Friday, September 9, 2011

What is a Dog Trot House, and why are we building one?

Here is a lovely example of an old Dog Trot House! 
The Ruston Daily Leader
As you can see, it is basically two separate structures linked by a shared roof which creates a breezeway.  Sometimes called Dog Run Houses, Possum Trot Houses, or Saddle Bag Houses, these structures were a common style across the southern states during the 1700's and 1800's.

One side of the home was a cooking and living space, and the other side provided sleeping quarters.  In between was a clever natural air-conditioning element, shady and situated to catch the breezes.

 Naturally the family dogs quickly caught on to the benefits of the design, although I picture them napping rather than trotting.  I'm not sure how possums figure into the story, but I have no doubt that our dog, Beau, will be a happy dog trot napper.

The dog trot was one of the first regional elements to catch our attention as we started to collect ideas for a Texas style house.  We love the historical reference.  And we appreciate that the design is mindful of our weather conditions (hot) just as surely as a steep-pitched chalet roof in Switzerland reflects the fact that there will be snow in those mountains.

There are many wonderful examples of Dog Trot Houses still to be seen across the south (often sought after by those interested in owning and restoring a piece of our history).  In Texas, The National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock has a restored Dog Trot, and so does The Washington on the Brazos State Park.

I have photos of old and modern dog trot house on my Pinterest site.
Here is the link:

And here are some other sites to explore: Brazos/WashingtonOnThe BrazosStatePark.htm

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