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How Much Exercise Does a Border Collie Need? Vet Reviewed Requirements & Activities

Written by: Keri-Beth Clur

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

male border collie playing

How Much Exercise Does a Border Collie Need? Vet Reviewed Requirements & Activities


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Life with a Border Collie is a lot of fun, but it can also be demanding. These sheepdogs were bred to herd, and they do a good job at it, being able to herd just about anything, including family members. These dogs are incredibly clever, having broken records for being the most intelligent dog breed, as well as many others. They’re commonly used for acting roles, search and rescue missions, and in the police force.

As you can see, this sweet breed of dog has high energy levels and enjoys having a job to do. They thrive off physical and mental stimulation and, without it, can become unhappy and destructive. This breed is recommended for active people with time to spare as they require around 2 hours of exercise a day. This is a big demand, but it is manageable if you’re able to split up the exercise over the course of the day.

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Exercise Requirements According to Life Stage

Your Border Collie will have different exercise requirements as they grow up. However, each dog is different and may be content with less or more exercise than the average Border Collie. Let’s have a look at what you can expect from each life stage.

Black and white border collie puppy running on the grass playing fetch
Image Credit: kontrymphoto, Shutterstock


Border Collie puppies will benefit from a bit of exercise early on in their lives. A helpful way to gauge how much exercise your puppy will need is to walk them for 5 minutes per how many months they are. For example, a 1-month-old puppy will benefit from 5 minutes of exercise, while a 9-month-old puppy will benefit from 45 minutes of exercise per day.

Puppies have a lot of energy that needs to be released through play and a bit of exercise. It’s important not to overdo it, though, because their bodies are still developing, and over-exercising a puppy can cause issues when they’re older. Use the early months of their lives to socialize them by playing with them at dog parks or attending puppy classes.


Adult Border Collies are fully developed, and their bodies can handle more extensive exercise. This is a great stage to take your dog hiking and running with you. Because they require so much exercise, you can break it up into different activities over the course of the day. However, it’s important that you give your dog the exercise they need, both mentally and physically. Adult Border Collies require between 1–2 hours of exercise per day, but that will be dependent on your individual dog’s needs.


When your Border Collie reaches around 8 years old, they move into their final life stage and will start to slow down. Senior dogs often experience muscle loss, coat changes, and hearing loss and will sleep more. They’ll still benefit from exercise, but in moderation. Their exercise shouldn’t be intense, so walking and swimming are great options that are gentler on their joints

red border collie
Image Credit: volofin, Shutterstock

What Happens When a Border Collie Isn’t Exercised?

If you want a nuisance on your hands, don’t exercise your Border Collie! But, if you want a happy, healthy, and content dog that is well-bonded with you, give them the exercise they crave.

Border Collies aren’t disobedient dogs unless they’re unable to release their energy in healthy ways. Being locked up indoors while you’re away for hours or only receiving a quick 10-minute walk per day will cause them to put on weight, become bored, chew things they shouldn’t, dig, bark excessively, whine, become hyperactive, and show other signs of frustration.

Black and White Border Collie Playing Catch
Image Credit: Magda Ehlers, Pexels

Exercises For Your Border Collie

Your Border Collie needs more than a quick walk around the block per day. It can be one of their daily activities, but it cannot start and end there. Here are some examples of exercises you can do with your Border Collie:

  • Walking: This is a fun activity for you and your Border Collie because they’ll be able to get out of the house and experience the world around them while receiving moderate exercise. Walking is a great exercise for puppies and senior dogs because it’s gentle on their joints.
  • Running: This is a more intense exercise that Border Collies love which strengthens their muscles and increases their heart rate.
  • Swimming: Border Collies love the water and can release their energy by swimming in a river or pool or the waves at the beach.
  • Fetch: Exercise can be in the form of a game, such as fetch. It’s also a great way to teach them obedience and patience, and you won’t have to do too much work.
  • Frisbee: Border Collies love to chase and catch, so Frisbee is an excellent game for them. You can play with your dog alone or with friends and turn it into “piggy in the middle.”
  • Hiking: If you love getting outdoors and going for hikes, a Border Collie is the right kind of dog for you. They’re incredibly agile, and this type of exercise will demand much more energy from them than a walk around the block.
  • Biking: If you’re not much of a runner, you could always try biking. This will allow your dog to run beside you without outrunning you. It gives them the freedom to run as fast as they want while being safe next to you.
  • Agility Training: Border Collies love learning new tricks and are easy to train, which makes them the perfect candidate for agility training. They’ll be able to complete obstacles, release energy, and have fun at the same time.

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An adult Border Collie requires around 2 hours of exercise every day, with some requiring a bit less or more, depending on their individual needs. Their exercise requirements will change according to the life stage they’re in, with puppies and senior Border Collies needing less, gentler exercise than adult Border Collies who need vigorous exercise throughout the day.

Great exercises for your dog include swimming, walking, running, fetch, frisbee, hiking, and agility training. Exercise will keep your dog healthy and content, but without it, your dog will become bored, frustrated, and destructive.

Featured Image Credit: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

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