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Border Collie puppies love nothing more than to go 100%. As an owner, you know they thrive off exercise and need stimulation. But how much exercise can you give a BC puppy, and when is too much?

As owners it’s important to know the limits of your Border Collie puppy because they definitely don’t.

Unfortunately, the problem is it’s difficult to know what those limits are. We can’t look inside their bodies and examine their growth plates, their soft bones, or even ask them how their body feels.

The best way to approach their exercise limits is by erring on the side of caution. There are some guidelines which are considered safe for Border Collie puppies, and we’ve compiled them for you in this article.

Border Collie puppy walking

The general rule for walking your Border Collie puppy is 5 minutes per month of age. The below chart saves you the trouble of working it out.

You can also do this up to twice per day, which would be a good idea for your Border Collie puppy.

Border Collie puppy exercise chart

We’ve gone up to 18-months in this chart as this is when your Border Collie puppy will be fully developed. Their growth plates will be closed and their bones will be at full strength.

However, after 12 months, the excess minutes should be taken in alternative exercise activities, or their walk can be broken up into two lots. For example, a 14-month old Border Collie could have two walks of 35-minutes in a day.

Age in MonthsMinutes of Exercise

Exercising a Border Collie puppy

You may have heard that it’s OK to exercise a Border Collie puppy more than other pups. In truth, a BC puppy still has the same hurdles that other puppies do when it comes to early development.

A Border Collie puppy will still have soft growth plates. This an area that sits at the end of their long bones. This area allows for rapid growth.

The problem is that over-working a puppy can damage these growth plates and cause stunted growth or long term misshapen limbs.

On top of that, a Border Collie’s bones are also softer than an adult BC. This means they’re more likely to get a fracture than an adult – the spiral fracture being the most common.

So while a Border Collie puppy might have a lot more stamina than other breeds, and a desire to push their limits early, this can be detrimental to their long-term health. Especially if they sustain a significant injury from over working their soft bones or their growth plates.

As a side note, because of the above puppy issues, it’s best to not let your BC puppy jump off beds or high places.

Although Border Collie’s aren’t prone to it, it’s best not to exercise your Border Collie puppy straight after a big meal. This has the potential to lead to Bloat (stomach fills with gas and becomes twisted).

Does your BC have a crate yet? If not, be sure to read our post, What Size Crate for a Border Collie: Best Revealed

puppy-exercise in water

Running with a Border Collie puppy

You can start going on runs with your Border Collie puppy once they turn 12-months of age. These runs should be kept short and interspersed with rest periods.

Your Border Collie’s growth plates won’t be fully closed until the age of 18-months, so keep this in the back of your mind when running.

Up until this time they’re still vulnerable to injury – though less so as the size of these growth plates has dramatically reduced. Their bones are also stronger now.

This means it’s still not a good idea to go for any long duration runs with your BC until they’re out of the risk zone.

Bike riding with Border Collie puppy

Your Border Collie puppy won’t be ready to run beside a bike until the age of 18-months. This is because this is the age their growth plates will be closed, and their bones will be their hardest.

If you can’t resist, then after 12-months they could go for short runs beside a bike, but regular rest stops are advised.

How much is too much?

Unfortunately, there is no way to know exactly when your Border Collie puppy is pushing the limits of their soft bones and growth plates.

To make matters worse, there are varying beliefs on how much is too much. It’s definitely a balancing act to ensure your BC is getting enough exercise, without putting them at risk.

A Border Collie will no doubt be able to go longer in their exercise than say a Newfoundland puppy.

If you look at a puppy exercise chart, however, they rarely (if ever) give you an exercise limit for specific breeds. Veterinarians are mostly on board the 5-minute per month of age.

So when looking at exercise charts, it’s safe to assume your BC can be at the higher end of these recommendations – though of course you don’t want to push these limits at the risk of injuring your BC.

Extend their exercise

One way to extend exercise times is by shortening the duration of them, and then having more sessions throughout the day.

You can also add in breaks during exercise. If you take your puppy for a walk, make sure you stop frequently for rest periods.

Giving them breaks can give your BC pup the time they need to recoup before once again exerting themselves.

It’s also a good idea to exercise them only on soft surfaces, such as grass.

One thing to keep in mind is don’t let your BC tell you when they’ve had too much exercise (such as finally giving up).

Think of them as a highly tuned hot-rod, ready to go at 100% all the time. The only problem is 100% will eventually cause damage to the motor. It’s up to you, the driver, to hold back on their exercise to save them from themselves.

In this video you can see how this owner uses common sense with her puppy to protect their body.

How to tire out a Border Collie puppy?

What seems to be of more importance to a Border Collie puppy is not so much the physical exercise, but the mental exercise.

BC’s, as you are no doubt aware, are highly intelligent, and they can have a lot of pent up energy. This excess energy is often related to a need to stimulate their minds, rather than just their body.

It’s absolutely vital for Border Collie owners to play brain games with their puppy and work their mind as often as possible. There’s no risk of damaging their body when doing this.

Alternative exercise

Just because your Border Collie puppy can’t go for a two-mile run, doesn’t mean they can’t burn energy in the comfort of their home, or in other places.

Here are some activities you can do that will burn energy and be less taxing on their bodies. However, keep in mind as they play and run, that the 5-minute per month of age rule is still in place.

A Border Collie puppy who chases a ball for 30 minutes is still at risk of damaging their growth plates.

  1. Wrestling
  2. Tug-of-war
  3. Swimming
  4. Hide-and-go-seek
  5. Training
  6. Toy playing
  7. Brain games

Brain games to play


A great game to play with your BC pup is hide-and-go-seek. Get your puppy to sit and stay (if they can) while you hide treats around the house.

If they’re not yet up to this challenge, have someone hold them while you hide the treats.

This is an Easter egg hunt for them, and they’ll sniff out the best hiding places, so don’t hold back!

When they’re ready to go, let them loose!

Under the cup

Watch this video and if you want to skip straight to the demonstration of the BC playing the game, it starts at 2 min 35 seconds.

Brain games toys

Here are some popular puzzle games you can get for your BC puppy. Puzzle games are great, because sometimes you need a break too, and if your puppy can work their mind while you’re having a coffee, then all the better!

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