The internet dog world is mourning the loss of a true icon. Kabosu, the beloved Shiba Inu whose puzzled expression became the ubiquitous “Doge” meme, has passed away at around 18 years old.
Kabosu’s owner, Atsuko Sato, announced the sad news on her blog on May 24th, 2024. After battling leukemia and liver disease, Kabosu “quietly passed away as if asleep” while Sato caressed her.
“I think Kabo-chan was the happiest dog in the world. And I was the happiest owner,” Sato wrote emotionally.

It was a humble photo from 2010 that launched Kabosu into internet stardom. Sato had rescued the pup from a puppy mill, and when she posted a picture of Kabosu sitting with her paws crossed, it quickly went viral on Reddit as the “Doge” meme, using broken English captions to imagine the dog’s inner thoughts.
From there, Doge exploded into one of the most famous memes ever, dominating social media and workplace email chains for years with its distinctively silly charm. The meme culture even directly inspired the creation of Dogecoin in 2013 as a light-hearted “joke” cryptocurrency by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer. Originally launched as a satirical take on the wild speculation of the crypto markets, Dogecoin quickly developed its own vibrant online community.
What started as an internet prank crypto token then skyrocketed to become one of the largest digital currencies. The Dogecoin ($DOGE) market capitalization grew from virtually nothing to over $23 billion by 2024, fueled by a dedicated community of investors who embraced the coin’s fun, irreverent branding. Celebrity endorsements from the likes of Elon Musk, Snoop Dogg and Gene Simmons further propelled Dogecoin’s rise.

Kabosu’s iconic photo was memorialized in various ways over the years, from being auctioned as a $4 million NFT artwork to having a $100,000 statue erected in Sato’s hometown park last year by the Own The Doge crypto organization. Sato and the Doge community also raised over $1 million for the Save the Children charity through Dogecoin donations.

Most fittingly, Kabosu’s puzzled face was emblazoned across Twitter (now X) in 2023 when Elon Musk changed the app’s icon to honor the Doge dog that sparked such an iconic piece of internet culture – and one of the biggest “memecoin” cryptocurrencies.

While Kabosu may now be gone, her meme legacy will live on as long as the internet and Dogecoin exist. The quirky, quintessentially 2010s vibe she embodied brought immeasurable laughs, smiles and wealth to people across the globe. Doge may be dead, but doge – and $DOGE – will never die.