How to Create A Quick and Inexpensive Whelping Box

How To Series: Creating an inexpensive Whelping Box (For about $58.00 worth of material including Beer)

By Dawghouse Bullies

Box size:

If the female you are breeding can lay comfortably on her side in a 36″ or 42″ long crate, then a 48″ square whelping box will be perfect. These directions are for a 48″ square which will easily accommodate most pocket and standard bullies.


  • Two 4×8 sheets of 1/4″ plywood
  • One 8′  1×1
  • Two 8′ pieces of 1×6
  • One box of laminate flooring.
  • (Enough to cover 16s.f.)
  • Tools:
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Spray adhesive (optional)
  • Nail gun
  • Circular saw
  • Jig saw
  • Pencil
  • Shoe lace or string
  • Beer

Step 1. The base and corner posts:

Cut one piece of 1/4″ plywood in half to give you two 4×4 pieces. One of these will be your base.

We used relatively thin plywood in order to keep weight and cost to a minimum. We have used thicker in the past and saw no benefits.

Cut the 8′ 1×1 into four 18″ pieces. These will be your 4 corner posts.

Screw or nail one 18″ 1×1 into each of the 4 corners.

Next: cover the base surface with your vinyl or linoleum flooring. Be sure to notch out the 4 corners for the 1×1 posts. Tip: if you purchase 1 foot squares you will only need 16 pieces at $0.69 a piece at Home Depot. We use the vinyl flooring so that the wood doesn’t absorb the urine and discharge.

It can be easily cleaned to keep the box sanitary. Spray adhesive is optional, the flooring tiles have adhesive backing and will stick just fine without it. We just happened to have some lying around.


Step 2. The walls:

Next cut four 48″X 18″ pieces out of your remaining plywood. It’s already 48″ wide so you’ll just have to make cuts every 18″ across.  These will be your 4 side walls. One will be the front with access door. (do not install this one yet)

Installing the Walls

Step 3 Front with Access Panel:

Front Access Panel

On the one side panels which will have the front  access door, measure across the length 1/2 way (24″) and put a temporary drew or nail in half way.  We tied a string from our temporary screw to a pencil in order to draw a semi circle which will mark our access door.

Cutting the semi circle

We then used a jig saw to cut a semi circle on the top side.

The access door can be used as needed to keep the puppies in. When the pups are first born, the panel is left off completely so that the mother can get in and out of the box very easily.

This is particularly helpful if she’s just had surgery. As the puppies get more mobile, you can drop the door to keep them inside. When the puppies are climbing out over the sides of the Whelping box it’s time to move them out.

Step 4.  The pig rails:

The purpose of the pig rails is to keep the puppy from being smashed between its mother and the side of the box. The puppy slides under the rail, and mom’s back just presses against the face of the rail. The puppies are attracted to the darkness under the pig rails. They will quickly learn that it’s safe place and spend most of their time there long before their eyes are open.

You can use 1×6 or 1×4 boards to run around the inner diameter of the box.

The height of the pig rail will vary for the size of the female. (between 5-6” off the base has seemed to work well for us)

Adding the pig rails

We cut two spacer blocks 5” tall as you can see in the photo above-and reused them under each rail to hold up them to the same height as we nailed them in.  Tip: do the two sides first, they will be the same size.  Then do the rear which will be shorter.

The Front of your whelping box

Finally the front. The front will be two small pieces the run up to the access door.



People like to use different things that they’ve have found to work well for them.


Aww Sookie Sookie Now (Sookie) Approves

We don’t keep our dogs outside, so to reduce smell, instead of wood chips we use old sheets from day one until the puppies become active.  During the first couple days while mom has discharge, we usually have a layer of old towels on top of the sheets. You may be able to get by with only a couple of changes a day… just plan on keeping the washer and dryer running. During the weaning process, Mom will lose interest in cleaning the puppies so the layer of old towels makes clean up a lot easier.

A thermometer near the box is also a very good idea. 78 to 80 degrees F is what we use for our new pups.  Watch the puppies to see what temperature they want… If they are always piled up, they are too cold. If they are always spread out, they are too warm.

All done! Finish your beer

Hope that this article helps someone build a whelping box that can save money, protect your newborn pups and makes whelping a litter just a little less stressful.


Mrs. Jacqueline over at Dawghouse Bullies is not only an excellent breeder, but she has a vast amount of knowledge on diet, health, nutrition and puppy care. We will be featuring more of her tips and articles in the future so stay tuned.. you’re not going to want to miss it!

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