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How Much Exercise Does A Border Collie Need?

How Much Exercise Does A Border Collie Need?

Do you have an adult or puppy Border Collie? Do you want to know how much exercise your Border Collie needs? Here’s everything you need to know about Border Collies and exercise! 

How Much Exercise Does A Border Collie Need? Adult Border Collies need around 2 hours of exercise per day. It’s better to split this into two or more walks, as opposed to one long one. Border Collies are an extremely active and clever breed that thrive on plenty of exercise and enrichment activities. 

Read on to find out how much exercise a Border Collie puppy needs, how much a senior dog needs, and what happens if you over or under exercise them.

Never use the advice in this article as a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. I am NOT a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist. This article is based on research, personal opinion and experience of owning dogs over the last 12+ years. 

How Much Exercise Does A Border Collie Puppy Need?

Border Collie puppies need 5 minutes formal exercise per month of age, up to twice per day. So, if your Border Collie puppy is 4 months old, then they can have 20 minutes of exercise once or twice daily.

If your Border Collie puppy is under 12 weeks of age and they’ve not yet had all their vaccinations, then it’s best to not give them structured exercise at this stage.

Instead, concentrate on playing with your puppy and introducing them to training. 

Because Border Collies are such an active breed, it may be tempting to exercise your puppy for longer than this. However, it’s crucial they’re not over-exercised at this point in their development.

Many Border Collie puppies would happily exercise for much longer than these guidelines. But, just because they will, doesn’t mean they should!

Exercising them too much while their body and skeleton is still forming, can put them at increased risk of developing joint issues in future. 

So, if you find that your Border Collie puppy still has a lot of energy even after they’ve been exercised, you should increase their mental stimulation instead.

Mental enrichment is equally as important to Border Collie puppies as physical exercise is. 

How Much Exercise Does An Adult Border Collie Need?

Adult Border Collies usually need around 2 hours of exercise per day. This is better split into two sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening. Border Collies are an active and smart breed that thrive on plenty of exercise and enrichment. 

If your adult Border Collie still seems hyper, even after they’ve had plenty of exercise, then it may not help to increase their physical exercise time.

If they get used to being exercised for several hours each day, then they’ll come to expect this every day.

But, if you’re in a position to maintain high levels of exercise for your Border Collie each day, then great! However, many homes simply don’t have the time to dedicate large portions of their day to their Border Collies physical exercise. 

So, it’s best to increase the mental enrichment activities to tire them out instead!

Border Collie out on a walk and laying beside the path having a rest with a speech bubble that says 'I love going  for a long walk!'
Border Collie Out On A Long Walk

How Much Exercise Does A Senior Border Collie Need?

A senior Border Collie’s exercise needs may naturally decrease as they get older. They may not be able to walk as far as they once could, especially if they have joint pain. You should adjust their exercise to better suit their physical needs.

For example, if your Border Collie previously went for a 2 hour walk over uneven ground, they may find two or three much shorter works on flat ground better for them as they age. 

However, it’s important not to stop exercising your senior Border Collie completely. This can make their mobility worse.

Border Collies love to explore the outside world. So it would be unfair to deny them this opportunity just because they’re getting older. 

Although your senior Border Collie’s body may not let them enjoy long walks anymore, it’s likely their brain is still as active as ever.

Giving them mental enrichment activities such as puzzle toys, snuffle mats, food toys, lick mats and long-lasting natural chews, will keep their mind occupied and help them stay happy. 

What Are The Dangers Of Over Exercising A Border Collie?

Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to give your Border Collie too much exercise!

But, if you continually over-exercise your Border Collie, then you’re putting them at increased risk of developing the following issues:

Joint Conditions

Joint conditions are particularly common in Border Collies that have been over-exercised during puppyhood.

The likelihood of your Border Collie developing joint conditions such as Arthritis is drastically increased if they’ve had too much exercise during their formative years.

Border Collies are also prone to having hip dysplasia. So too much exercise can aggravate and accelerate this condition too.


Border Collies tend to be quite obsessive as a breed. They can quickly become fixated and addicted to high intensity chase games such as fetch.

If the only exercise your Border Collie gets involves repetitively chasing and retrieving a ball, they may miss out on everything else a walk has to offer.

Some Border Collies get so obsessed with the ball, they won’t even stop to sniff or go potty on a walk!

Chase games such as this also keep your Border Collie’s adrenaline and cortisol levels high. This can cause them to carry on running long after they’re physically tired.

However, doing this regularly is when injuries are much more likely to occur. 

Border Collie out on a walk with a speech bubble that says 'I love going  for a long walk!'
Border Collie Enjoying A Walk With Their Owner

What Are The Dangers Of Under Exercising A Border Collie?

Border Collies that don’t receive enough regular exercise are at risk of developing the following issues;

Undesirable Behaviours

If your Border Collie is not getting enough exercise they may start to look for other ways to entertain themselves. However, it’s likely that these behaviours will be far from desirable for you!

Your Border Collie may start barking, chasing or herding other members of the family. They may chase anything that moves, nip, dig or destroy things in your home and garden.

They start doing these things as a way to get rid of their pent-up energy and to keep themselves busy.

So, by increasing their activity and exercise levels this should help to keep these types of problems at bay. 

OCD Behaviours

Border Collies can also develop some obsessive-compulsive behaviours as a way to occupy their minds.

These include chasing shadows, spinning in circles, snapping at the air, chasing their tail and repeatedly licking themselves.

Unfortunately, these types of issues tend to be caused by your Border Collie having high stress levels.

A lack of exercise and mental enrichment can contribute to this. 


Border Collies that aren’t regularly socialised and exercised in the outside world are more likely to become fearful of things they encounter there.

They may become scared and reactive towards people, other dogs or animals, which can be difficult to overcome. 

What Kinds Of Exercise Do Border Collies Enjoy?

There are lots of different kinds of exercise that your Border Collie will enjoy including;

Dog Sports

Dog sports such as flyball, agility, hoopers, obedience, rally, frisbee, and sheepdog trialing are all fantastic ways to exercise your Border Collie.

Not only do these sports exercise them physically, but they also provide them with much needed mental stimulation too. 


Cani-Cross is essentially running with your dog.

This is something that fit and active Border Collies can really enjoy as they have great stamina.

It’s often more a question of whether you can keep up with them! 

Off Leash Walks

Many Border Collies love off-leash walks where they’re free to run and explore.

They often find this much more interesting than on-leash walking. 


This is the affectionate term for letting you Border Collie sniff as much as they like on walks.

Most Border Collies love this kind of walk as they really get to explore and interact with their surroundings at their own pace. 


Swimming is a great form of exercise for Border Collies as it’s low impact but still helps to keep them fit. 


Most Border Collies love to play fetch!

However, it’s important that you don’t rely on this as your Border Collie’s only form of exercise as they can become obsessed with it. 

So there you have it! Adult Border Collies need about two hours of daily exercise, which works better when it’s split into two or three walks. Border Collies are an extremely energetic and smart breed that thrive on plenty of exercise and mental enrichment activities. 

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