Houses: Dog-trot

Common in the southern United States, the dog-trot house—both one-and-a-half and two stories in height—consists of a log room on either side of a central open breezeway. Of the 296 houses investigated, Warren found seven that “approximated” this plan. Because these seven have enclosed central halls rather than open central breezeways, he is unwilling to claim these houses as true dog-trots. See I-House link.

"I do not, however, believe that it is appropriate to call these Indiana buildings dog-trot houses, even though the term has a pleasant quaint aura about it. Superficially they resemble the dog-trot house in that, on the ground floor, there are two log rooms separated from one another by about six feet. When it is borne in mind that most Indiana log houses were covered with siding from the time they were built, it will be realized that we actually have a large two-room house with a central hallway. It is only when the siding has fallen off or been taken off such a house that it resembles a dog-trot house.

In these houses there are fireplaces in the exterior end walls, and each room has windows in the long walls, but there is only one doorway in the long walls. One entered the house via the hallway and doors to the two rooms opened off the hall. The staircase to the second floor is also normally in the hallway. In other words, there is little difference in floor plan between these large log homes and large frame or masonry houses of the same era. With siding covering the whole house, the casual observer would mistake it for a large and impressive frame house. It is probably safe to say, too, that this is the way the builders of the house wanted it to be. They may not have wanted passers-by to think that they lived in a 'log cabin,' but they probably wanted the strength, solidity, and superb insulation of log construction."

Warren Roberts, Log Buildings of Southern Indiana, 1996, 143-44