The Shiba Inu dog behind the doge meme turns 16

Kabosu the Shiba Inu has inspired an enduring internet meme and cryptocurrencies worth over $70 billion.

Daniel Van Boom Senior Writer
Daniel Van Boom is an award-winning Senior Writer based in Sydney, Australia. Daniel Van Boom covers cryptocurrency, NFTs, culture and global issues. When not writing, Daniel Van Boom practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reads as much as he can, and speaks about himself in the third person.
Expertise Cryptocurrency, Culture, International News
Daniel Van Boom
2 min read

Though you may not know her name, Kabosu is an internet icon. The Shiba Inu is the dog behind the doge meme, which in turn inspired several cryptocurrencies, namely Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, which are now worth over $70 billion. Tuesday was Kabosu's birthday -- she's 16 years young. 

Kabosu has her own Instagram account -- obviously -- where her owner posted in celebration of her big day. The photo has over 55,000 likes, because that's how legends live. 

A rescue dog adopted in 2008, Kabosu's rise to fame began in 2010 when she was a spritely 5-year-old. Her owner blogged about Kabosu, including several photos of the Shiba Inu. In one, Kabosu is laying on a couch with her little paws crossed, with a look of concern on her face. The internet took over from there, adding the doge talk you're now familiar with -- "so concern, much wow," and so on -- in comic sans. The doge meme was born.

"Never in a million years would I have imagined the impact that my photoshoot of Kabosu would have on the internet," her owner wrote on Instagram earlier this year. "It's a moment that's evolved and taken on a life of its own over the last decade -- being shared millions of times and creating an entire community around the Doge meme.  

Three years after that fateful photo was taken, two software engineers decided to have a lark. They satirized the absurdity of Bitcoin by creating Dogecoin, a digital currency with an unlimited supply (compared with Bitcoin, which has a maximum supply of 21 million). Dogecoin unexpectedly took off, eventually becoming a meme unto itself. In fact, it spawned a whole genre of cryptocurrencies called "meme coins."

With some help from Elon Musk, Dogecoin currently has a market cap of $35 billion. Shiba Inu, inspired by Dogecoin, has become the hot new coin, with a market cap that's eclipsed Dogecoin's. The two meme coins have a combined market cap of over $70 billion, and they're far from the only coins inspired by the Original Doge. 

Happy birthday, Kabosu. You've changed the world.