Border Collie in an apartment: is it possible?

border collie in apartment

Border Collies are highly intelligent, fun-loving, and affectionate animals – so no wonder they’re one of the most popular dogs in America. They have a lot of energy and need lots of your time and effort. Border Collies love (and need) lots of vigorous exercise, playtime, and cuddles with you.

Ideally, these pups would be brought up on farms and houses with lots of land for them to roam and play on. Ideally. But most of us can’t offer that. So, what happens if you live in a city? Is a Border Collie in an apartment a good idea?

History of Border Collies

It’s widely thought that Border Collies were first bred in the 1700s and are probably descendants of the Icelandic Sheepdog. As their name suggests, they originated in the farmland around the border between Scotland and England and were bred to herd sheep and other farm animals. They’re working dogs with a lot of energy and love to have a job to do. Whilst many Border Collies don’t ‘work’ anymore, they still have a lot of the traits of a working dog in their genetics – some of which can make apartment living a little more difficult.

Can Border Collies live in apartments?

In a nutshell, yes, Border Collies can live in apartments. But they’re not as suited to living in a small apartment as the Boston Terrier, for example. If you think about their history, Border Collies were bred to run around the fields and work hard each day. Not walk from the kitchen to the living room and back again. That being said, if you’re willing to put in a little extra effort, there’s no reason why a Border Collie can’t be happy in an apartment too. Here's what you need to do:

Make sure they get enough daily exercise

Border Collies like to stretch their legs a lot and need regular exercise to keep their bodies and brains healthy. If you live in an apartment, you don't have the luxury of opening the back door and letting your dog run around in the yard for 30 mins. You'll have to provide all the entertainment and exercise needs that your pup requires. That means regularly taking them out for a walk, run, for a game of fetch, or to the dog park.

For some pet owners, a good way to ensure their dog is getting enough exercise is to do dog sports with them. Border Collies are herding dogs and will love the chance to excel in a sport!

Let them do their business

As well as taking them outside for a bit of exercise, you’ll also have to make sure they can regularly go to the toilet! Many pups let you know when it’s time for them to go, but taking them for a regular walk around the block helps prevent any unfortunate accidents from happening.

Don’t leave them alone for too long

Border Collies are sociable dogs that love to be around their family. They’re not dogs that can be left alone for long periods of time (and whilst some dogs don’t mind entertaining themselves for a couple of hours, no dog should be left to feel lonely). If you’re out of the apartment working all day, consider adopting a different dog breed rather than a Border Collie. There are many other dog breeds that can be left for a few hours during the day.

Make sure they’re entertained

Even if you are in the house all day with your pet, few of us have the time to entertain them 24/7. Try getting your dog interactive toys that can keep them entertained for hours at a time. They’ll learn new skills and they don’t need a lot of space to play with them. Dog training and mental stimulation are also a really important part of a Border Collie’s day. They help iron out any unwanted behavior and keep their brains engaged.

You could also take your pup to a dog training center. Borders are high-energy dogs and a few hours at a center can be great mental and physical stimulation for them. Because they're such an active breed, they can easily become bored if they don't have enough to do – and no one wants a bored Border Collie. Boredom can easily turn into destructive behavior if it isn't stopped early on.

Let them socialize

Border Collies are very sociable dogs. They’re used to working in teams and around other animals, so it’s important they have enough contact with other pups. Dog parks are a great way for them to let off some steam whilst also making new friends and bonding with other dogs.


When thinking about a Border Collie in an apartment, it's crucial you think about their happiness. But you also need to think about making your life as easy as possible. This breed of dog sheds quite a lot, and in an apartment, it can feel like their hair is absolutely everywhere. Regular grooming with high-quality tools can help to reduce the amount of vacuuming you’ll need to do.

Overall thoughts

Can a border Collie live in an apartment? Yes, they can. But it really depends on your activity levels and how much effort you’re willing to put in. Border Collie owners who have a large yard don’t have to take their pup out as much as those who live in an apartment. They don’t have to worry about toilet stops or that their pup is entertained between walks.

If you’re willing to take your apartment dogs out more regularly and keep them entertained on walks or in a dog park, then there shouldn’t be any big problems with having a Border Collie. If you’re not as active and don’t have the extra time to dedicate to them, you may want to consider getting a different dog breed.

Have you got any extra tips on how to keep a Border Collie happy in an apartment? Let us know below!

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