Historic dogtrots can be found throughout the South. Beaufort, South Carolina, architect Jane Frederick explain the basics.
Hallmarks of the style
The layout of the dogtrot is distinguished by separate cooking and sleeping structures divided by a large, open breezeway—all under the same roof. “The dogtrot was developed by our ancestors out of necessity; they had no air-conditioning and needed a way to keep cool,” says Jane. “The layout takes advantage of the summer breezes but also goes a long way toward protecting the home from moisture damage.” Additionally, dogtrots typically have a large porch, or veranda, on the southern side of the home to protect them from sun and rain.
Why it sits so high
In coastal areas, dogtrots were raised off the ground to keep them out of the floodplain and also to allow air to circulate under the first floor, reducing the overall heat gain of the home. Additionally, ceilings were built high so the heat could rise.
How it got its name
Historically, dogs loved to sit in the central hallway, because, like their owners, they wanted to catch a break from the summer heat.