I’m hapa and so is my dog. While I’m half-Korean and half-Anglo, and he’s half-Akita and half-Siberian Husky, I feel a certain common bond with this raggedy old hound, especially when it comes to issues of identity and “breed purity.”
Countless times throughout my life, I have been asked the question, “What are you?” Doggy Dog gets it too. I can’t take him anywhere without some dog fancier stopping me to ask, “What kind of dog is that?” I always reply proudly, “He’s an Akita/Husky mix.” Nice people will say, “Oh, he’s very handsome!” or “What a great dog!” However, pure-bred Akita owners are another story: First, they never approach me about Doggy Dog; it is I who approach them because I am a sucker for any cute dog, especially Akitas. I say something like, “Oh, an Akita!” and follow up with my proud claim, “My dog is half-Akita!”
I never fail to get a yawning and disinterested, “Huh” from these folks, who can’t be bothered to pay any mind to my moth-eaten old cross-breed. Clearly, Doggy Dog is considered a second-class citizen among pure-bred Akita owners. True, he lacks the oversized, massive head of an Akita; his fur is not as plush (it’s very soft, but is a bit bristly in parts); and, well, he looks like he’s got Husky in him.
While Doggy Dog doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what people think of him, I can’t help but be slightly annoyed by these pure-bred dog owners’ obvious disdain for my half-breed best friend. Purebreds ain’t all that; in fact, some breeds are notorious for being prone to certain types of physical weakness, e.g., German Shepherds frequently suffer from hip dysplasia in old age, and Welsh Corgis suffer from short leggedness. (That was a joke.) Mixed dogs always seem to be healthier and smarter, and each one is unique. I love my hapa “Huskita,” no matter what those dog purists think. He’s just like me: half-and-half, and better for it.