In recent years, the use of the term “doggo” to describe our canine friends has increased dramatically, but the word has been around for centuries. The previous meaning of the term was different and meant “to remain motionless and calm in order to avoid detection”. It was commonly used in the phrase “to dog doggo” popularized by Rudyard Kipling and used as slang in the late 19th century. The word is related to the word “dog” and has simply added the suffix “o” to mean “has the properties of or is related to”.
In the early 1900s, “doggo” was sometimes used to refer to a specific dog, much like many people use “buddy” today. After many decades of only occasional use, it is back with us, this time as an affectionate term for dogs. Its popularity has skyrocketed since 2016, possibly because the term is so common on Twitter WeRateDogs. There are other possible sources for the new meaning of the word. Some people have speculated that Australian supporters of Dogspotting followed her linguistic habit of adding words “o” and that “doggo” began.
Although I don’t use it often, I like the word “doggo” because of its similarity to the word “kiddo”. The origins of these words have nothing to do with each other, but they both sound friendly and familiar in the same way. Maybe I’m biased because Labradoodles and Goldendoodles became common and “Doodle” was added to so many crosses that I did the same with my kids. Since my knowledge and perspectives in dog training were so helpful in parenting, I felt very comfortable calling my children “children”.
Merriam-Webster recently added “doggo” to their list of words they watch. This means the word is on the rise but does not yet qualify for inclusion in the dictionary. If the upward trend continues, this could soon be an official word in the Merriam-Webster world. It’s already a word – though I don’t know if that makes it official – in the canine world.
Do you use the word “doggo” for your canine friends and family members?