What is BowWow Haus London?

BowWow Haus London will be the first-ever public exhibit and auction of artistic dog kennels in Britain. Over 70 unique creations will be designed and created by a host of architects, artists and celebrities, some of which will be very well known! The kennels will be publicly displayed in London, before being auctioned off at an exciting charity fundraising event in May.

The BowWow Haus London Schools Competition, design your own little BowWow Haus

We would like to invite your students to become the latest recruits of the BowWow Haus London project and design their very own fantastical dog playhouse. Their imaginations should run wild when choosing a creative theme to base their playhouse on and they should aim to design something that any dog would be happy to sleep, eat and play in when they spend time outside.

The winning playhouse will be built by a professional woodworker and displayed alongside the professional creations in April/May 2018 somewhere special in London for the public to see. The design will then be rehomed to one of Blue Cross’s centres for dogs of all shapes and sizes to find confidence and experience play time in before they find their forever homes.

The closing date for signing your school up is 5pm on Monday 15 January 2018. Schools can enter from anywhere in England.

Lesson Plans

The competition is a chance to introduce pupils to how dogs would like to be looked after and give them a chance to think about things from a dog’s point of view.

We have devised lesson plans for the below groups which all fit in with the current curriculum, and will help turn this into a valuable learning experience. 

The lesson plans are for you to use as a guide and inspiration. Please note these plans do not have to be followed, but are provided as food for thought.

BowWow Haus: Russian For Fish

Competition guidelines

  • There is no specific theme for the playhouse; the students are asked to let their imagination run wild and to think about the perfect environment for a dog, where would they want to play, sleep and eat, and get creative with it!
  • Size: The design must not exceed 1 x 1 x 1 metres and 180kg
  • Originality: The judges are particularly looking for an eye-catching design that shows originality and creativity
  • Safety: The design should be safe for dogs of all sizes as well as their human carers (of all ages)
  • Sustainability: The designer should suggest materials that are environmentally friendly 
  • Function: The design should be practical and functional, as well as showing creative flair
  • Interactive: The design should encourage interaction between pets and their owners
  • Flexibility: The design should allow for a range of different activities for dogs, such as sleeping, eating and drinking and playing with their owners and friends. 
  • Please provide a title for the kennel (five words maximum)
  • Please provide an explanation of the inspiration behind the design in no more than 100 words
  • The playhouse can be designed using any materials

Who can take part?

  • The competition is open to all students attending your school between the ages of 5 – 11 (Key Stages 1 and 2)
  • One entry per student can be submitted

What to do next?

Please let us know your school plans to take part in this competition by emailing [email protected] and stating the school’s name, the classes that will be taking part and the associated teachers. The deadline for signing your school up is 5pm on Monday 8 January 2018.

Using the lesson plan provided please run a class around animal education and welfare, teaching the children about how to care for their pets, how to think from a dog’s point of view and keep them healthy and happy. After the lesson the children will understand about what a dog might need in a playhouse so they can use this for their competition design entry.

Sending your entry

There are two formats for submitting the design entries: in digital format or as hard copy.

On the reverse of the A4 sheet (paper/hard copy submission) or in the email (digital submission) please clearly indicate:

  • The entrant or team leader’s name, age and class
  • The name of the teacher in charge
  • The name and telephone number of your school
  • The title of the kennel design (five words maximum)
  • The inspiration behind the design (100 words maximum)

Digital entries

Please send your high-resolution (between 0.5-2MB) scans of the kennel designs to: [email protected]

The subject line of your entry should mention ‘BowWow Haus London Competition 2018’. Please note that you can only send one entry per student, so your entry cannot be cancelled and replaced later on with another design.

Hard copy/paper entries

Please send any hard copy submissions to:

Blue Cross Competition
2nd Floor
15 Bermondsey Square

Closing date

Entries must be submitted by no later than 5pm on Wednesday 7 February 2018.

The Prize

The designs from your school will be judged by a panel of judges, including Hannah Mansell who will be building the winning design, a trusted vet and a Blue Cross representative who will be looking at the designs from an animal welfare point of view.

The key stages will be judged with different criteria for 5-7 year olds (years 1 and 2), 7-9 year olds (years 3 and 4) and 9-11 year olds (years 5 and 6) to ensure the marking process is fair to all ages.

The judges will shortlist all of the entries down to 10 designs which will be looked at in more detail. We will then announce three runners up and one overall winner. We will contact you if a design from your school has been either shortlisted, one of the runners up or the winner.

The overall winner will see their kennel get built and displayed alongside a number of other professionally designed kennels, some designed by famous celebrities! The winner will also receive a mini replica of the kennel they have designed, which will also be made by Hannah.

Please note, depending on media interest, Blue Cross may be asked to send some examples of the winning and runners up entries to newspapers with the name, age and school of the designer. The overall winner will also be asked to be photographed for the press and potentially interviewed.

By entering in to the competition, you agree to being involved in all media activity specified above. We will contact you in advance to seek your permission if any media request interviews with the winning student/class.

Who is building the winning entry?

Hannah Mansell - little BowWow judge

Hannah has always been a really hands on, artistic and creative person, who loves making things from wood. She was initially trained in furniture design and manufacture, alongside completing a traditional cabinetmaking apprenticeship.

Since leaving university she has worked in cabinetmaking and joinery businesses of all sizes making everything in wood, from the sublime to the ridiculous! She is obsessed with timber, a truly magic material, both to work with and to live with.

To develop technically she completed a Masters degree in Design Engineering and has worked with both large and small timber joinery and furniture manufacturers in product development and R&D, process engineering, continuous improvement and production management.

Hannah currently works for the British Woodworking Federation as their Technical Liaison Manager, dealing on a daily basis with technical queries and regulations from members and the public. She also runs her own business, specialising in the completely one off design and manufacture of bespoke fine furniture and art.


Blue Cross offers a national programme of free talks teaching the importance of responsible pet ownership to children aged 3-12. Our talks are not a fundraising initiative but are part of our programme of information, education and investment for the future of animal welfare.

Book an education talk for your school.

Everyone in the Blue Cross wishes all competing schools the best of luck and we can’t wait to see all of your designs!

Competition terms and conditions

— Page last updated 4/01/2018