Pure or poi? Find right dog to enjoy
Question: We've decided to welcome a dog to the family. I have my heart set on a pure breed and my wife wants a poi dog. What are the pros and cons of each?
Answer: We're biased at the Hawaiian Humane Society -- we're pro-poi because we have so many looking for loving homes. But we love all dogs.
Your wife is probably thinking about cost. Humane Society adoption fees are around $60, and we have a wider selection of poi dogs than purebreds.
By no means are poi dogs problem-free, but common problems associated with certain breeds -- such as a short life expectancy for Saint Bernards, hip dysplasia with golden retrievers and eye ailments with Pekingese -- are less likely.
Many find purebreds beautiful. And they do offer a certain amount of predictability. You'll have a general idea of how big your puppy will grow and what he'll look like. You can have a general idea of his temperament and exercise needs.
But there's a bigger issue to discuss: Where you get a dog is even more important than what you get. Pet overpopulation is a major issue in Hawaii, so welcoming a shelter dog to your family gives you the opportunity to make a difference.
Q: If we decide on a purebred, how do we find a trustworthy breeder?
A: Get a referral from a veterinarian, friends, breed clubs or the Hawaii Kennel Club. Hawaii's dog magazine Ilio also includes breeder guides for dogs and cats.
If you have a choice between a local breeder or a pet store, a local breeder gives you the opportunity to inspect the living quarters, which should be indoors, and tells you how often the mother dog has been bred. You should also have the opportunity to interact with the puppies and their mother before you make a commitment.
Records of veterinary visits should be available and the breeder should explain the dog's medical history and what vaccinations your new pup will need. Also, it's important to find out if the breeder has a policy for returning the animal if you are not satisfied.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.