Contributed by Sandy Medeiros
A lot of people know about poi in Hawaii. It is a staple in the Hawaiian diet. It is made by mashing the taro root to a consistency of a paste. But how many people know about the poi dog?
It was an actual breed of dog in Hawaii’s history. The breed was characterized by its free roaming habits, ability to eat anything and strong will. The poi dog was fed only poi (other foods were too valuable to give to a dog) and in turn, it was food for the Hawaiians. The Hawaiians, however, stopped this habit when it became unfashionable. Through interbreeding with feral dogs that the Europeans introduced to the islands, the breed of poi dog disappeared by the early 20th century. Today the term is used to describe a dog that is a mixture of different breeds. When you see a dog and you ask the owner, “What breed is that? If the owner says, “we’re not sure.” The answer is, “it’s a poi dog!”