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How far can border collies run: (running guide)

If you’re interested in running with your collie, you’ll want to know when they can start running with you, and how far they can go.

When Can I Start Running With My Collie?

The quick answer: Owners can start running with their border collie once they are at least 12 months. This ensures their joints, bones, and muscles are strong enough to take the stress of constant running.

It’s crucial to avoid over exercising a puppy, as this could negatively impact growth or cause serious injuries during their development stage.

  • This is why it’s necessary to wait until at least 12 months old before taking them out for prolonged running sessions.

Growing puppies should always stick to their own tailored exercise routine. Border collie puppy exercise routine

how far can border collie run

How Far Can Adult Border Collies Run?

The quick answer: A healthy adult border collie would be able to run up to 7-12 kilometers or about 4-8 miles in suitable conditions and running surfaces. (with no training)

It’s important to keep in mind the exact distance a collie can run will depend on a number of factors, including their age, health, training, and the conditions in which they are running.

I personally know a few owners that have slowly built up their collie’s stamina, endurance and strength and are now comfortably running about 15 kilometers at a time with them.

Helpful & related: Border collie calorie needs

6 Tips For Running With a Border Collie

Daily Dog Life x The Puppy Mag

Here are some basic, yet fundamental tips to help running with your collie remain safe and enjoyable.

Start slowly:

If your border collie is not used to running long distances, it is important to gradually build up their endurance. Start with short runs and gradually increase the distance over time to allow your dog’s body to adapt.

Pushing your collie too hard too quickly will result in injury and a long recovery period.

Keep your dog hydrated:

Make sure to bring water with you on your runs and offer it to your collie regularly to keep them hydrated. This is especially important on hot or humid days.

There many handy portable running bottle/bowl combination available to buy on Amazon. These are perfect for bringing along on a run.

Choose an appropriate location:

Before your collie is extremely well trained and can be trusted to avoid distractions, it’s crucial to choose a quiet place.

Choose a safe location away from moving vehicles and ideally the fewer people the better.

Pay attention to your dog’s body language:

Your border collie will let you know if they are getting tired or need a break. Pay attention to their body language and listen to them when they signal that they need to rest.

Top tip: Stick to you the pace you collie sets. Do not run so fast that they are behind you. You always want them to be level or slightly in front of you so you can see them at all times.

Stay on a leash:

It is important to keep your border collie on a leash when running to ensure their safety. This will also help you maintain control and prevent your dog from getting distracted or running off.

Top tip: We recommend using a hands-free leash. Not only is this more comfortable, but it’s much safer for both of you. Hands-free are often made partly of bungee cord so any harsh stops or pulls are softened.

Take regular breaks:

Don’t push your border collie too hard. Make sure to take regular breaks to allow them to rest and recover. This will help prevent injury and ensure that your dog is able to enjoy running with you for years to come.

Save the marathon training for when your collie stays at home. It’s important to keep the running session tolerable and safe.

Times Owners Shouldn’t Run With Their Collie:

Let’s quickly cover when it’s inappropriate to run with your border collie.

  • Your collie is under 12 months & still growing
  • Your collie is over 8 years old (joint issues at risk)
  • Your collie has an existing health condition
  • Your collie is taking medication for a health condition
  • Your collie simply doesn’t enjoy the run and constantly gets distracted
  • Your collie shows sign of injury from a previous run

While the above might seem obvious, it’s still important to clarify.

Can You Run a Border Collie Too Much?

The quick answer: Yes, you can definitely over run your border collie. Despite being naturally fit and athletic, border collies should not run long distances every day.

What’s too much?

Well, it’ll be different for every collie, but in general, your collie should not run long distances every day.

Long distance running (5 kilometers or more) should only happen once or twice per week. More than this could result in injury or increase the chances of joint issues.

Are Collies Good Long Distance Runners?

The quick answer: Border collies can become excellent long distance runners with training. Some collies have reportedly run 40-50 kilometers at a time (with breaks).

Distances like that are admittedly extraordinary, but still, most collies with regular training could get into the 20-30 kilometer range.

Important reminder: While collies might be capable of running such distances, owners must always keep in mind their joint health and future health.

More Border Collie Articles


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.