14 Surprising Things About Hawai‘i’s Most Popular Pomeranian, Hokulani the Dog
Get to know Hawai‘i most photogenic dog.
Hokulani is not your typical pomeranian. She’s one of Hawai‘i’s most beloved animals, with a big social media following. You might have seen her appearing on TV commercials, gracing the cover of Island Dog Magazine or showing off her adorable outfits and doggles around town (Don’t worry, the owner has a wife, a day job at Hawaiian Chip Company and a life of his own). Everyone wants to take their photo with Hokulani, but not everyone might know the story of this popular dog from Kāneʻohe.
14. How the Facebook Fan Page Started
Owner Norman Dung started Hokulani’s Facebook page in 2009 after a fan emailed him photos of Hokulani. He added more photos of his dog with everyone she met at social gatherings, shopping malls and events. If you take a photo with Hokulani, don’t be surprised if you end up in the “Hokulani’s Friends” album.
13. Her Following
As a public figure, Hokulani has more than 5,000 Facebook fans (that’s more than Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Gov. David Ige combined). Yes, it’s no secret she has plenty of friends in Hawai‘i. But she also has fans from around the world, including Australia, Japan, England, France, Switzerland and Germany. She meets them in Waikīkī and shopping malls. “The majority actually know her,” Dung says. “They’ve taken a picture with her.”
12. Famous Friends
NFL cheerleaders, Henry Kapono, Kapena, Frank DeLima, Augie T., Santa Claus, Wally Amos, Gov. David Ige—name a local celebrity—and she’s probably gotten a photo with them. One of the most memorable photos: Hokulani with Victoria’s Secret supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio. Hokulani’s fame helped her skip the ridiculously long line for the grand opening of the new Waikīkī store to get a few snapshots with Ambrosio.
11. Costume Contests
You’ll almost always see Hokulani dressed in an outfit. In 2015, Hokulani won first place in the four Halloween costume contests in which she was entered. Dung dressed Hokulani in a Miley-Cyrus-inspired costume (a white tank top and red doggles). Dung and his wife Debbie placed Hokulani in a wagon, complete with a Styrofoam brick wall, a rubber hammer and a “Wrecking Ball” attached to a chain.
10. Wardrobe by the numbers
PHOTOS: BRITTNEY NITTA-LEE
Her wardrobe consists of outfits purchased at Ross as well as donations from fans and dog store owners. Here’s a breakdown:
8 pairs of doggles in different colors
Two dozen hats
Dung maintains a schedule from memory to keep track of the outfits she wears. During Christmastime, Hokulani can be seen as Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, an elf, a reindeer and in a naughty-and-nice shirt with a hat. “Ladies don’t like to wear the same thing twice or be seen in the same thing twice,” Dung says.
9. Spreading Cheer
How can you resist smiling when you see Hokulani in a cute outfit and colorful doggles? “We always say that if Hoku makes someone laugh or smile, she’s done her job,” Dung says.
8. What “Hokulani” means
In Hawaiian, “Hoku” means heavenly star and “Lani” translates to friendly. “We thought it was a nice name at the time, and it turned out to be a very appropriate name,” Dung says.
7. As a pup
Hokulani was born July 15, 2003 in Hilo on the Big Island. Dung adopted Hokulani when she was 8 weeks old.
Hokulani has two brothers. One lives in Nu‘uanu and another in California.
Dung grooms her with a FlowBee haircutting system. You may remember it from the 1980s as a popular vacuum haircutting device used to maintain a mullet.
4. Favorite treat?
Natural chicken jerky. At the Windward Mall farmers market, a vendor spoils her with dried ‘ahi and dried aku. “She just goes crazy when she goes there,” Dung says.
3. Where You’ll Find Her
She is a regular visitor to the Pet Expo, Eat the Street and Honolulu Night Market. You’ll also find Hokulani at the shopping mall—doing what else?—getting her photo taken with fans.
2. Calendar girl
She has appeared in multiple calendars. Our favorite: Hokulani in a homemade hot-air balloon costume on the cover of 2015 I “PAWS” Hawai‘i calendar. You can pick up a calendar from the Don Quijote store. Be on the look out for Hokulani’s appearance on two more calendars in 2016!
1. Christmas wish
Her dream: “To be Grace Park’s dog on Hawai‘i Five-0.” Hokulani has plenty of photos with local celebrities, but not actress Grace Park. One time, Dung spotted Park shopping at Ward Center, but didn’t ask her for a photo. “It’s her private time,” he says. “We just stood from afar and she never noticed us.”
Did you take a photo with Hokulani? Let us know in the comments.