Training & Behavior

Are Border Collies Good Apartment Dogs?

Border Collies are smart and good-looking dogs, so there’s no wonder that a lot of people want to have them. But the question is this: are Border Collies good apartment dogs? While some Border Collie owners attest to this possibility, doing so would be challenging.

In this post, I will discuss the challenges of raising a Border Collie in an apartment setting. And if you’re keen to get an apartment dog, I also listed alternative breeds if Border Collies prove to be impossible to handle.

Challenges of raising a Border Collie in an apartment

Border Collies are believed to be the smartest domesticated dog breed. However, it comes with a twist: they are unpopular for apartment dwellers. The following are some of the reasons why:

1. They were bred for the outdoors.

are Border Collies good apartment dogs

Border Collies were bred as herding dogs. They are tasked to maintain livestock in the farmlands of Scotland. With this, they were made to have endless stamina, agility, and unbeatable work ethic. They are also watchful and finds happiness in performing tasks.

With this temperament, an apartment setting is the last place a Border Collie would love to be. There’s no yard for them to run on. In turn, a Border Collie will wreak havoc inside an apartment – toppling objects, shattering vases, and even knocking down a child.

Border Collies are far from quiet and low-profile canines. They are too yappy for high-rise living.

2. They are very energetic.

With a dog packing such enormous energy, apartment living isn’t the best environment to live in. Border Collies require a lot of exercise, including playtime, long walks, and just about any activity that will channel their vigor.

Some pet owners succeeded in raising a Border Collie in an apartment by taking them to frequent outdoor walks. This requires a lot of time and dedication that most pet owners don’t have the luxury of doing.

Aside from that, not all Border Collies will respond positively to such a setup. Unless you’re a stay-at-home person with lots of time to spare, a Border Collie may not be the right apartment dog for you. 

3. They are loud.

Another thing that makes Border Collie a problematic apartment dog is their tendency to bark a lot. This occurs when the dog is left for long hours without exercise and mental stimulation.

While barking is inevitable for all dogs (except Basenjis), Border Collies can surely give your neighbors an unwanted serenade.

This isn’t surprising as Border Collies are herding dogs. Aside from nipping, they bark at livestock to keep them within the confines of the farm. They also bark loudly to alert their owners if there’s danger nearby.

In an apartment setting, Border Collies can overreact to common stimuli. For example, the sound of the doorbell could be enough to send a Border Collie in a barking fit. The same goes for vacuum cleaners, TV sounds, and so on.

4. They don’t want to be left alone.

Another thing you should know about Border Collies is they hate being left alone. These canines were bred as companion dogs for farmers, so it’s not surprising that they will go bonkers when left in isolation.

Border Collies prefer staying near their pack or master. In a domesticated setting, humans are their ‘flock’ that they are tasked to protect. Without anyone around, a Border Collie may start to freak out.

Over time, a Border Collie left alone for long hours will develop negative behavior like excessive barking, destructive chewing, separation anxiety, and accidents.

5. They can target smaller pets.

Inside an apartment, a Border Collie has very limited space to roam around. And due to boredom, they are likely to target smaller pets like kittens, hamsters, rabbits, and so on. If you’re willing to gamble with a Border Collie in an apartment, you should avoid getting other pets smaller than the canine.

Remember, Border Collies are notorious herders. They will try to herd smaller pets by nipping on them. While unintentional, such nippy behavior can lead to harm and life-threatening injuries to other animals.

6. They are very sensitive.

Lastly, Border Collies are sensitive dogs. They don’t handle chaotic households and extremely noisy environments well.

Aside from that, Border Collies aren’t fond of kids’ pinchy behavior. They can easily snap if you let young kids roughhouse the dog.

Tips in raising a Border Collie in an apartment

Are you willing to prove people wrong that Border Collies can’t thrive in apartments? If so, the following tips will be a big help in reaching such a goal:

1. Talk to your landlord.

I’m not going to lie, raising Border Collies in an apartment is difficult. The first challenge you have to face is seeking the approval of your landlord.

Most landlords won’t mind having a Border Collie in their units, but some who know the breed will surely raise their concerns.

It’s important to talk to your landlord about it so that you can clarify your intentions. Some landlords will impose rules or grounds in case the dog becomes a nuisance to the neighbors.

Aside from that, expect your deposit to become much higher than normal. This is understandable as the landlord needs to protect his or her property in case your dog damages anything.

2. Plan outdoor trips

You should never keep your Border Collie inside an apartment for the entire day. You need to plan outdoor trips to keep the doggo outdoors as much as possible.

I suggest creating a schedule of dog activities that involve outdoor settings. Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Multiple walks. The easiest and most convenient way of draining a Border Collie’s energy is taking it in multiple, long walks.
  • Dog parks. Dog parks are your bosom friends when raising a Border Collie in an apartment. You can never have too many dog parks when you have this breed. While in the park, make the most out of the visit by playing Frisbee and other tiring exercises with your dog.
  • Swimming. Border Collies love swimming, so try to look for local dog pools where your pet can take a dip. A lake or beach is also a good choice as long as they allow pets on it.

3. Make playtime mentally stimulating.

You have to make playtime as stimulating as possible for your Border Collie. There are days when you can’t go out, so indoor playtime is your dog’s only source of exercise. It can be a blizzard, storm, and other weather disturbances.

Consider getting interactive toys like tug ropes, sniff mats, puzzles, and chew toys to keep your Border Collie happy indoors.

4. Meet up with neighbors

Socialization is an integral part of raising a Border Collie, whether it’s in an apartment or not. This will help desensitize your Border Collie to other people and pets. But before the first meeting, make sure that your dog is fully trained for basic obedience.

You can talk to your neighbors who also have dogs if they are amenable to a ‘playdate’ in the dog park. This way, you can train your dog to be more tolerant of other pets, especially if you’re planning to get another canine.

5. Utilize your treadmill

Is it raining cats and dogs outside? In that case, your treadmill will come in handy for your Border Collie. This will allow your dog to expel its energy while getting ample exercise. It’s an excellent alternative since there are days when going outside isn’t possible.

6. Enroll your dog in agility classes

Another great way to keep your apartment-raised Border Collie happy is by enrolling it in an agility class. There can be local dog centers in your area where they offer agility courses. Your dog can even compete in agility competitions that the AKC often hosts through the local dog clubs.

7. Don’t leave the dog alone.

Lastly, never leave a Border Collie alone in an apartment without anything to do. This is a recipe for disaster, which your neighbor will surely dislike.

If you need to work long hours, it might be best to hire a dog walker or pet sitter. You can also avail of dog boarding, so your Border Collie will be cared for throughout the day.

Alternative dog breeds for apartment living

If the Border Collie breed is impossible for you to raise in an apartment, you can consider the following dogs instead:

  • Poodle. A combination of smart and good-looking, Poodles are amazing apartment dogs, regardless of size. Just make sure that you provide them with a companion as Poodles are prone to separation anxiety.
  • French Bulldogs. As the quintessential apartment dogs of New York City, Frenchies are popular for their laidback personality. They are also small, which is perfect for typical NYC flats.
  • Shih Tzu. For those looking for a low-shedding dog, Shih Tzus are great picks. They have show-stopping hair and a temperament that matches first-time owners.
  • Pug. Pugs are the total opposites of Border Collies when it comes to energy level. While they are playful, Pugs don’t need a lot of exercise, and they mostly prefer lazying around an apartment.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This breed is a small yet elegant dog with a sporty nature. They love cuddles, which isn’t surprising for a lap dog. Like Pugs, they love a good playtime, but their intensity is very manageable.
  • Bulldog. Do you want a muscular dog but without an intimidating personality? Bulldogs might be right for you. These sweethearts don’t need a lot of exercise, and they will be happy to live in an apartment.
  • Boston Terrier. Dubbed as the ‘American Gentleman’, this fine-looking canine is lively but not demanding when it comes to space and exercise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is Border Collie good for first-time owners?

A: Border Collies are suitable for experienced owners. This breed can be intense, and it needs a lot of work when it comes to training and socialization. If you have zero knowledge in raising a Border Collie, you’re better off getting a mellower breed as a pet.

Q: Do Border Collies do well in hot weather?

A: Border Collies thrive just fine in a warm climate. They love days with nice warm weather since it’s perfect for running, herding, and expelling their energy outdoors. But just like any dog, you should keep your Border Collie hydrated to prevent heat exhaustion. You should also limit its exposure to heat, especially during summer.

Q: What are the disadvantages of having a Border Collie?

A: Border Collies are amazing pets, but they tend to be nippy and extremely energetic. They require a lot of physical and mental stimulation, which means owners have to dedicate time to raising this breed. Also, Border Collies are not the top choice when it comes to apartment pets.

Q: Will a Border Collie protect you?

A: Border Collies have a protective personality, especially toward the person they bond with the most. They are also dedicated watchdogs and will be happy to guard your property. And if there’s imminent danger, this dog will bark loudly to alert its owners.

Q: Do Border Collies calm down with age?

A: Border Collies tend to calm down once they reach the age of 6 to 7 years old. Still, some may retain their active personality for one to two years more before starting to tone down. Nevertheless, proper socialization and training will help control your Border Collie’s hyperactive personality.

Q: How many hours of exercise do Border Collies need?

A: Border Collies need around 1 to 2 hours of exercise per day. This is to satisfy their active nature as herding dogs. It’s important to quell a Border Collie’s pent-up energy to avoid negative behavior from developing. You should ensure that the exercise is both mentally and physically rewarding for your canine.

Final words

Are Border Collies good apartment dogs? The answer depends on your preference. But in general, Border Collies aren’t popular for apartment living. Their intense energy calls for a large yard where the dog can run around. But if you’re bent on keeping this breed on a high-rise, there are some steps you can take to make it happen. It’s not easy, but it can work for some pet owners.

Are you raising a Border Collie in an apartment? How’s it going so far? Share your thoughts below!

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