Ekuke Dog: The Protective Nigerian Local Dog Breed

Every continent seems to have its variety of mixed breeds that have become normalized through the years. From Nigeria, Africa comes the mid-sized Ekuke Dog– a mongrel that has become a staple to many Nigerian communities and has also caught traction in other regions.

What is an Ekuke Dog?

The term “Ekuke” is commonly used to denote a collection of indigenous dog breeds prevalent in Nigeria and various other regions of Africa. These dogs possess notable physical characteristics, including a lengthy snout, erect ears, and a thin, elongated body, leading some to believe they represent a distinct breed. However, this notion is erroneous, as these dogs are not a formally recognized breed.

A Brief History of the Nigerian Ekuke Dog

ekuke dog on the street

The history of the Nigerian Ekuke Dog is not well-documented, but it is believed to have originated in the Middle Ages.

The Ekuke Dog was likely bred from a mix of local dogs and foreign breeds brought to Nigeria by European traders.

The Nigerians used the Ekuke Dog for various purposes, including hunting, guarding livestock, and protecting homes.

In the early 20th century, this African Dog began to be exported to other parts of the world, and the breed quickly gained popularity in the United States and Europe.

Today, this local Nigerian dog is a popular breed of dog worldwide and is used as a guard dog, a working dog, and a companion dog.

Characteristics of the Ekuke

Ekuke dogs are medium-sized dogs that typically weigh between 20 and 40 pounds and average to stand 20”-24” tall at the shoulder. They’re strong and agile dogs with a muscular build, short, dense black or brown coats, or a combination of the two colors.

Ekuke dogs have long, narrow heads with pointy ears and black noses, tightly curled tails, strong jaws, and sharp teeth, which they use for hunting and guarding. The eyes are often dark and expressive, and the tail is long and bushy.

Ekuke Dogs Behavior and Temperament:

puppy ekuke dog lying on the ground.

Ekuke dogs are generally known to be friendly and social with their owners and other dogs. They are intelligent and trainable but may sometimes be somewhat independent and stubborn.

They are also known to be very loyal and protective of their owners and home, making them good guard dogs. However, they may be reserved or even aloof with strangers, so proper socialization is vital from an early age to ensure they are comfortable around unfamiliar people and situations.

Ekuke dogs are generally not very high-energy but enjoy daily walks and playtime. They are adaptable to living in both urban and rural environments as long as they have access to shelter and protection from extreme temperatures.

Nigerian Ekuke Canine Pros and Cons

Nigerian ekuke dog standing on the ground licking its nose.

Here are some of the pros and cons of owning an Ekuke dog:

Ekuke (or Bingo) Pros:

  1. This is a Loyal and intelligent breed.
  2. They are good with children and warm to family members and friends.
  3. As aforementioned, they make excellent guard dogs.
  4. They are eager to please, making them easy to train.
  5. Their coat type assists them in being considered a Low-maintenance breed.
  6. Bingos are willing to eat just about anything you can put before them. Healthwise, this may not be too good, as they might eat many things they shouldn’t. However, this trait lands itself in the pros section due to being easy to feed or unfussy eaters.

Cons about owning an Ekuke:

  1. They may be aggressive toward other dogs if not properly conditioned and trained.
  2. They may bark excessively at times, making life difficult for apartment living.
  3. Ekukes require a lot of exercises, so if the owner isn’t up to the task, they’ll pay for it with an anxious, overenergized dog doing what they will to the home.
  4. Finding a relatively local (and reputable) dog breeder may be difficult if you live outside Africa.

Exercise Requirements

Nigerian ekuke dog roaming on the streets

Ekuke dogs are very active and require plenty of exercises. This is great if you’re a jogger or enjoy taking long walks, but the extra effort must be made for people who aren’t as active. They are best suited for homes with large yards, compounds, or access to plenty of open space.

They enjoy playing fetch which is an excellent opportunity to couple training with exercise for people who want to kill two birds with one stone. Ekuke dogs are also very intelligent and can be easily trained to perform basic commands while exhausting some pent-up energy, but they require firm, consistent training from a young age.

Bingo Health Risks and Life Expectancy

Ekuke dogs are generally healthy but prone to specific health problems like hip and elbow dysplasia. Breeders must have their Ekuke dogs screened for these conditions before breeding them (these kinds of actions will separate the reputable from the unreputable).

With a clean bill of health, this breed can live a good long life, averaging between 12-15 years old.

Here are 10 additional facts about the Nigerian Ekuke dog:

local Nigerian ekuke dog in a home
  • Ekuke dogs are thought to have been introduced into Nigeria over 1,000 years ago.
  • The Ekuke is also known as the Nigerian Native Dog or the Nigedog (and don’t forget being called the Bingo!).
  • They have a robust immune system, often strong enough for pups to live long and healthy lives despite never being dewormed or vaccinated- even since birth.
  • Ekuke dogs are known for their loud bark, which they use to warn off intruders.
  • The Nigerian Ekuke Dog breed is among the cheapest pets you could get. In Nigeria, they are sold for what would be equal to about $10.00 in the US.
  • Bingos have been renowned for their versatility and adaptability.
  • It is said that the Ekuke is a blend of at least three different breeds- the Basenjis, the Azawakhs, and the Greyhounds.
  • Despite being numerous, the breed is not appreciated in Nigeria as much as in foreign varieties. They’re often looked down upon as mongrels or outcasts.
  • Ekuke dogs are an excellent choice for families with children due to their willingness to play, they’re gentle and patient, and they grow to a size that isn’t intimidating to small children.
  • Unfortunately, this breed has fallen victim to being eaten in countries worldwide with canines on the menu. On menus, it’s called “meat 404.”


2 Nigerian ekuke dogs in a home

Ekuke dogs have become more popular over the years, but there’s still a strange sense of resentment over the breed locally- though nobody can understand why.

It could come from a history of heart-hardening toward this local breed as it has been used as a food source when things have gotten scarce.

They’re often spoken of in a derogatory way by people who don’t own the breed. Those who own them have a completely different take on the breed, whether used for utility purposes or kept as loving family pets.

If you are looking for a loyal, protective, and intelligent dog, the Nigerian Ekuke is an excellent choice. Ekuke dogs will surely bring years of love and companionship to your family.


  1. Dnbstories. (2021, May 17). All about the Nigerian local dog breeds called Ekuke or bingo. DNB Stories Africa. Retrieved April 18, 2023, from https://dnbstories.com/2018/09/nigerian-local-dog-breeds-called-ekuke-or-bingo.html
  2. Ekuke- the canine outcaste – pets – Nigeria. Nairaland, the Nigerian Forum. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2023, from https://www.nairaland.com/4116430/ekuke-canine-outcaste

About the author: Driven by his lifelong passion for dogs and an insatiable curiosity about their diverse breeds, Pablo Pascua founded dogbreedsfaq.com. Through this website, he seeks to expand his knowledge and share his findings with fellow dog enthusiasts. Having owned several dogs throughout his life, Pablo’s experiences have fueled his interest in learning more about these beloved animals. His mission is to provide accurate and comprehensive information to help pet owners make informed decisions about their furry companion.