Craziest Doge Dog Breed Facts
The doge meme went viral in the early 2010s. And for good reason. Even if you're not a dog lover, who wouldn't love that loveable face?
The doge meme, a play on the word dog, features a quizzical Shiba Inu, and this dog breed has become the face of dogecoin.
But there is much more to the doge dog breed than just memes and cryptocurrency. These are the wildest facts about Shiba Inus.
The Original Doge Was Named Kabosu.
When a Japanese kindergarten teacher named Atsuko Sato adopted a Shiba Inu, she had no idea that her furry friend would blossom into an internet sensation. She named the pupper "Kabosu" after a type of Japanese citrus fruit.
Atsuko began sharing photos of Kabosu on her blog in 2010, including a shot of the Shiba Inu glaring pointedly at the camera.
The rest is history.
Doge Started on Tumblr and Reddit.
The photo of Kabosu began spreading on Reddit after user papajohn56 reposted it with the caption: "LMBO LOOK @ THIS ****** DOGE." Was the misspelling of dog intentional or not?
We have no idea, but the name caught on fast. A blog called "Your Daily Doge" soon surfaced, along with multiple doge threads on 4chan and Tumblr. For a while, the posts included all kinds of dogs, not just Shiba Inus.
Eventually, the original doge meme developed its own specific style, and people began referring to Shiba Inus as "shibes." The growth in summer 2012 coincided with the popularity of the single topic Tumblr Shiba Confessions, as people began to refer to these dogs as "shibes."
Doge Popularity Peaked in Early 2014.
While the doge meme was floating around as early as 2012, it reached peak popularity at the end of 2013 and into the beginning of 2014.
The meme typically featured photoshopped images of the doge dog breed with funny captions illustrating the dog's thoughts. If you're planning on making a doge meme yourself, don't forget to include the words "wow, very, such and so." It's the perfect doge meme recipe.
Doge became so popular that the meme was turned into merchandise, including T-shirts and coffee mugs.
Dogecoin Started as a Joke.
Most of us collectively cringe at the existence of dogecoin, but it seems to be here to stay.
Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency designed by two software engineers, Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer. When it was introduced in 2013, it was meant to be satire. Eight years later, some have invested in it seriously. On May 5, 2021, dogecoin reached a market capitalization of $85,314,347,523.
The moral of this story? Don't laugh at your kids for trying to launch the next internet trend. You never know what'll catch on.
Dogecoin Has Actually Helped Charities.
The fires of dogecoin were fanned into existence by a thriving online community. While the internet has its dark sides, dogecoin proved that online communities can do good, too. Dogecoin set up a fundraiser in 2014 to raise $50,000 to help the Jamaican bobsled team go to the Sochi Winter Olympics.
After that campaign was a success, the Dogecoin Foundation set out to raise 40,000,000 dogecoins to help build a well in Kenya. Named Doge4Water, the operation was a success. Donations rolled in from over 4,000 donors, totaling the equivalent of about $30,000 USD.
In 2014, the dogecoin community also raised 67.8 million dogecoins, or roughly $55,000, to sponsor NASCAR driver Josh Wise. Josh finished 20th in the race, but his doge-adorned car was featured for almost a full minute, with race commentators chatting about dogecoin and spreading awareness for the community's philanthropic efforts.
Dogecoin has continued sponsoring cars, including one in 2021.
The Original Doge Shiba Inu Is Still Alive.
Despite a hoax in 2017, the original doge, Kabosu, is still alive and well. She was born on Nov. 2, 2005, so she'll be celebrating her sweet 16 later this year.
You also can follow her antics with her owner and feline siblings on Instagram.
Doge Was Rescued From a Kill Shelter.
Kabosu almost never had the chance to go viral. In act, she almost missed the chance to live at all.
Animal rescuers have tried to dissuade the public from buying dogs from breeders, and Kabosu's early life demonstrates why. When her breeder went out of business, they couldn't afford to keep all of the puppies they still had.
Kabosu and 19 other Shiba Inu dogs were surrendered to an animal shelter. She would have been put down within days. Atsuko scooped her up and took her home to live out her long, happy Shiba Inu life in luxury.
The Doge Dog Breed Is Very Popular in Japan.
The Shiba Inu is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, and it's one of Japan's six national dog breeds. Because of their small size and endearing features, the Shiba Inu is a popular choice for family pets in Japan, even in crowded cities.
Shibes also have turned into Japanese pop culture icons. Illustrated Shibas appear on everything from apparel to chopsticks.
If you ever visit Kyoto, you also can visit the snuggly Shiba Inu Cafe.
In Japan, Not Too Many People Know About Doge Memes.
Despite doge's origins, few people in Kabosu's hometown know about the meme. In fact, few people in Japan are into memes at all.
Kabosu's owner, Atsuko, barely understands meme culture herself. A few Quora users have thoughts on why memes have never caught on in Japan like they have in the United States.
"A couple possible reasons as to why Japan does not seem to share the Internet meme culture with the rest of the world are
- Language/cultural barrier. Memes when translated are often not particularly funny/interesting.
- Japan having meme-like culture of its own, most notably emoji and kaomoji, and ASCII art.
Emoji/kaomoji have been around for a while; the country has a long history of using mobile devices before the age of smartphones/tablets."
One Shiba Inu Became a Japanese Cultural Icon.
The doge dog breed is also popular in Japan because of a loyal Shiba Inu named Hachiko.
During the 1920s, Hachiko walked to greet his owner at Shibuya Station at the end of every work day. When his owner passed away unexpectedly, Hachiko continued waiting for him at the station each day for 10 years until the date of his own passing in 1935.
In honor of the steadfast Shiba, the station erected a bronze statue shaped like Hachiko to help the city remember him for many years to come.
The Original Doge Owner Has a Favorite Doge Meme.
Kabosu's owner, Atsoku, isn't the biggest fan of memes. It's not that she dislikes them, but she doesn't really get them.
Aside from continuing to post cute pics and videos of Kabosu, she and her Shiba Inu have stayed out of the limelight. The pair enjoys quiet walks together and shares a simple life with three cats.
Still, Kabosu has seen her fair share of doge memes, and of all of them, the doge donut is her favorite.
The Shiba Inu Was Originally a Hunting Dog.
The Shiba Inu, like many domestic dog breeds, was bred for hunting. This ancient breed has been around as far back as 300 B.C. Being a small breed, they were primarily used to hunt small game like wild birds and rabbits.
Today, Shiba Inus are mostly kept as pets. Anyone who keeps a Shiba Inu alongside small pets should do so with caution.
Even though Shibas are rarely used to hunt game these days, their instinct to catch small animals is far from extinct. And your second grader's pet gerbil is totally fair game.
Shiba Inus Are a Basal Dog Breed.
When dogs were domesticated from wolves, it didn't happen overnight. It happened over the course of thousands of years, and it happened in multiple parts of the world at once. Because of this, sixteen basal dog breeds formed that were later combined to create the plethora of dog breeds we know and love today.
The Shiba Inu is considered one of the 16 base dog breeds, alongside the Afghan Hound, Akita, Alaskan Malamute, American Eskimo, Basenji, Canaan, Chow Chow, Dingo, Eurasier, Finnish Spitz, New Guinea Singing Dog, Saluki, Samoyed, Shar-Pei and Siberian Husky.
The Etymology of the Shiba Inu Is Interesting.
The origins of the name Shiba Inu has been hotly debated. "Inu" is straightforward, meaning dog, but Shiba is a little hazier. Shiba means "brushwood" in Japanese. Brushwood commonly turns red in fall, so one theory is that Shiba Inus were named after the plant due to their most common fur color.
Another theory is that they were named after brushwood because the plants were common in the area Shiba Inus originally hunted in.
In the Nagano dialect, however, Shiba translates to "small." Since no one can tell for sure where the name started, Shiba Inus are sometimes described as "the Little Brushwood Dog," combining both translations.
They Shed. A Lot.
Don't like vacuuming? Don't get a Shiba Inu.
Shiba Inus shed some fur all year round, but twice a year, they "blow their coat." When this happens, they release the entirety of their thick, white undercoat over the course of a few weeks. White tufts of fluff cover every surface they encounter. No couch is safe.
Some Shiba Inu owners have opted to make the most of the furry predicament, spinning the fur into yarn and knitting with it.
Shiba Inus Groom Themselves.
Despite their exceptionally thick coat, Shiba Inus are surprisingly low-maintenance in the grooming department. They don't like being dirty and groom themselves much like cats do. It's rare to come across a stinky Shiba Inu.
They're so averse to mess, in fact, that they naturally avoid going to the bathroom inside. They're one of the easiest dog breeds to potty train, doing most of the work on their own as they mature past the early puppy stage and develop better bladder control.
Shiba Inus Come in Several Colors.
While a coppery-red color is the most common Shiba Inu color, it's far from the only one. Variations include black and tan, sesame, a combination of red and white and cream. The red coloration itself can vary in shade as well.
Interestingly, cream-colored doges aren't considered to be up to the breed's standards by professional breeding organizations like the American Kennel Club.
They still look perfectly doge-worthy to us.
The Doge Dog Breed Is Ridiculously Stubborn.
Some dog breeds are known for snuggliness. Others are known for athleticism.
As the original doge meme suggests, the doge dog breed is known best for being stubborn and spirited. Shiba Inus have fiery personalities. They're bright and good-natured, but they have a mind of their own.
Their strong-willed personality isn't a bad thing, but new owners are sometimes surprised by how independent their new pet is.
The Shiba Inu Is Catlike in Personality.
Speaking of independence, the Shiba Inu personality is surprisingly catlike. It has something to do with their boldness and judgmental glances. They also tend to be more aloof than other small dog breeds.
It's not uncommon to find a shibe resting peacefully in another corner of the house, while toy poodles and other toy breeds are more likely to curl up next to their human companion whenever possible.
This breed also loves to sunbathe, just like their feline counterparts.
To Put It Mildly, Shiba Inus Have a 'Unique' Voice.
Do Shiba Inus bark a lot? No, not at all. On the whole, they're very quiet and like to keep to themselves. When they do have something to say, however, they don't hesitate to share it as loudly as possible. And by that, we mean they scream. Seriously.
If a Shiba is taken to the groomers against their will, the entire block will know about it. They also occasionally use their signature scream to punctuate their joy during playtime.
Every Shiba Inu Is a Runner.
Shiba Inus are not the kind of dogs that you can walk without a leash. They're inquisitive and fearless, and if they find a hole in the backyard fence, they won't rest until they find out what's on the other side.
From there, they're likely to keep roaming. Small dogs and busy streets aren't the best combo, so be extra cautious to secure the yard and keep the front door closed.
Training a Shiba Inu Isn't for the Faint of Heart.
Shiba Inus are bright, stubborn and tough. They're plenty capable of learning, but they tend to learn what they want to learn, not what well-meaning owners want to teach them.
Shiba Inus often potty train themselves, but to successfully train a Shiba Inu to behave like a polite member of canine society requires considerably more effort and skill.
In short, start training your Shibe as a puppy, be consistent and use whatever treats and toys seem to motivate them. More importantly, mix up training sessions to keep this primitive dog breed from losing interest.
Shiba Inus Are Small But Stocky.
The doge dog breed looks larger than they really are. They're an average height of about 15 inches, with females typically smaller than males. They usually weigh between 18-22 pounds, and they're the smallest of the six national Japanese dog breeds.
The reason they seem so much larger than they are is because everything about them is thicc. Their fur is incredibly dense, and their small bodies are muscular and compact.
That's one reason to train this breed early. Taking an untrained Shiba Inu for a walk is like trying to take a 20-pound train for a stroll.
The AKC Didn't Recognize the Shibe Until 1992.
For such an old dog breed, the doge dog breed is relatively new in the United States.
The first Shiba Inu didn't arrive to the States until 1954. It wasn't until 1979 that shibes were being bred in the U.S., and it took until 1992 for the American Kennel Club to recognize them.
Thanks to Memes, the Doge Dog Breed Is Now More Common.
One of the most interesting Shiba Inu facts is actually tied to meme culture. The breed has long been popular in Japan, but in most other countries, it was fairly rare until recently.
Since the doge meme first came out in 2012, the Shiba Inu has risen six places in U.S. popularity rankings, currently ranked No. 44 up from No. 50.
The doge dog breed also has become more popular in the United Kingdom.
Shaving Their Fur Is a Bad Idea.
As one of the most ancient dog breeds, Shiba Inus weren't bred for looks. Everything from their build to their personality evolved to help them thrive in their original environment. Their lush coat is no exception.
While owners may be tempted to shave their fur to cut down on troublesome shedding, doing so is a terrible idea. The fur of the Shiba Inu is designed to insulate their bodies both from intense heat and bitter cold.
If their fur is shaved, they're more likely to suffer from heatstroke during the summer months, and they won't be as comfortable during the winter months.
The Oldest Shiba Inu Made It to 26.
How long do Shiba Inus live? On average, between 12 and 15 years. That's a pretty normal lifespan for a dog of their size, though some breeds like these can live a few years longer.
Regardless of breed, owners can maximize their pet's lifespan by choosing natural dog food and giving them lots of exercise.
Even with the best care, a dog in its 20s is rare. A Shiba Inu named Pusuke, however, lived to the ripe old age of 26 — around twice the typical lifespan of a Shiba. At the time of his death in 2011, Pusuke was the oldest dog on the planet.
The Shiba Inu Almost Went Extinct After World War II.
It's no surprise that humans are affected by major catastrophes like natural disasters and war, but our pets can be affected, too.
In the 1930s in Japan, the Shiba Inu was a thriving breed. After World War II wreaked havoc on the nation, most breeders went out of business. This happened primarily because of a famine in the country, plus an epidemic of distemper.
The breed was nearly wiped out entirely. Originally, there were three different types of Shiba Inus — the Mino, the Sanin and the Shinshu. More Shinshus survived than the other two types. While all three contributed to the breeding efforts that followed, modern Shiba Inus look the most like Shinshus.
Shibes Like to Chase Their Tail.
Tail chasing looks comical, but Shiba Inus can sometimes take the goofy behavior a step too far. Around the age of six months, some shibes begin chasing their tail obsessively, spinning on the spot like an out of control top.
Some vets believe this behavior to be a type of seizure. It can become so severe that they refuse to stop to eat or drink. Dogs with severe tail chasing behavior are typically prescribed phenobarbital to reduce the behavior.
Shiba Inus Inspired a Toy Franchise.
Shiba Inus were so popular for a while that Kim Sukwon, a copywriter from Japan, turned them into a cute toy and cartoon franchise called Mameshiba.
The characters resembled a mash-up between a bean and a Shiba Inu. Instead of producing full-length episodes, Mameshiba characters shared short pieces of trivia in between television shows in place of advertisements.
The original videos are still available to watch on YouTube.