Kelvin - the Thermokennel

A standard dog house leaves your pet out in the cold, but a new insulated kennel will keep a dry, warm home for a happier, healthier dog.


As farmers with hard-working dogs, Rosie Todhunter and her grandfather, Tony, shared a passion for animal welfare. They realised that extreme kennel temperatures could stress out a dog and reduce their productivity. Tony started to develop a more rugged kennel with insulation built-in, keeping his dogs warm through a cold winter’s night.


Product Design
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Product Development >


Rosie Todhunter


His first prototype was a simple design, upcycled from a rubber barrel with some added insulation and a door flap. Rosie presented the kennel in the Innovation Centre at the Fieldays in 2014 and won a Grassroots Merit Award.

She caught our attention as well and we started workshopping her idea in The Lab. Seeing the potential to develop a real winner, we proposed a body of work to take her prototype to the next level.

We helped refine Rosie’s design for validation and testing – and that’s where we were able to add real value, through our product design and development skills.


The new design and materials helped increase thermal capabilities, water tightness, and security while maintaining a lightweight kennel and comfortable space for a hard-working farm dog. The insulation also has the added bonus of reducing stressful noise, making it the perfect sleeping space.

The team also developed a brand and marketing plan to support the kennel alongside manufacturer Shoof at the 2015 Fieldays. The new brand, Kelvin the Thermokennel, embodies the temperature-stabilizing properties in a friendly manner to appeal to farmers and dog lovers alike. That prototype also earned Rosie a finalist placement at the 2015 Best Awards.


Following her success, Rosie took some time off to focus on growing her young family. She returned to Locus in 2017 with a new resolve to get the Thermokennel out into the world. We thought this was the perfect time to take the leap to invest in the business and established Thermokennel NZ Ltd as a company.

At this point, we had another look at the design in preparation for manufacturing; we made changes to reduce production costs, give it a more unique look, ensure it’s even more robust, and to make it even easier to install.

The front panel is removable and a lift-out floor panel allows for easy cleaning. The door opening is covered with transparent flaps, similar to those used in walk-in freezers and cool stores. They make it easy for the dog to walk in and out while minimising heat loss. A one-piece design prevents water ingress while durable and UV resistant construction ensures it’s waterproof, wind resistant, and weather tight. This final design prototype picked up the Crowe Horwath Agri-Innovation Award at the 2018 Fieldays.

We are currently raising funds for tooling so that we can begin the manufacturing process. We expect the first round of Thermokennels to be ready in early 2019. Sign up on the Thermokennel website to keep up to date with the progress and get a kennel as soon as they arrive in NZ.

“Working with Locus Research’s expertise has helped take my idea to the next level and connected me to the channels to make it a reality.”



Timothy Allan
Rosie Todhunter
Caroline Noordijk
Michael Peterson

Robin Lyttle
Michelle Power
Krissi Mills
Simon Crane


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