, if you want a duplex because you've got two dogs -- or if you don't want your pooch to have just another doggie McMansion.
If you are looking for a unique dog house, you can always build one yourself from scratch. Of course, this type of building requires the most work -- you have to know carpentry in order to draw up plans, select all of the building materials, cut them to fit and then assemble the entire thing. It's the most work, but then you can be sure no one has a dog house quite like yours. You can also contract personal builders who will build a dog house to your specifications.
Most custom dog houses, however, actually work similarly to the dog kits discussed on the previous page. In general, you can select and slightly modify the design you like based on what the company has. You can then choose from different options to create a customized exterior [source: America's Pet Store]. Sometimes they can even match your own house. Custom houses such as these will usually come ready to assemble, with all of the cut materials and hardware provided. The higher-end custom dog houses can come already assembled, delivered to you via truck.
If you're starting from scratch or using a custom kit that allows you to choose your materials, you'll want to know exactly what works and what doesn't. "Lightweight" can sound good, but it might not be sturdy enough to hold up to your dog, especially if it is a chewer. Read on to discover the ins and outs of dog house materials.