Hawaiian Poi Dog Dog Breed Information, Images, Characteristics, Health

Basic Information - Hawaiian Poi Dog for Sale

Companion dog
Height Male:
36 - 38 cm14 - 15 inches
Height Female:
34 - 36 cm13 - 15 inches
Weight Male:
7 - 15 kg15 - 34 pounds
Weight Female:
6 - 13 kg13 - 29 pounds
Life Span:
5 - 8 Years
Litter Size:
3 - 5
Other Names:
Native Hawaiian Dog, and Hawaiian Islanders’ Dog., Poi Dog, Ilio, Hawaiian Dog
Colors Available:
any color with white markings, brown mostly
short and fine
Affectionate, Playful, Stubborn
Low Maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:

History - Hawaiian Poi Dog for Sale

The Hawaiian Poi Dog was a descendent of the dogs brought to the Islands by the Polynesian. These Polynesian dogs were themselves descendants of the kuri dog of New Zealand. These kuri dogs were originally from Indonesia. The Hawaiian Poi dog is now extinct but at one time was considered the spiritual protector of Hawaiian children and also used as food by hungry Native Hawaiians.

The dog was called poi which was the word for a food staple mad from the root of Taro and used to put weight on the dogs before they were eaten. Meat was not fed to the dogs because it was too scarce. There was no large mammals to hunt and so the breed was never given a standard. The Poi dog seen by European explorers were short legged, pot bellied canines that lived with the hogs in the towns. Because of what they ate, the dogs were not highly intelligent but were stubborn and hard to train. Because the dogs were not suited for much beyond food and a spiritual charm, they became extinct when the traditional religion was no longer practiced and eating dogs was no longer acceptable. The breed pretty much disappeared by the early 20th century. Very few images of the dogs remain except for ancient petroglyphs.

There was an attempt by the Honolulu Zoo in the late 1960’s to redevelop the breed using local dogs to determine a standard. Then the local dogs were bred as close to the standard as possible. In the third generation one dog was born with the traits of a Poi dog. There was not much more success with this and then the Polynesian ship travel between Tahiti and Hawaii was recreated and a dog taken along.

Today’s mixed breed dogs in Hawaii are called Poi dogs but also have the stubbornness, unique appearance and ability to eat anything it is given like the original Poi. The dogs are small, and should not be confused with the original Poi dogs.

Description - Hawaiian Poi Dog for Sale

As previously mentioned the Poi dog is somewhat unusual in size and shape due to what they ate. They looked somewhat like the native dogs of Polynesia and New Zealand. They have short legs, long bodies, somewhat obese and a very flat head. He had a short smooth coat, in any color or any pattern. They were however mostly brown and they might or might not have white markings.

Characteristics - Hawaiian Poi Dog for Sale

Children friendliness

The Hawaiian Poi dog was very friendly and good with children

Special talents

The Poi was considered a good luck charm and a spiritual protector of children


Given what they faced in life, the Poi dog was very adaptable, living anywhere on the islands and eating anything it could find.

Learning ability

Due to their poor diet, the Hawaiian Poi dog was seriously lacking in intelligence and learning ability.

Health Problems - Hawaiian Poi Dog for Sale

Probably due to its diet, the Poi dog had several problems to their health. Their poor diet led to a sluggishness both in movement and intelligence. Its development was hampered by a lack of protein. Malnutrition and serious over inbreeding caused a weakness and poor oral hygiene. Due to this lack of teeth and chewing the bones in the dogs heads became flat. The Poi had breathing issues and overall lethargy.

Caring The Pet - Hawaiian Poi Dog for Sale

Feeding the puppy

With meat being rare in Hawaii, none was available for the dogs. They were fed Poi – from the Taro plant roots. Puppies were fed 2-3 times a day.

Feeding the adult

The adult dog was fed once or twice a day the same as Poi puppies were fed.

Points for Good Health

The Hawaiian Poi dog basically has not good health points.

Games and Exercises

The Poi dog did not need and did not get much exercise, leading to its demise.

Comparison with other breeds

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