How Much Exercise Do Border Collies Need?
[Everything you need to know]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

Border Collies are undoubtedly one of the most enthusiastic dog breeds to exist. They are energetic, strong, and intelligent. They are convenient to train and obedient. They are also very smart and can do a range of activities when taught.

In fact, Border Collies are one of the most popular breeds on the Guinness World records website! If you go and have a look, you’ll see many amazing stories made by them. Some of them include balancing items on their head, a skipping rope record, and many more.

The award-winning Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, researched the world’s most intelligent dog breeds. The results are amazing and something to be proud of for every Border Collie owner!

According to the study, after taking the poll of 200 dog obedience judges, it was found that Border Collies proved to be the most intelligent breed in all, followed by the Poodle and the German Shepherd.

The examination used in the research pointed out that the dogs on top of the scale could understand a plethora of words, counting to about 250 in numbers! This is truly fascinating.

Historical background of the Border Collie

Border Collies are descendants of a breed generally found in British Isles (where the Romans brought them), the Landrace Collies. They were developed on the borders of England and Scotland, mainly as sheepdogs. In the last century, they were brought to New Zealand and Australia to herd in the sheep ranches.

Did you know that all Border Collies can be traced back to one dog who lived from 1893 to 1901? His name was Old Hemp, and he has been known as the “founding father” of the Border Collie breed.

It is said that Old Hemp had close to 200 offsprings, and the B. Collies we see today are all descendants of his. His quiet and determined nature, which was unique to him amongst all other herd dogs, is seen today in almost all Border Collies.

Border Collies have been of excellent help to shepherds and hold their highly reliable status even now.

Understanding their history and origin must have helped you see how valuable this breed has been to humans for ages. They come from a long line of strong and active dogs, and today, we see similar traits in them.

How Much Exercise Does My Border Collie Need?

Every dog in this world needs to be active. That’s just the universal truth. But that does not mean that all dogs need the same amount of exercise and have the same type of strengths regarding physical activity.

A tiny Pug will require much less walking than a Labrador who will require much less exercise than a Foxhound! This means, once you bring home a Border Collie, you must understand the needs specific to them and start the curated routine as soon as possible.

A Border Collie is an athletic dog, highly energetic and, as we know, a herding dog originally. They have been used to getting hours of physical activity in farms and ranches. They aren’t easy to tire, and if there’s anything that makes them happy the most, it’s getting their high amounts of energy in use.

While how much exercise does a Border Collie need a day depends on their age, health, and other factors based on their fitness, we can estimate how many hours of physical activity a Border Collie usually has to get.

An adult Border Collie requires a minimum of 90 minutes of physical activity, and this is almost non-negotiable if you want your dog to be happy as well as healthy.

Puppy B. Collies and older ones will exercise less as they might get tired quickly. It’s also better for their joints and bones to take it easy while playing and working out. Also, Border Collies involved in sports, competitions, or other above-average activities will naturally need to train more and therefore showcase much more stamina.

Why Is Exercising Important For Border Collies

As we need mental stimulation to keep our minds healthy and physical activity to keep our bodies fit, so do dogs. Especially Border Collies, who were made to chase after sheep and get the lot moving!

A Border Collie needs to exercise for at least one and a half hours (on average) to be physically healthy and keep their mind from getting into unwanted ideas (zooming around the house, biting on random house items, barking for no reason, etc.).

A good workout every day allows your dog’s energy levels to be channeled in the right direction. Sleeping sound and having no trouble around bedtime can be achieved by tiring your pooch with a good workout and playtime.

Exercising also helps in building strength and stamina. So, not only does your dog get healthier, but they achieve that optimum fitness a Border Collie actually enjoys.

Along with that, physical activity helps in keeping your Border Collie’s stress in check. Dogs with existing problems like anxiety, hyperactivity, and aggression find relief by getting their blood flowing with a good exercise regimen.

All in all, exercise is everything good that your Border Collie absolutely needs! And you never know, you might find the perfect workout routine for yourself while taking your pup for their daily walks!

Types of Exercise

When we think of exercise for dogs, we only think about the physical aspect of it. But just like we meditate for our brain and mind, our dogs need a mental workout to function at their best of abilities.

Physical Exercises For Your Border Collie Dog

Walking (with or without a leash)

Walking is obviously the most popular choice for dog owners when giving their dogs some physical movement. And why not? Walking is the simplest yet one of the most effective forms of exercise one can possibly find. Your dog loves walks, and so do I.

However, in today’s time, most dog owners have to put on a leash on their dogs to make sure no accidents happen. And I understand your concern. But there is a way to prevent accidents while giving your Border Collie a little more freedom of movement when walking.

If you have the option to set them free completely, by all means, do so. But for most of you who live in cities and need to be in control of your dog, a retractable leash like this one will be of great help.

If you are not comfortable using a retractable leash and prefer a simple one instead, then try getting a really long one to give your dog a little more advantage of space and even pace.

CLEEB OURG Retractable Dog Leash

Running or Jogging

Instead of walking, you can also choose to go jogging or running with your dog. It’s a good alternative, but you have to be careful and make sure your Border Collie is in yours and not you in their control.

Your dog can definitely outrun you, so take it slow and let your pup get the hang of it. If you start going full speed on day one, you might have a hard time continuing, but your dog will love that blood rush.


Skating is a fun way of working out with your dog. Unlike walking or running, you and your pet can go at a pace much higher and cover much more ground. Your dog will love the activity, as it can allow them to really test their stamina and speed.

But to skate with your Border Collie, make sure you are sure of your skating skills and won’t have trouble keeping up with your pet. You also have to make sure no accidents occur, and nobody will fall or run into random things on the street!

Note: Make use of helmets and protective gear for you and your dog while trying this stunt out!


Many dog owners enroll their pets in swimming batches or take them to pools on weekends and holidays. You can try either of those and give your B. Collie the much-needed excitement.

Swimming requires much more strength and energy than walking/ running/ skating, and therefore in much less time, your dog will have done much more physical activity.

Before you head on to the nearest swimming pools, make sure you got the essentials for yourself and your let. You can start over here.

Or, if you want to include swimming or plain water dipping in your dog’s regular leisure time, you can go ahead and add this to your cart.

Playtime, fetch, frisbee, tug of war (links to these equips)

Playtime can be used to give your dog some amazing workout benefits as well. Playing games like ‘Fetch’ is excellent for your dog’s physical health as well as brain development.

Here is something I think your dog will thoroughly enjoy while playing Fetch.
A treat dispenser that can be used as a fetch toy.

Now, this is what I call smart play!


The main difference between playing Fetch and playing with a Frisbee is the distance that your dog gets to run to get the toy. In that regard, Frisbee wins the game as it allows your dog to run far in a much shorter period of time.

That excitement is what your Border Collie is looking for!

If your dog doesn’t have a frisbee yet, shop for one over here.

Automatic ball launcher

Most people love taking their dogs out for walks or swimming or some sort of playtime. It’s a great way to destress and get some happy hormones running in your body.

It is not always possible to keep throwing a ball for your dog to fetch, especially when your dog wants to play just after a super long walk!

In situations like these, an automatic ball launcher can be your savior. You can get one here, but make sure you don’t leave it on for too long. Over-exercising your dog has its cons too.

Obstacle circuit

An obstacle course is a fantastic method to keep a Border Collie excited and wanting more. You can set up your own obstacle course in your backyard or any other open space you want.

You can DIY an obstacle or agility course like this

or something as simple as this

If you want something more concrete or professional, this set of 28 pieces of equipment might be for you.

Or you can purchase this starter set that is also more affordable.

Treadmill and other equipment

Many of us have gym equipment like medicine balls, dumbbells, kettlebells, or types of machinery like the Treadmill. I don’t know about you, but your dog can definitely make use of these, all the while actually enjoying that workout!

You can make use of your treadmill if you can’t take your dog out for some reason, and it will still be good enough to keep your dog’s energy in check. Although not a permanent solution, it can be pretty helpful when you have no other option.

With other pieces of equipment, you can create a basic home obstacle course for your Border Collie to master.


Which dog doesn’t love toys! Border Collies enjoy playing with different types of toys as well! You won’t believe how something as small and simple as this spiky ball can keep your pet engaged for hours together.

Herd balls

As we know, Border Collies were sheepdogs originally and used to herding. Play balls like this one can satisfy your Border Collie’s urge to herd and indulge them for long periods effortlessly.

Bubbles (DIY)

A fun activity for both you and your pet, making dog-friendly soap bubbles can entertain you as well as give your dog the much-needed workout.

Dogs love chasing bubbles, and we love blowing them! You can make a family bonding activity out of making homemade DIY bubbles that even kids can prepare as young as 4-5 years of age. You can follow this instruction video to make DIY dog-friendly bubbles.

Find reasons to move

To make your dog’s workout routine less stressful, try to reduce the dedicated exercise time by making your dog use the stairs, taking them to the grocery store, walking them in the house as you go to get water, or move from one room to another. These may seem unimportant, but these small steps make a difference to your Border Collie’s overall health.

Find a buddy for your Border Collie pet

You can also find a play buddy for your pet and take turns with the other dog owner to take your dogs to the park, garden, or wherever they will be playing together. This is a great way of meeting new, exciting people yourself! Or simply saving a lot of time.

Mental Exercises For Your Dog

Along with physical activity, a dog needs to be stimulated mentally to achieve that delicate balance of a good body and good mood every day. Mental stimulation may include games and puzzles for dogs, training for different tasks and tricks (turning around, standing on the hind legs only, and giving a high five are some of the most common examples), play hunting, and the like.

Puzzle toys

A great way of keeping your Border Collie’s curiosity alive is by letting them play with dog puzzles and toys. These are specially made for dogs, such that they have to use their analytical skills to solve them and are rewarded with their favorite treats after they do so!

You can find many such puzzles online.

Chew toys

Chew toys satisfy dogs’ instinct to hunt and make them feel fulfilled. While there is no direct connection between chewing toys and brain development in dogs, they definitely help them in destressing and feeling comfortable when they are anxious or nervous.

After all, good mental health means the absence of these negative feelings as well, right?
Here is an example of chewing toys you may want to get for your Border Collie.

Treasure hunt and similar games

You can hide treats and different toys around the house and let your dog hunt for what it wants. This satiates their hunting instinct and releases happy hormones every time they find a treat or toy.

To increase the level of difficulty, instead of hiding treats directly, you can hide puzzles, and your pet will have to solve them along with finding them.

You can use puzzles like the one shown before, or something like this works well too.

Hide and seek

Hide and Seek is a good way of getting your dog’s brain to work and activate their curiosity. This game lets them think and use their analytical skills, which is very helpful for a healthy mind.

You can play Hide and Seek in a place known to your pet (like your house, neighborhood, etc.) or a new environment (like parks, gardens, etc.). You will have to pay more attention to them in the latter one, to prevent them from getting lost or any other such mishaps.

Interactive Puzzle Game Dog Toys

What lack of exercise can do

Exercise gets your dog’s blood flowing and all good hormones happy. So, naturally, lack of exercise does the exact opposite.

A Border Collie that doesn’t get an adequate amount of physical activity has much higher chances of being stressed, anxious, frustrated, or aggressive than a dog that does get enough exercise.

All that pent up energy in your dog can get channeled in the wrong directions like hyperactivity (biting random objects, jumping too much, barking a lot or relentlessly), aggression (barking when you try petting them, feeding them, or even giving them toys), or restlessness in general.

While obesity in your dog will come from prolonged periods of inactivity before that will come mental health problems that won’t let you and your dog live in peace at all.

You must exercise your dog not just to keep them from getting overweight or unhealthy physically, but to keep them happy and stress-free in all ways possible.


A Border Collie needs to exercise a lot and a lot of play times too. If you’re someone looking to bring home a dog with very little time to give them, then sadly, Border Collie is just not your cup of tea.

However, if you love working out, don’t mind moving your body from time to time from here and there, then you will absolutely love B. Collies.

You can use one, some, or all of the above options to give your pet that fit routine and make sure that they get their minimum of 90 minutes of exercise every day!

Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog!