Where does doggo come from?
There is an entire internet slang language known as DoggoLingo, which emerged in the 2010s and drew on existing online culture, such as lolspeak, the snek meme, and Doge.
DoggoLingo uses cutesy spellings and doggy onomatopoeias like mlem, borf, and heckin to drool over man's best friend online—and the many, many pictures and videos we post of them.
Doggo and pupper are two key words in the lingo. Doggos tend to be older and larger (duh!), and puppers, younger and smaller. A YouTube video, “What is a Pupper? What is a Doggo?”, explained the difference in May, 2017 around the peak of DoggoLingo. The adorable explainer has since had over 1.5 million views.
Though the exact progression of puppy to pupper and dog to doggo is unclear, there are a few instances that helped catapult the terms into popular lexicon.
In May, 2015, an image of a chihuahua wearing a hoodie was featured on 4chan. The image promised a good night's rest to anyone who replied with “slight tight pupper.” Pupper changes puppy for greater cuteness. The chihuahua image spread to sites such as 9Gag, BodyBuilding, FunnyJunk, and Reddit's r/4chanmeta, inspiring parodies of the image that often featured, and helped spread, pupper.
In 2008, a group called Dogspotting formed on Facebook devoted to—what else—dog pictures. It became very popular in 2014, especially in Australia. This is significant as Australians often add an affectionate -o to the end of words, giving rise to doggo.
Starting in 2015, the massively popular Twitter account, We Rate Dogs (@dog_rates), helped further popularize doggo and pupper.
Very funny guys. We only rate dogs. Please do not send in Happy Kitchen Bears. We will not rate them. Thank you... 12/10 pic.twitter.com/o43apVNaQh
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) May 3, 2018
Who uses doggo?
DoggoLingo like doggo and pupper are used to comment on or post about cute dogs online—unlike Doge, which imagines the speech of dogs. They are almost always used in wholesome, loving, endearing, and affirming ways, with doggo or pupper-titled videos shared on social media for pick-me-ups and feel-good moments.
Due to its popularity, some people have adopted doggo and pupper in their actual speech. People have even extended doggo and pupper as pet names for people (e.g., Look at the dancing doggo).
Users often add intentionally misspelled and ungrammatical terms alongside doggo and pupper for additional fawning (e.g., Here’s the goodest smol pupper).
From pupper to 1 year old doggo! 😮😍
@wounderfullwor5, May, 2018
enjoying the screened in porch with the pupper. she's snoozin. i'm job hunting.
@a2lisa, May, 2008
Buster, a very good doggo, picked the Washington Capitals to win the Stanley Cup
Donya Abramo, Russian Machine Never Breaks (headline), April, 2018