The real dog behind the most iconic of Doge meme images has been identified as a Japanese Shiba Inu called Kabosu.
Detailed in a long form article by TheVerge
, the trail leads back to a 51-year old Japanese kindergarten teacher Atsuko Sato who posted pictures of her dog on her blog.
The original photo was posted back in February 2010 and it wasn't until September 2012 that a blog called shibaconfessions.tumblr.com, which places silly Comic Sans text over photos of Shibas, reused the image. The following month a post on Reddit showed a corgi photo next to the title, “LMBO LOOK @ THIS FUKKIN DOGE” - itself a reference to older uses of the misspelling of doge. Eventually the two sub-memes merged, with the doge as we know it today exploding in popularity in July 2013, according to Google Trends.
"Google Trends shows the internet’s interest in doge stayed level until July, 2013, when Sato’s photo of Kabosu got picked up as the meme’s most iconic image. Kabosu’s face was erased from her head to make a blank template, replaced by everything from a cat to Nicolas Cage. Crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was turned into a doge (“much crack, such enabler”), and in early December the ultra-conservative Texas Representative Steve Stockman arguably jumped the shark by tweeting an inexpertly doge-ified image of Republican Texas Senator John Cornyn, calling him out for being too liberal (“wow, kill GOP filibuster”).
" read TheVerge.
Sato also tells of how the dog was adopted from an animal shelter in November 2008. “She was a pedigree dog from a puppy mill, and when the puppy mill closed down, she was abandoned along with 19 other Shiba dogs,”
she explains. “Some of them were adopted, but the rest of them were killed.”
Sato is surprised at all the attention her dog has received, pointing out that “Around me, nobody knows about the doge meme. Maybe I don’t understand memes very well, because I’m living a such an analog life.”
I think it's safe to say she's not alone in that regard. Some of us spend half our lives on the internet and still don't 'get' the doge meme. Read the full article at TheVerge