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Kabosu, the Shiba Inu who became the face of Dogecoin, dies

May 24, 2024

Kabosu became an internet sensation in 2012 and later went on to inspire a major cryptocurrency. Her owner rescued her from a puppy mill many years ago and estimated her age to be 18 years old.

A token illustrating the Dogecoin cryptocurrency
Kabosu was perhaps the most famous dog on the internetImage: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/picture alliance

Kabosu, the dog that spawned a deluge of online memes and became the face of the Dogecoin cryptocurrency,  passed away on Friday.

She was believed to be 18 — past the average lifespan for a Shiba Inu.

"Kabosu crossed the Rainbow Bridge on the morning of May 24," her owner, Hatsuko Sato, wrote on social media.

Famous Shiba Inu Kabosu, the face of dogecoin on March 19
Kabosu pictured in March, 2024Image: Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images

"She quietly passed away as if asleep while I caressed her," Sato added.

"I think Kabo-chan was the happiest dog in the world. And I was the happiest owner."

'The Mona Lisa of the internet'

Sato rescued Kabosu in 2010 from a puppy mill where she would've otherwise been put down.

Two years later, a photo of the puzzled-looking Shiba went viral online. It spawned countless memes referring to her as a "doge," a deliberate and endearing misspelling of the word "dog."

The meme eventually inspired Dogecoin, a so-called "memecoin" that attracted enough hype to become the eighth-most valuable cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of $23 billion (€21 billion).

Children petting Kabosu, the face of the "doge" meme on March 19
Kabosu's internet fame earned her admirers around the worldImage: Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images

A crypto organization called Own The Doge once referred to Kabosu as "the Mona Lisa of the internet."

Kabosu's popularity and meme appeal has endured over the years, with Elon Musk even changing the logo of social media site X to the dog's likeness for a brief moment last year.

"The impact this one dog has made across the world is immeasurable," Dogecoin posted on social media on Friday.

zc/wd (AFP, Reuters, dpa)