Kennel Club: The Alabama House features pillars, lattice windows and a porch
For most dogs, a kennel used to comprise a few planks of wood held together with rusty nails to form a rather rudimentary shelter from the wind and rain.
But now besotted owners are lavishing up to £3,000 on designer homes for their pets – from a Bauhaus-inspired cube-shaped structure to a pink castle complete with turrets.
The pet palaces are the latest ‘must-have’ accessories for spoilt dogs, many of whom already enjoy gourmet food, diamond-studded collars and massages.
The kennels have been created by Doria Keppler and Andre Heinermann, whose company, Best Friend’s Home, is based near the German city of Dusseldorf.
Living it up: The pink castle is one of the kennels offered by Best Friend's Home
The firm says it caters for all tastes. While a small dog such as a chihuahua might feel comfortable in the pink castle, the owners of larger, more imposing breeds may consider the Alabama house – with its pillars, lattice windows, elegant canopy and porch – is far more desirable. The company has also come up with a Swedish-style house called Lonneberga, which the designers say inspires a peaceful atmosphere and ‘holiday mood’.
And of their modernist Cubix, the couple say they have created a space with lots of light and clean lines, and they are particularly proud of the apparently floating roof.
Ms Keppler said: ‘The design of these luxurious mansions complies with exceedingly high standards: classic architectural style, clear form and colours with great attention to detail and a most accurate finish.’
Top dog: The Cubix kennel has a contemporary feel for canines with a modern flare
Despite the extravagant price tags – the wooden kennels range from £1,400 to £3,000 – furnishing the interiors is left to the dog owners themselves.
'We just provide the structure of the house and leave it to the owners to choose the blankets, beds, bowls and toys for their pets,’ said Ms Keppler.
She and Mr Heinermann wanted to create their range because they believe a kennel should add beauty to a garden. They were unimpressed by standard structures, which can be bought from pet shops and DIY stores in Britain for as little as £35.
The couple are now working with an architect to come up with new ideas to expand their choice.
Although they would not disclose the number of models they have sold around the world, they say that most interest has come from Britain and Germany, which also enjoys a reputation for being a nation of dog-lovers.