The later variations of the meme using photos of a Shiba Inu originate from a Tumblr blog, Shiba Confessions. However, the use of the intentionally misspelled "doge" dates back to June 2005, when it was mentioned in an episode of Homestar Runner’s puppet series. In August 2013, images of the meme were spammed on Reddit's r/MURICA subreddit by 4chan's random imageboard, /b/. A search of the term doge on Google Trends shows an explosion of popularity occurring in October 2013, and more so in the following month. By November 2013, the meme had become widespread on the internet. Google later created a Doge Easter egg: when doge meme was entered into the YouTube search bar, all of the site's text would be displayed in colorful Comic Sans, similar to the kind used by the meme.
The meme was ranked #12 on MTV's list of "50 Things Pop Culture Had Us Giving Thanks For" in 2013.Io9 compared the internal dialog of the Shiba Inu dogs to lolcat-speak. The image most commonly associated with the meme is of a female Shiba Inu named Kabosu, taken from a blog documenting the dog's daily activities. The spelling of doge has several variants, leading to debate on its actual pronunciation. On December 13, Doge was named the "top meme" of 2013 by Know Your Meme.
In late December 2013, members of the U.S. Congress discovered the meme. The memes created by the U.S. Congress members were met with negative criticism, with Huffington Post going as far to say that Doge was "killed" because of the Congress members' usage of the meme.