How Much Exercise Does a Border Collie Need?

Exercise isn’t for the health of your dog only, as it also significantly affects their behavior.

Borders have lots of energy, and without the chance for exercise to burn it up, they result in destructive tendencies.

Today you will learn:

  • How much to exercise your Border Collie (with monthly chart)
  • When to exercise your dog
  • Alternative exercises to traditional methods
  • Toys you can substitute with
  • And much more!
border collie running through the grass to show how much exercise they need

How much exercise does a border collie need? As a large working dog, Border Collies needs between 90 to 120 minutes of intensive physical and mental exercises daily. This is primarily due to their origins and development as a premier herding canine that requires releasing pent-up energy. 

While two hours of exercise might sound like overdoing it, it’s worth the while as your border collie will thrive in an active lifestyle. Please keep reading to learn how to devise easy ways to provide exercise for your pet to keep them happy and healthy. 

What's In This Guide?

      How Much Exercise Does Your Border Collie Puppy Need?

      Border puppies should be given less demanding activities and instead provided age-appropriate toys that will pique natural curiosity resulting in hours of exercise. This can also be supplemented with regular walks, socializing, and home training which is also great for encouraging stimulation.

      That said, in order to take a young puppy outdoors, you must first ensure they are fully vaccinated and taken on a leash to ensue safety.

      But how much exercise is too little or too much for a Border collie puppy?

      For border pups, consider the following border collie puppy exercise chart to determine how much exercise you should give them daily. 

      Age (in Months)Exercise Time (in minutes) Per Day

      Why Do Border Collies Need a Lot of Exercises?

      Border collies were bred from hardy herding dogs that the Romans brought with them to Britain. Later, these mongrels got crossed with Viking raiding dogs, resulting in a bright, compact, and highly agile pedigree.

      Named the landrace collie, this super canine held its own against the demanding terrain of the Scottish border country for centuries, earning its name from that region.

      Being that Border Collie historically derives from natural working dogs, it comes as no shock that they require a high volume of exercise in order to maintain a high standard of physical and mental health.

      This then raises the question of whether Border Collies are also easily trainable too?

      Why are Borders so highly Intelligent and Trainable?

      Border collies are highly intelligent breeds that are most often used by farmers for their extreme capability to follow instructions and endure time lengthy activities.

      According to Vetmed, you may find Border Collies body temperature to heat up (often to >41.7C, >107F) during very quickly strenuous activities which in extreme cases may lead to Border Collie collapse.

      However, a study that was carried out by Katie Minor (Biological Sciences) to test the average number of Border collies that experienced BCC resulted in just 5% of pet owners. This means that BCC is probably something you should be aware of but by no means worried about.

      For this breed, physical activities alone won’t cut it so to supplement outdoor physical activities you can brain stimulation toys to keep your dog mentally active, energized, and happy.

      In addition, these dogs are highly agile, able to train for competitive Frisbee, fetch, stalk and flirt pole activities. As part of his or her schedule, give your pet an obstacle that requires a combination of physical and mental prowess. 

      Why Do Border Collies Make Such Great Herding Dogs?

      Border Collies were bred to herd sheep and cattle all day long, in all manner of terrain and weather conditions. Collies still excel at such outdoor livestock assignments better than other sheepdog breeds. They’ve been recognized all over the world as the top dog for herding, which in essence needs a lot of physical and mental activity. 

      When herding animals Border Collies push around by nipping, running and barking.

      The role within which border collies were bred deserves a dog with immense energy and stamina. These herders push animals around, nipping, running, and barking at them. Borders stalk their charges, mostly sheep, and use a menacing look called the “herding eye” to intimidate them into following instructions.

      A border collie can herd sheep tirelessly in a single day, rounding them up for 50 miles or more. This dog chases down stray livestock and brings them back to the flock, displaying high energy levels. As such, your dog needs an outlet for this congenital activeness, a release for the pent-up busyness. 

      How much exercise is needed for your border collie?

      Regular and consistent activity is the best way to provide adequate exercise for your border collie. Keep a schedule of activities that can be done daily, which is more beneficial than weekend workouts. Giving your pet enough to do all week minimizes pent-up energy incidents and injuries too.

      how long should your daily walks be?

      Daily walks are the meat of your border collies exercise regime, allowing for mental and physical stimulation simultaneously. Your dog gets to experience sights, smells, and sounds unique to the outdoors where a breed like this would normally be working.

      While there could be limitations to how long or far you’ll walk, a one to two-hour walk should be sufficient. Remember that your dog can walk all day, and as such, it makes sense to divide her walks into two. With parts of the trail off the leash, a one-hour morning walk and another hour in the evening work great.

      Take your pet off the leash if his or her obedience and recalls are on command, or you can alternate with a retractable leash. However, you may find using a GPS tracker to be more useful for escape merchants. That said, the general idea is to offer your border collie more freedom to explore and immerse herself in nature. 

      Borders, as a working breed, are highly intelligent. They’re easily trainable and prefer routine to disorder due to genetically instilled work ethics. Your walks should be around the same time every day relatve to other exercises and meals. 

      border collies use a technique called the eye to intimidate other animals into following instructions for a post on How Much Exercise Does A Border Collie Need

      what if You’re time is limited for daily walking?

      2 hours a day of walking may not be suitable for you to undertake, so instead, you could increase resistance using a doggy backpack or weighted vests. While these additions strengthen your pet’s muscles and are enough to tire over a shorter distance, they shouldn’t exceed 10 percent of body weight. 

      Sand is also a great way of increasing resistance, so if you reside near a beach it’s always a great idea to go for a walk. Incorporate uphill and downhill gradients along with stairs and indoor treadmills to satisfy your pet’s needs.

      What activities are best to exercise your Border Collie?

      Border Collies are strong, active, and energetic and when not working should be encouraged to spend their energy through the form of activities.

      High-intensity strength training and games will sustain your border collie’s muscular conditioning to better support joints and prevent injury. A healthy dog is a happy dog, and for Border Collies this means a working dog!

      My top recommendations of such working include; 

      Biking, Skating or Running 

      Speed is the secret weapon that gives your Border Collie an edge to burn more calories within a short period. Activities such as biking, running, and skating are great for stimulation and endurance training which in turn will meet your dog’s exercise requirements.

      Start slow, building on the intensity and distance covered in such an activity to avoid injuring your dog. 


      Lots of time, there’s water available where wild terrain is inaccessible. Border collies love swimming, and it’s the perfect activity to burn calories and tire them out fast. With ten minutes of splashing around, your pet will be having the exercise equivalent of a one-hour walk.

      Use a lifejacket with more timid pets and ensure to follow safety guidances when taking a dunk.

      Due to the low-impact nature of swimming, your Border collie is less likely to incur injury whilst taking a dunk. If outdoor weather doesn’t allow it, you can do this exercise in an indoor pool or a canine hydrotherapy center. 

      What Exercise games are best to play with a border collie?

      Games for your Border Collie are the perfect way to burn energy while having tons of fun. Your pet will happily perform repetitive activities at either low or high intensity, including;


      This commonly known game involves throwing a stick, ball, or toy while your dog races to bring it back. Fetch is the perfect activity for your border collie when you are short of time or space to exercise. You can play fetch with your pet in the backyard or take it a notch higher by throwing downstairs or a hill. 


      Your Border Collie’s agility is tested to the limit by this game, which involves throwing a disc-shaped object that your dog has to jump and catch with its mouth. Frisbee in itself is an intense exercise that encompasses the mental and physical stimulation your pet needs. 

      Tug Of War

      Using a knotted length of natural fiber rope, you and your border can play this game anywhere and at any time. Tug of war is particularly essential for puppies yet to shed their milk teeth while strengthening their jaws and muscles. Make your dog crouch and pull the rope with as much strength as she can muster.

      Herding Balls 

      As a herding breed, your Border Collie will benefit significantly from this ball game. This activity caters to your pet’s natural herd control instincts while helping them burn off energy. The herding ball game emulates what the dog does in a working scenario and reduces your collie’s desire to herd other pets or even people. 

      Flirt Pole

      Your dog will chase the lure at the end of a flirt pole for hours, being mentally and physically stimulated. The challenge provided by a flirt pole activates your Border Collies prey instincts to offer a day-long exercise if you play that long. You can also make a homemade flirt pole by just tying a toy to the end of a rope in the backyard too!

      Obstacle Courses

      Your dog’s agility can be put to the test with an obstacle course set up in your backyard. Run your pet through the course, which may also consist of natural objects like park benches where she can jump or run around. 

      What are the Best Toys to increase mental stimulation?

      Toys are a great way to substitute outdoor activities whilst ensuring your pet’s requirements for exercise are met. Interactive, self-play, puzzle, and chew varieties help to develop skills and behavior in the comfort of their home.

      A few innovative gadgets provide mind and body stimulation while entertaining your dog include; 

      Automatic Ball Launchers

      Border Collies love to play fetch, and with an automatic ball launcher, fido can play for hours on end without the need for assistance. The toy works by shooting a ball at low to moderately high velocity, then your pet can chase, catch and re-deposit it into a receptacle before the next ball is shot.

      Motorized Dog Toys

      The market right now is inundated with dog toys that rattle, shake, move about or roll by themselves. While some of these are too fragile for Border Collies, they do in fact provide unsupervised exercise for natural herding characteristics. 

      Motorized toys like the GoBone can keep your dog fully engaged for up to periods as long as 8 hours. You can also use a smartphone app to control the durable robot with replaceable exterior armor. Treats can also be placed in particular models, which your dog will love as a reward for their efforts.

      Puzzle Toys 

      Puzzle toys are great for serving mental stimulation and work by encouraging your dog to figure out problems that vary in levels of difficulty too. My advice would be to find puzzles that are more challenging than not, as after playing the game you’ll quickly discover that Border Collies are labeled smart for a reason.

      Read Also: >> What are the best toys for Border Collie dogs?

      Are games, toys, and training the only way to exercise a border collie?

      Games and toys are not the only ways to encourage playful activity in your dog. In fact, simply playing with other pets or humans can provide just as much stimulation too.

      Playing with other dogs helps each participant to release pent-up energy whilst taking part in a group and socializing to develop behavioral skills.

      Dog sports are possibly one of the most fully encompassing activities where your Border can get a good share of exercise, alongside physiotherapy and dietary specialization.

      Pushball, or as it’s commonly known, Treibball, is a game designed explicitly for herding breeds like Border Collies. Similar to the Swiss ball you’d use for exercise, this game employs large balls that take the place of sheep in a real-world situation. 


      With exercise, your Border Collie is stimulated physically while other games or puzzle toys will do the same for the mind. You can augment this stimulation by teaching your dog new tricks or commands, which keep their high intelligence constantly challenged. 

      Borders don’t do well when left alone in boredom. Exercise also makes for a fun time with your pet, building and strengthening your relationship bond.  

      Picture of Rachael Summers

      Rachael Summers

      Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Dig Doggy. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! Rachael also loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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