How Much Exercise Does A Border Collie Need?
Dog Care Tips · Dog Exercise

How Much Exercise Does A Border Collie Need?

Last Updated/Info Checked on October 18, 2023 by Linda Michaels

Border Collies have established themselves as great human companions over the years apart from their original roles as herding dogs.

They are agile, energetic, and have high endurance, making them resistant to easy fatigue.

Some breeds don’t require much exercise like English Bulldogs, Chow Chow, Shih Tzu, Chihuahuas, and Grayhounds. While others have the greatest need for daily exercise including French Bulldogs Retrievers, Spaniels, Collies, Pointers, and German Shepherds.

But exactly how much exercise does a border collie need? The answer to that varies depending on the age of the dog and can be from 5 minutes to up to 90 minutes a day. 

Also, this has many nuances to it that need to be understood and will be aptly explored in this article, so read till the end.

How Much Exercise Does A Border Collie Need? And Some Exercise Tips

There are many benefits of exercising a dog and these need to be understood in order to know the importance of exercising regularly, first, we will discuss them:

Exercise Benefits For Dogs

Here are some of them.

1. Promotes Bone and Muscle Growth

Exercise stimulates the growth of bone cells, allowing the bone to become stronger.

Also, exercise promotes the release of Growth Hormone that causes the bone to grow in size as well. These changes help in the overall growth of the dog and result in better height and build.

Similarly, muscles are torn at the microscopic levels during bouts of exercise and are reformed during periods of rest but become bulkier each time.

Thus, increasing muscle strength, and endurance and raising the overall lean body mass of the dog.

2. Enhances Immunity

Every dog has white blood cells and proteins called antibodies that are present in the blood and circulate throughout the body.

Their job is to detect and eliminate pathogens and kill off dead body cells before they start any disease.

During exercise, the blood flow through the entire body increases and this allows for better penetration of these cells and proteins through the various tissues of the body. This allows them to do their job faster which enhances immunity.

3. Prevents Diseases

The risk of cardiovascular illnesses is directly proportional to the number of lipids in the blood.

Exercise gets rid of these extra lipids, maintaining normal levels thus preventing cardiovascular problems like stroke and heart attacks that can kill obese dogs.

4. Relieves Stress And Promotes Mental Well-being 

Exercise causes the release of endorphins, which are natural chemicals produced by the body that elevate the mood and reduce stress. Thus, exercise is also important for the mental well-being of your pooch.

Exercise Needs Of A Border Collie

Being bred for herding flocks meant that Collies had to be constantly on their feet, guiding animals and preventing any escapes.

This resulted in their bodies adapting to these high-intensity tasks and they developed greater endurance and stamina.

Hence, due to shifts in genetics, Border Collies have developed a high demand for exercise without which they would become fussy and redirect their energy to negative behaviors like barking, biting, and damaging household items.

Thus, it becomes essential to drain their energies through regular exercise.

Dogtime rates their energy level and exercise demands as 5 out of 5, this gives you a good idea about where they stand as compared to other dog breeds.

With that background, let’s discuss the exercise needs of a Border Collie at various ages.

Before 3 Months

During the first 10-12 weeks of a pooch’s life, they are being adjusted to the world outside of its mother’s womb.

This is also the time for their vaccination which usually gets completed by the 12th week.

Hence, it is not ideal to take dogs out for exercise and it is advisable to have 5 to 10 minutes of exercise at home, in your backyard, or in a nearby park where there is little contact between your pup with other humans and dogs that can spread any pathogens.

3-5 Months Pup

By now, you would complete your dog’s vaccination schedule and it would be safe to take it out for walks and other forms of exercise discussed later.

As a rule of thumb, a pup needs 5 minutes of exercise two times a day for each month of its age. 

That means a 3-month-old Border Collie would need 15 minutes of exercise twice a day, ideally in the morning and evening hours to meet its daily requirement.

6-15 Month Pup

Keep on adding extra minutes for every month of age until the age 15-16 months, that is around the age your Collie is considered to be an adult. 

However, as your pup grows, you’ll get to know more about its actual exercise needs. This is because not all dogs within a breed have the same level of enthusiasm and need for exercise.

Some are more energetic and need to be exercised more than the ones who get tired easily.

Adult Border Collie

A total of 90 minutes of exercise a day is sufficient for most adult Border Collies. This can be achieved at your convenience, whether you take the dog out once, twice, or multiple times a day.

It is better to have a routine than having random exercise bouts as a routine inculcates a sense of discipline in the pooch and also allows the body to better adjust itself for exercise.

Working Dog Vs House Pets

Border Collies that have been adopted to herd animals would have different exercise demands than the ones kept as human companions.

Herding a flock is a demanding task that needs focus, decision-making, agility, and stamina. Thus, engaging a dog both mentally and physically. Such a dog would work intensely and for more hours than a pooch kept for company.

Hence, you would need to access your dog’s daily exercise needs as per the role it plays and adjust the hours accordingly.

Best Exercises For Collies

There is a lot more than the usual walking and running that you can do with your dog to fulfill its exercise demands.

Sports are a better alternative as they are better at relieving stress and allow for better bonding between the dog and the owners.

  • Fetch– The good old sport of fetch is simple yet engaging and entertaining. It doesn’t require much space, even a house lawn can do the trick.
  • Treibball– A large ball is provided to the dog that it needs to herd around a course. This is a great play for herding dogs to polish their skills.
  • Frisbee– You can never go wrong with this one!
  • Hide and Seek– As interesting as it sounds, hide and seek is not only fun to play but also good exercise.
  • Dock Diving– For water-loving herding dogs, dog diving is a great sport, especially during the summer months when it also helps keep the dog cool.

When To Stop Exercise (Signs Of Exercise Fatigue In A Dog)

During exercise, you need to be able to identify the cues telling you that your pooch is tired and needs rest. These are

  • Increased Panting
  • Sweating
  • Signs of dehydration like loss of skin and pale facies
  • Muscle Soreness
  • Behavioral changes

Whenever you see these signs in your pooch during exercise, you need to give it some rest and come back to it later. If ignored when severe, it can lead to exhaustion and unconsciousness in the dog.

What Happens When You Don’t Exercise A Border Collie? 

What Happens When You Don’t Exercise A Border Collie?

Herding dogs are built for physical activity. When they don’t get their fair share of exercise, they redirect their energies to negative behaviors that make them annoying and dangerous. 

These habits can be excessive barking, nibbling, biting, digging, damaging household items and hurting children, etc. Such dogs become a hazard for everyone and everything around them.

Also, such dogs become fussy and anxious, so they are terrible at socializing. When kept as human companions, this can irritate their owners who may even decide to abandon them for a different breed.


Let’s look at some of the frequently asked questions regarding Border Collie exercise.

How many times a day should I walk my Border Collie?

The recommendation is that you should take your dog out 2 times a day, once in the morning and once around the evening.

However, it is not a hard and fast rule and you can have the numbers adjusted according to your convenience.

It is important to follow a routine for better compliance and results.

How much mental stimulation does a Border Collie need?

A lot of the exercises for a Border Collie like Treibball, hide and seek, etc involve the use of both mental and physical faculties, thus doing these 1-2 hours a day will be enough for mental stimulation.

Additionally, you use dog puzzles for 30-60 minutes a day as a separate mental exercise for your dog.

How Much Exercise Does A Border Collie Need? Conclusion.

Border Collies are herding dogs and are very energetic with exercise demands. They need regular exercise to stay mentally and physically sound. Lack of exercise can make them fussy and irritated.

The amount of exercise depends on the dog’s age and working status. Also, There are many ways to exercise a Border Collie but a routine needs to be followed for better results.


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