'Most famous dog on Instagram' and canine friend of the stars dies

Marnie, the rescue Shih Tzu who became America’s most famous Instagram dog with her signature tongue, dies aged 18

  • Marnie the Shih Tzu died on Thursday at her Los Angeles home
  • Her owner Shirley Braha said the lovable pooch passed away peacefully of old age after bravely battling an ulcer
  • Marnie shot to fame aged 12 when in 2014 dog lovers across America fell in love with her signature ‘tongue-lolling’ pose
  • She became an overnight influencer with 1.8 million followers leading her to be named ‘the most famous American dog on Instagram’ by The New Yorker in 2015
  • She rubbed shoulders with the A-list, including Katy Perry and Selena Gomez  
  • ‘Marnie knew that she was famous and she absolutely loved it,’ Braha said 
  • Braha adopted Marnie after she was found living on the streets 
  • She moved to California in her later years for the sun

America’s ‘most famous dog on Instagram’ and canine friend of the stars has died aged 18, her heartbroken human has confirmed.  

Marnie the Shih Tzu, whose unusually long lolling tongue and love of selfies made her a social media hit, passed away on Thursday at her Los Angeles home. 

Her owner Shirley Braha said the lovable pooch passed away peacefully of old age after bravely battling an ulcer. 

‘She passed very, very peacefully,’ said Braha. ‘She passed away of old age is the simplest way to put it.’  

Marnie the Shih Tzu, whose unusually long lolling tongue and love of selfies made her a social media hit, passed away on Thursday at her Los Angeles home, her owner Shirley Braha said

Marnie shot to fame when dog lovers across America fell in love with her amused expression when Braha began chronicling her antics on Instagram.

Her cute expression and love of posing turned her into an overnight influencer with 1.8 million followers on Instagram leading her to be named ‘the most famous American dog on Instagram’ by The New Yorker in 2015.  

Soon she was rubbing shoulders with the A-list, counting Katy Perry, Tina Fey and Selena Gomez among her inner circle.

A book deal followed and at one point, Marnie was so in demand, that no canine party was worth going to if she wasn’t there – as was evident when her absence at the 2015 World Dog Awards hit headlines.


Marnie regularly rubbed shoulders with the A-list, including Neil Patrick Harris (left) and Questlove (right)


Marnie counted Demi Lovato (left), Betty White (right), Katie Perry, Tina Fey and Selena Gomez among her inner circle. At one point, Marnie was so in demand, that no canine party was worth going to if she wasn’t there

‘Marnie knew that she was famous and she absolutely loved it,’ Braha told The New York Times on Saturday. 

‘She loved it when crowds would form around her. She would do little dances. She would pose. I never trained her to do it. She just looked straight at the camera and stayed still and gave everyone the most perfect selfies that they wanted. She was a pro.’  

But Marnie wasn’t always the happy-go-lucky star she became known as, with the Shih Tzu having a troubled start in life. 

As a young pooch, she was found living on the streets by animal control officers. 

Her cute expression and love of posing turned her into an overnight influencer with 1.8 million followers on Instagram leading her to be named ‘the most famous American dog on Instagram’ by The New Yorker in 2015

She first shot to fame in 2014 when dog lovers across America fell in love with her amused expression when Braha began chronicling her antics on Instagram

She was taken to a Connecticut shelter where workers named her ‘Stinky’ because she smelled so badly.

Marnie was always destined for bigger things, however, and she caught the attention of Braha who spotted her in a picture on PetFinder. 

Braha told how she fell in love with the pooch right away when she saw her bemused expression. 

Marnie was almost unrecognizable back then with her dirty, matted fur and rotten teeth. 

But Braha could see her star quality even then and took her home, naming her Marnie, after musician Marnie Stern. 

Soon the pair were inseparable with Marnie accompanying Braha to bars, parties and events all across New York. 

Marnie was always destined for big things and even secured a book deal 

Braha and Marnie: Braha told how she fell in love with the pooch right away when she saw her bemused expression and adopted her from a Connecticut shelter

‘She loved to party,’ Braha said. 

‘You’d bring her out to a group of people, her tail would wag, her tongue would hang out, and she would run around in circles.’ 

In 2014, at the age of 12, her fame rocketed when Braha began chronicling her adventures – and her signature look of her long tongue lolling out to the side of her mouth in a laughing expression – on Instagram.  

And the rest is history.   

In her later years, Marnie moved to California for the better weather where she passed away Thursday with Braha by her side. 

And her 1.8 million followers were able to say farewell to her in her final days through her last social media posts – just as she would have wanted.  

‘Marnie knew that she was famous and she absolutely loved it,’ Braha told The New York Times on Saturday

On her 18th birthday: ‘She loved it when crowds would form around her. She would do little dances. She would pose. I never trained her to do it. She just looked straight at the camera and stayed still and gave everyone the most perfect selfies that they wanted. She was a pro.’

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