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Can Border Collies Live In Apartments: (5 Must Know Tips))

Can such an active energetic breed live in an apartment? It’s a great question, and in this article, we’ll answer everything about Border Collies living their best life, inside an apartment!

If these basic needs are met, collies will be more than okay with the smaller living space.


Can a Border Collie Live In An Apartment

The truth is that border collies can live in an apartment without an issue if they receive enough exercise, mental stimulation, time outside, and are not left alone for long periods. Follow those basic rules, and your border collie will be just fine inside an apartment.

The obvious difference is that most apartments are smaller than houses and don’t typically come with a private yard. But, apart from that, an apartment is pretty similar to a house.

Below I’ll explain the most important factors to help your border collie adapt to an apartment, as well as how to handle the lack of yard and the dreaded potty situation…

5 Things To Make Apartment-Life Easy For Border Collies

Although life in an apartment can work out well for most collies, it doesn’t come as easy as living in a big house with an expansive yard. So here’s what’s needed to make it work.

1. Time outside of the apartment

In order for your collie to feel calm, relaxed, and content living in a smaller space, she must receive ample time outside of the apartment.

In fact, the smaller living area actually makes no difference whatsoever AS LONG as she gets her fair share of outdoor time every single day.

I can say this with conviction as I have many friends who own Siberian huskies (and a few collies) and live in apartments in the city. Their collies are super happy when inside, but this is likely due to the fact they spend 2 or 3 hours at the park every day.

2. Sufficient exercise

Again, similar to spending time outside, border collies are a high-energy breed that absolutely must receive around 2 hours of exercise per day.

If your collie isn’t outside getting her much-needed exercise, issues will arise quickly. A lack of exercise will lead to pent-up energy and unwanted behavior.

Couple this with living in a smaller living space without her own yard and she could get frustrated much quicker.

3. Sufficient mental stimulation

Border collies are the world’s most intelligent breed, and they need their minds put to work! Regardless of whether you live in an apartment or a mansion, if a collie isn’t mentally stimulated, big problems will happen.

The truth is that without mental stimulation, she’ll never truly be tired or worn out, regardless of how much physical exercise she might receive.

You’ll need to ensure you prioritize part of your day (preferably the morning) to either train your collie, work on her commands, play nose work games, puzzle toys, or take her to the park to socialize with other dogs.

This, coupled with sufficient physical exercise will leave her resting, napping, or sleeping whenever she hasn’t got much else to do.

4. Not being left alone too often

Border collies, like most working dogs, hate being left alone for too long.

With the smaller living space of an apartment, coupled with having no yard, it can get very boring, very quickly for a collie who’s left alone.

If you work long hours and will need to leave your collie alone in the apartment, this is going to make it very difficult for her to remain calm, stress-free, and happy. You would likely need to hire get a dog sitter to take her for a walk (ideal) or at least sit with her for some of the time.

5. Dog-friendly apartment block & neighborhood

Last but not least, the apartment block itself must be dog-friendly and appropriate. The reason I say this is because some apartment blocks might not allow dogs OR they have a specific list of dog breeds that aren’t allowed (yep, this is common).

Additionally, your neighbors must be informed that you’ll have a dog in there, so they understand when your collie inevitably barks a little.

Plus, it’s necessary to ensure the neighborhood and your neighbors aren’t noisy. If your collie is left home alone in a noisy or unsettling environment, this will cause a lot of stress and anxiety, making it hard for her to relax and remain happy.

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What This All Comes Down To…

The key factors mentioned above (apart from number five), all come down to one thing… having enough time!

I know it sounds silly, or maybe even obvious… but whether or not your collie will live happily in an apartment all comes down to whether or not you have enough time to prioritize her.

If you have the free time, everything becomes easy…

If you have the time, taking her outside of the apartment in the morning and evening for an hour or two each session won’t be an issue. Additionally, if you have the time, then you’ll be able to ensure she receives enough mental stimulation and socialization each and every day.

What makes apartment life difficult and likely unachievable is if you work long hours or can’t provide your collie with a sufficient amount of everything.

If you can, then the time your collie has to spend inside the apartment won’t be a problem at all.

Over the years, I have spoken to countless owners about this subject, and I must say that many of them have very strong opinions against owning a high-energy breed like a collie inside an apartment. But the truth of the matter is that it can be done as long as the owner has enough time to take their dog outside, exercise, train them, and be there for them.

Do Border Collies Need a Yard?

One thing that most apartments come without, is a private yard.

And of course, having a private yard is extremely beneficial when owning a dog. Some owners wouldn’t even dream of owning a dog without a yard. And that’s understandable.

Not only can the dog spend time outside roaming around, but they can be potty trained outside, which is huge.

But still, the reality is that even a border collie (a high-energy breed) can live in an apartment without a yard. As long and she spends ample time outside, and is trained to eliminate in a small area of one room, a yard is not a necessity.

In fact, after speaking to many owners about the importance of a yard, most responses I got back explained how their collie didn’t care about the large yard unless their owner was there playing with them in it. And so if the owner has enough time to play with their collie in the yard, they would also have enough time to take their collie for a walk… So in reality, although having a yard might be convenient, it’s not a necessity.

Let’s move on to potty training.

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Potty Training Your Collie in an Apartment

The best way to approach potty training if you live in an apartment is to choose a specific corner/area of one room that you deem to be the most hygienic (away from the kitchen or your bedroom) and train your collie to eliminate there.

In normal circumstances, I would always say that potty pads are not a good idea, but for those living in an apartment without a yard, they are necessary.

The potty pad will help your collie learn where it is she should eliminate. And after you get a few trial runs correct, along with using a set command like “potty time”, your collie will know exactly where she needs to pee and poop.

Unfortunately, there will be mistakes for a while until she really gets the gist of it. But this is to be expected with any potty training journey.

The key to potty training success is to take her to the spot as many times as you can, in anticipation she might need to go. Classic pee/poop moments happen AFTER napping, sleeping, playing, eating, drinking, or getting excited. The more successful runs you have, the more you can reward her, and the quicker she will learn.

Key Points Summarized

Let’s run through the most important points/thoughts in a summary below.

Your border collie can absolutely live in an apartment
The key to success is having enough free time to prioritize your collie
She must spend a lot of time outside, exercising, and receiving mental stimulation to remain content
She must not spend a lot of time left alone inside an apartment
The apartment block must be dog-friendly
Your neighbors must be informed about the fact you’ll have a dog in the apartment
Have a local dog park or grassy area near the apartment

Thank you for reading!

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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.