A Tour of the Leerburg Kennel Facility
This page has 2 purposes. It
will allow people to take a quick tour through my breeding facility. It
is also intended to help new dog breeders learn from the mistakes I made
in building this kennel. No one will ever build the perfect dog kennel,
but maybe with a few ideas from this web site your can get some good ideas
and learn from my mistakes.
View from a Helicopter
The kennel sits on 38 acres. The acreage is on a hill
that is the third highest point in our county. This results in a constant
breeze to reduce bugs.The exercise yards are on the side of a hill which
results in good drainage after a rain and increases
conditioning for the dog.
The 9 squares behind the kennel are 60' x 40' dog yards
with a 20 ft. space in-between. The 20 ft. spacing is filled with pine
trees so the dogs cannot see each other. All of the dog yards have shaded
dog houses and since this photo was taken there are shrubs and trees in
There are 8 puppy yards on the end of the kennel.
Each kennel is 20' x 32.' The puppy area is surrounded by hedges to provide
shade and privacy for the mothers and their litters.
View from the Back
This is the view looking west
(up the valley) from the back of the kennel. We have 13 indoor outdoor
runs with a roof over to keep them dry. In the summer we have a
constant breeze, in the winter we freeze our bottoms off. There is good
and bad with being up so high. When there is a quiet breeze in town, we
have gale force winds on the hill. It can be a test of your will when
it's 30 below zero and blowing 40 MPH in the winter.
This photo shows some good and bad points of the facility.
While I covered the dog runs I did not cover the side walk in front of
the runs. Had I to do it over, the roof would have extended over the
whole side walk. I would have put concrete footings and a 2 or 3 foot
wall on the right side of the side walk. In the winter I would have portable
wall panels that would have sat on top of the wall so the entire run
area could have been enclosed. The dog runs face south - I would have
double panel glass windows into the removable panels so that solar energy
could have been used to heat the runs on sunny days.
Notice the shade from the Lilac hedge on the right
side. I have 2 different rows of lilac hedges (30 feet apart) between
runs and the outside dog yards. This eliminates the dogs in the runs
from seeing the dogs in the yards, which means less barking. I am a big
in using landscaping to control barking. Hedges and trees go a long way
toward cutting down on sound problems. They not only absorb sound they
act as walls - when the dogs can't see one another through trees and
hedges they bark a lot less and run the fence a lot less. I also believe
dogs themselves like it better - they certainly are calmer.
The photo shows the lilacs when they were just 2 years old. I buy them
bare rooted from the local nursery for about $6.00 per plant. That way
I know they will grow in our cold winter climate. The second row of lilacs
is just to the right of this photo.
40 X 60 Foot Pens
I prefer keeping the dogs in these 40X60 foot pens.
I have 9 of them. The pens are built on a side hill with natural drainage
to the back of the pen. You can see the dog standing in the yard and the
dog house and grooming table in each pen.
The dogs can not see each other through these alleys. Every May and June
we fertilize each pine tree with the highest level of nitrogen fertilizer
I can buy. This results in a 2 foot per year growth of the trees.
This photo demonstrates the shade trees in the yards. This is something
I should have done the first day I built the dog yards. This tree is only
3 years old. I have planted fast growing poplars in every yard. If I had
it to do over I would have 3 or 4 in each yard. The mid summer sun is
very hot - these trees are great for the dogs.
Initially you will have to build wire enclosure around
the trees to stop the dogs from digging them up and to stop the males
from killing them by peeing on them. You can see one of the wire mesh
cages around the small 3 ft. tree on the left. I found I had to use welded
wire and not chicken wire. The dogs go through chicken wire. There are
several first year trees in this yard along with the 3 year old tree.
The back of each yard has a hedge of "high bush
cranberry s". These are great for shade and the birds love the berry
s in the winter. My neighbor raised labs and horses, the hedge helps block
the view and stop the barking (at least cut down on the barking) when
he rides the horses or walks his dogs on the hillside abutting my land.
Outside Kennel Runs
Good and Bad Points
There are a number of problems with my dog runs. The
runs are 6' X 12' with 4 ' block walls in between each run. The runs
have a 1 " slope (this is not enough). I should have had the outside
block walls be 6" tall (like the inside of the kennel). The slope
of the runs should be 3" to 4" back to front in 10' length.
The drain trough was supposed to be outside the dog run.
The first mistake I made was having a friend pour the
concrete. DO NOT DO THIS !!! When mistakes are made by friends you are
more likely to accept the mistake. I should not have. If an outside contractor
is used and he makes a mistake you will be more likely to insist on him
fixing the mistake. In this case the concrete was poured when I was out
of town. I had asked for a 4" slope and got 1" that does not
drain properly. Contractors do not understand dog runs, we want the water
to run off quickly. It makes cleaning easier and quicker. The more the
run off the quicker they dry. I had asked for the drain trough to be outside
the pens and they are inside. Make your contractor sign and initial this
part of your agreement. Do not leave it to a verbal agreement.
While the runs on the back of the building have 4' walls
the runs on the front have 2 block high walls. This limits the dogs that
can be kept side by side (fence fighting is a pain). A 6' wall is the
best. The roof does not sit on top of the walls so there is plenty of
fresh air to circulate for ventilation.
This photo shows the welded steel bars I have for some
of the dog runs. I like these better than chain link. Some dogs that I
get in hate kennels, they will rip at chain link but leave these bars
alone. These are expensive to make but last a long time and look nice
when spray painted back.
I also use these large stainless steel buckets. They
are fastened to the wall with clips. They are easy to disinfect and the
dogs can not chew them up. They last forever vs. rubber or galvanized
bucket. They are not cheap.
The kennel building faces north and south - the west
end of the building has runs exposed to the west. In July and August these
runs will almost bake a dog in late afternoon. I planted lilac bushes
to offer late afternoon shade for these dog runs. I should have done this
the first year I built the kennel - I did not. The taller ones at the
rear are 4 or 5 years old, the younger bushes to the front are 3 years
old. I have put up white ply wood for shade until the smaller lilacs grow
Using shrubs to naturally cool and shade your facility
is a long term project but much better looking and in the long run cheaper.
The thing with this approach is that you need to get going and do it on
day one, then fertilize with high nitrogen fertilizer in mid-May and Mid-June.