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DOG-RUN HOUSES

DOG-RUN HOUSES. The dog-run, dog-trot, or double log cabin was a common type of house in Texas at the middle of the nineteenth century. The building consisted of two cabins separated by a ten or fifteen foot passageway, with a continuous gabled roof covering both cabins and the passageway between them, or dog-run. Often a porch was built to extend across the entire front of the house, and lean-to shed rooms were constructed at the rear of each cabin for additional space. The walls were made of horizontally laid hand-hewn logs, with the openings between the logs chinked with sticks and clay. Later examples were often frame rather than logs. The floors were of either dirt, sawed boards, or split logs with the flat side up. There were few windows in frontier cabins, and glass windows were rarely seen in pioneer times. Each cabin had a door opening onto the dog-run. Doors and shutters were hung on rawhide or wooden hinges. The roofs were made of overlapping oak clapboards held in place by weight poles. The chimney was constructed of sticks and a clay mixture, and the hearth was made of smooth rocks. Later dog-run houses often had fine brick chimneys and shingled roofs. The purpose of the dog-run was to cool the house by providing shade and catching the breeze. The space served as a catch-all for farm and household articles and was the favorite sleeping place of the dogs. The structure was used on the frontier from Alabama to Ontario and has European antecedents.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Louise Cezeaux, Social Life in the Republic of Texas, 1836–1845 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1933). Herbert P. Gambrell and Lewis W. Newton, A Social and Political History of Texas (Dallas: Southwest Press, 1932). Terry G. Jordan, American Log Buildings: An Old World Heritage (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985). Terry G. Jordan, Log Cabin Village: A History and Guide (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1980). Terry G. Jordan, Texas Log Buildings: A Folk Architecture (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1978).

W. W. White

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

W. W. White, "DOG-RUN HOUSES," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/cfd01), accessed April 18, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.