Brandon with his winning design

Schoolboy's dream dog house design comes to life

An imaginative schoolboy's spectacular design for the ultimate dog playhouse has been brought to life.

Brandon Toledo, 11, from Kent, was awarded the top prize in Blue Cross’s national school competition for a kennel design as part of our partnership with the first-ever public exhibition and auction of artistic dog kennels in Britain, BowWow Haus London.

The Brunswick High School pupil's inspiring ‘Mission X Dog House’ design beat over 1,750 entries to be made by British Woodworking Federation woodworker Hannah Mansell, and it will now take pride of place at our Suffolk rehoming centre for dogs to enjoy while they await forever homes.

Our panel of judges, which included Cbeebies presenter and vet Dr Jess French, was bowled over by the sophisticated design and clear consideration for a pet’s needs including space to eat, drink and relax. The creative side of the design also caught the attention of the judges thanks to a miniature balcony, storage space for toys and wheels to travel around on.

Brandon with his winning dog house design
Brandon with his winning dog house design

The competition challenged school children at Key Stage 1 and 2 to let their imaginations run wild to design their own fantastical playhouse and in turn learn the importance of compassion and responsible pet ownership as part of their everyday learning. This is an integral part of Blue Cross work

Dr Jess French said: "By creating these doggy playhouse designs, children as young as five have been learning what dogs need to keep them happy, healthy and safe. It’s never too early to start helping pet owners of the future to understand how best to look after their beloved furry friends, so as a vet, mother and dog owner, I’m delighted that Blue Cross has been raising awareness through this unique competition, I think it’s brilliant. 

The competition received more than 1,750 spectacular entries
The competition received more than 1,750 spectacular entries

"Having looked through the many amazing entries, Brandon’s Mission X stood out because it shows incredible creative ingenuity, especially from someone of such a young age. I particularly like that it has wheels so your dog can travel in comfort and style, and the miniature balcony is perfect for a puzzled Pomeranian to ponder the world from. A very worthy winner!"

Kerry Taylor, Education Manager at Blue Cross added: "We are so grateful for every school, teacher and student who took the time to enter this competition. We hope everyone found it an enjoyable experience and recognises that by taking part, you have helped us in our mission to ensure as many people as possible recognise the important welfare needs of pets across the country.”

The following students were also shortlisted by the judges for their incredible creativity and consideration for a pet’s needs:

5-7 year olds

Jessica, Rushton CE Primary School; 
Luke, Perry Court E-ACT Academy; 
Ronnie, Perry Court E-ACT Academy; 
Luciana, Deepdene Schools

8-9 year olds

Lucia, Deepdene School; 
Holly, Perry Court E-ACT Academy; 
Katherine, Brunswick House Primary School; 
Amarachi, St Joseph’s Catherine Primary School

10-11 year olds

Skye, Cokethorpe School; 
Eloise, Brunswick House Primary School; 
Leo, Brunswick House Primary School

The BowWow Haus installation and auction has been created in partnership with US based Outdoor Arts Foundation, which who hosted a BowWow Haus event in 2004 in Tampa Bay, Florida, and the UK designs will be sold at auction on Thursday, 25 April. Get your bids in early and find out more at the online showroom.

Schools can also book a free education talk to teach children key pet welfare messages and how to stay safe around dogs here.



— Page last updated 16/12/2021