Frequently Asked Questions

Who designed these blueprints, and why?

David KeyDavid Key is our designer. David has designed and built kennels, catteries, stables, small animal housing and veterinary hospital facilities over the last 30 years in his role at the Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity (UK).

Construction is an expensive business. Design mistakes can ruin and destroy a lifelong dream, whether this is your first kennels build or not. Working within a charity and the animal welfare sector, it is so demoralising for David when he sees mistakes being made when they could so easily have been avoided at the design stage.


Due to this indepth knowledge, David is continually asked to assist architects and animal welfare charities to provide design input to help avoid expensive mistakes.


Kennel Design by David KeyDavid's original notes for other animal charities evolved into the Kennel Design book, often referred to by kennel owners as their 'bible'.

It is used by:

  • Universities / colleges as a text book 
  • National & international animal welfare charities
  • Rescues
  • Vets
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Surveyors
  • Kennel Owners of Boarding, breeding, grooming kennels
  • Environmental Health Officers
  • Licensing Officers & Dog Wardens
  • Police, Customs & Defence.


Following the success of his book, David has often been asked for 'off the shelf' blueprints by many rescues, shelters & boarding kennel owners. In answer, he created these generic blueprints which are suitable for rescue, boarding/commercial, working dog or professional breeding kennels. He also occasionally accepts bespoke requests.

These designs are a culmination of 30 years of practical animal welfare design experience. His mission is to provide a complete set of detailed, expert plans, to a high standard, whilst keeping costs balanced and reasonable (neither basic nor extravagant).

How do they save me time & money?

You will save £2,000-£20,000 ($2,000-$40,000) which is what our customers have been quoted on architects fees, as you don't have to pay for them to learn about kennel design. You'll have the reassurance that your blueprints are from a kennel design expert who knows what the design issues and problems are for kennel buildings and helps you avoid them.

Are they good for a start-up kennel?

Yes, perfect! The plans are entirely suitable for a startup kennel, just the right size to make a great income and repay the cost of building. A startup kennel would also help prove the business 'viability' should you be applying for finance or grants - or wish to expand in the future.

For most of our commercial customers this is their very first kennel build.

Do they conform to required standards?

Our designs are a far higher standard than the legal requirements in the UK and far higher than any legal requirements we have seen in any other country, including the USA and Canada.

Please visit our Kennel Legislation page to check the requirements for your country/region. Although some states & counties list information on their websites, often they only provide this at a more local level. So, if your area isn't listed on this page you can at least find out your local authority's website/contact details online.

Ontario in Canada is a special case - you will require a local architect to 'sign off' the plans to satisfy local building codes.

Will I still need an Architect/ Surveyor/ Structural Engineer?

Most of our customers don't, they use their builder to project manage using our designs and specification.

However, the answer depends on who is running the project (you, a project manager, architect, or your building contractor), how much time you have to contribute (e.g sourcing materials), and your knowledge of local building contractors.

Difficult site conditions: (especially sloping ground) may have an effect on the build cost and this may need to be adjusted on site.

Planning Consultants: It's always useful to have someone who knows their way around the local planning authority, has knowledge of suitable local building contractors & can ensure that the building is constructed to the required specification. The small fee involved will be more than offset by ensuring the building is constructed to the required standard and suitable timescale.

Ontario in Canada is a special case - you will require a local architect to alter the plans and building specification.

What materials do you suggest for the basic building?

The basic building materials we suggest are concrete blockwork and insulated steel sheet or tiles for the roof, mainly because these are cost effective and widely used.

However, you can build with poured concrete, stone, bricks, roof tiles etc depending on your budget, personal preferences & local authority requirements.

Our Building Specification (see blueprints pages) will assist your builder with choice of materials.

How much will the kennels cost to build?

This depends on which country you live in and the local builders' pricing and materials costs, the size of the contractor's business and whether you will contribute any time on research, sourcing materials, project managing or building yourself.

We do provide precise quotation documents for you to give your builder in our specifications.

We also provide approximate UK & USA build costs per square metre/foot in our Kennels Finance Course with examples.

How do I work out what my income will be?

This is something you will need to work out for yourself, as it will vary depending on country, affluency of the area, proximity to large towns or cities, standard you build to, how many kennels and sizes and other factors.

If you would like our help with this, our Kennels Finance Course is the ideal tool to help you work out income, based on what other dog hotels/ kennels are doing, the standard and services you offer, and your location.

What if I haven't got a property or land yet?

It all depends on your situation.

Some customers buy our blueprints before they have bought their land to:

  • Discuss requirements & costings with the builder.
  • Discuss the proposal with planning/zoning.
  • Have everything ready to apply for planning/ zoning once they have found their property.
  • But mostly, it is because customers are in the process of purchasing, or looking for property and are committed to making this lifestyle & career change happen.

If you are still looking for the right property, we have a Property Audit in our Starting Kennels Course, which will help you in your search and outlines the sort of things you should be looking for and checking with any potential plot or existing business.

How long will it take to build 20 kennels?

This is down to the actual building contractor, weather and ground conditions - but for a medium-sized, organised company with both the financial & manpower resources to handle the project - this should take around 20 weeks.


Do you have questions about our blueprints/plans?

If you need help or have questions, please just contact us as sometimes it can be helpful to talk it through. We want to make absolutely sure you get the right option for your situation and aspirations.

For more information

1. Frequently asked questions
2. Which option do I choose?
3. Printed paper copy sizes


David Key Design or alterations,
bespoke or consultancy?

Please contact David Key

Kay Choosing or buying?

Please contact Kay at