Can Border Collies Live in Apartments? A Practical Guide

Border Collies are a popular breed among farmers and ranchers for their herding abilities, but how well do they fare in apartments? Can Border Collies live in apartments or is this just a bad idea from the get-go?

Well, the answer is to this question is yes, Border Collies can live in apartments, but it’s important to note that they require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them calm. They are not a breed that can be left alone all day while their owners are at work, so if you’re considering getting a Border Collie for an apartment, it’s important to be prepared.

In this article, we’ll explore the topic a bit deeper, and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not you should bring your Collie into your apartment, as well as what things to consider if you do decide to do so.

Can Border Collies Live in Apartments

Understanding Border Collies

History and Purpose

Border Collies are a breed of herding dogs that originated in the border regions between Scotland and England.

They were bred for their intelligence and herding instincts, which made them ideal for working with livestock mostly as sheepdogs. The breed was developed over time to be highly skilled at herding and was used extensively by shepherds in the region.

Border Collies were bred to work hard, and they have a strong work ethic that is ingrained in their DNA, are highly active and require a lot of exercise to stay healthy and happy.

They are also known for their intelligence, which makes them easy to train and highly adaptable.

Temperament and Intelligence

Border Collies are known for their intelligence and are considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They have a strong desire to please their owners and are highly trainable.

Overall, Border Collies are highly intelligent and active dogs that require a lot of attention and exercise, and are generally not well-suited for apartment living unless their needs are met.

With that said, if they get enough space to run and play, and if you can teach them to tone down their natural instincts with daily physical and mental stimulation, they can make great pets and can definitely live in apartments, with no problems.

Living Conditions for Border Collies

So as we mentioned briefly before, while Border Collies aren’t the best choice for apartment living, it’s possible for them to live in one if their needs are met.

In this section, we’ll discuss the space requirements and exercise needs of Border Collies to help you determine if apartment living is the right choice for them or not.

Space Requirements

Border Collies are medium-sized dogs that require a significant amount of space to move around and play.

While they can adapt to living in an apartment, it’s important to provide them with enough space to move around and stretch their legs.

  • A small apartment with no outdoor space is not the best for a Collie, but generally speaking, a living area of at least 600 to 800 square feet (56 to 74 square meters) is a reasonable starting point.
  • If you’ll be moving into an apartment soon, consider one which can give your Border Collie access to a yard or a nearby park where they can run and play.
  • If you have a small apartment, make sure to take your Border Collie out for regular walks and provide them with plenty of toys and activities to keep them busy.

As a general rule of thumb, if they’re not enough space for yourself, there’s definitely not enough space for your dog.

Exercise Needs

Border Collies are extremely active dogs that require a lot of exercise to stay healthy and happy. They also need plenty of mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

So if you live in an apartment, it’s important to provide your Border Collie with enough exercise throughout the day, to keep them healthy and happy.

  • This can include daily walks, trips to the park, and other activities that allow them to run and play.
  • You can also enroll your Border Collie in obedience classes or agility training to provide them with mental stimulation.

Mental Stimulation

In addition to physical exercise, Border Collies need mental stimulation to stay mentally healthy and to keep them busy.

Interactive toys, puzzles, and games can help provide the mental and physical stimulation they need. Learning tricks and commands can also help.

Remember that even though Border Collies have no problem adapting to cities and can become destructive or develop behavioral problems if they feel they don’t get enough attention.

Especially males. They may bark excessively, become anxious, or engage in destructive behaviors and will want to run away.

In summary, while Border Collies are not the best choice for apartment living, it’s possible for them to live in an apartment if their needs are met.

If you are considering getting a Border Collie and live in an apartment or have a Collie and want to move into an apartment, these are things to take into account. 

Border Collies and Apartment Living

Just like with most dog breeds, Border Collies can live and adapt to living in apartments, fairly well. 

While Border Collies are highly active and require plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and space to run around, they can adapt to living in small spaces as long as their needs are met.

Adapting to Small Spaces

Living in an apartment with a Border Collie requires some adjustments.

  • You will need to provide them with enough exercise and mental stimulation to prevent them from becoming bored or destructive.
  • Daily walks, playtime, and training sessions are essential to keep them happy and healthy.
  • You may also need to invest in puzzle toys or agility equipment to keep them mentally stimulated.

If you live a busy life, and you can’t see yourself attaining to the physical needs of your pup, you may also want to consider hiring a dog walker or enrolling your Border Collie in doggy daycare.

Another challenge of apartment living is the lack of outdoor space. Part of the adaptation process involves, finding a nearby park or dog-friendly area.

This is essential, as you’ll need to take your Border Collie outside for potty breaks and exercise.

Dealing with Neighbors

Living in an apartment with a Border Collie also means dealing with neighbors.

While some neighbors may love dogs and enjoy interacting with your Border Collie, others may not be as welcoming.

There’s nothing worse than having to hear someone else’s dog misbehave or bark for hours on end…

To prevent these types of conflicts, it’s essential to train your Border Collie to be well-behaved and respectful of others.

You should also be considerate of your neighbors by keeping your Border Collie quiet and cleaning up after them.

Training and Socialization for Apartment Living

When it comes to living in an apartment, training and socialization are essential for your Border Collie’s wellbeing.

Let’s look at some training techniques and socialization strategies that can help your furry friend adjust to apartment living.

Training Techniques

Positive reinforcement is an effective training technique for Border Collies.

These are among the strongest teaching methods available, and involve rewarding good behavior with treats, toys, or praise to encourage your dog to repeat the behavior.

Consistency is key when using positive reinforcement so it’s important to reward your dog immediately after they exhibit the desired behavior.

Training your Border Collie to follow commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come” can also help them adjust to apartment living and to inhibit some of their compulsive behaviour.

These commands can help you control your dog’s behavior in public areas such as elevators, hallways, and lobbies.

Socialization Strategies

Socializing your Border Collie is absolutely crucial for their mental and emotional wellbeing. Especially at a young age.

This involves exposing your dog to different people, animals, and environments to help them become comfortable in various situations.

Taking your Border Collie to a dog training center or hiring a dog trainer can help with socialization. These professionals can provide your dog with the necessary exposure in a controlled environment.

The main variable here, is time.

Exposing your Collie to have it get used to an apartment environment, takes time. And with time, and enough exposure, your dog will eventually get used to, and get comfortable with, their space. 

This will also reduce their anxiety and keep their natural herding instincts in check.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

Dealing with Separation Anxiety

Border collies are known for their loyalty and attachment to their owners, and just like is the case with most dogs, they can become anxious and distressed when left alone for extended periods of time.

This can lead to destructive behavior and excessive barking, which we’d rather avoid.

To prevent separation anxiety, it’s important to gradually accustom your Border Collie to being alone.

Start with short periods and gradually increase the duration. You can also leave your dog with their favorite toy (used for special occasions) and treats to keep them occupied while you are away. 

Can Border Collies Live in Apartments 2

Managing Unwanted Behaviors

As we’ve been mentioning throughout this article, if Collies aren’t not provided with enough physical and mental stimulation, they can become bored and develop unwanted behaviors such as chewing, digging, and excessive barking.

To prevent these behaviors, you’ll want to:

  • Offer your pup plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. This can be done inside as well as outside.
  • Take them for walks. Two to three times per day, for 15-20 minutes should be enough.
  • Play games together , and teach them new tricks.
  • Provide them with interactive toys and puzzles that will keep them mentally stimulated.

If your Border Collie does develop unwanted behaviors, it’s important to address them as soon as you can, since ignoring it can lead to it becoming a habit.

Use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage good behavior and discourage unwanted behavior. Redirect their attention to an appropriate activity when they are engaging in unwanted behavior.

Toys and Games for Apartment Living

When it comes to keeping your Border Collie entertained and mentally stimulated in an apartment, interactive and puzzle toys can be a great solution.

These types of toys can help prevent boredom and destructive behavior, while also providing a fun and engaging activity for your dog.

Interactive Toys

Interactive toys are designed to engage your dog’s mind and encourage them to play. Some popular options include:

  • Treat-dispensing toys: These toys require your dog to work for their treats by pushing, rolling, or otherwise manipulating the toy to release the treats.
  • Tug toys: Tug toys are great for interactive play between you and your dog, and can also be used for solo play.
  • Fetch toys: If you have a larger apartment or access to a nearby dog park, fetch toys can provide a fun way for your dog to burn off energy and get some exercise.

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys are designed to challenge your dog’s problem-solving skills and keep them entertained for longer periods of time. Some popular options include:

  • Hide-and-seek toys: These toys require your dog to figure out how to access hidden treats or toys.
  • Maze toys: Maze toys require your dog to navigate a maze or puzzle in order to access a reward.
  • Interactive puzzles: These puzzles can range from simple to complex, and require your dog to use their problem-solving skills to complete the puzzle and access a reward.

When selecting toys and games for your Border Collie, it’s important to consider their individual preferences and play style.

Some dogs may prefer more physical activities like fetch and tug, while others may enjoy the mental challenge of puzzle toys, so do keep that in mind.


In conclusion, the question of whether or not Border Collies can live in apartments is a complex one with no easy answer.

It all depends on personal circumstances, the dog, the apartment, your free time and even proximity to parks.

While Collies are incredibly intelligent and adaptable dogs, they also have specific needs that must be met in order for them to live a happy life. However, with proper training, exercise, and attention, it’s possible for them to get used to apartments. 

It’s also important to remember that not all Border Collies are the same, and some may be better suited to apartment living than others.

Factors such as age, temperament, and activity level should all be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to keep a Border Collie in an apartment.

With the right care and attention, it’s possible for these intelligent and energetic dogs to live a happy and fulfilling life in an apartment.

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