Just about all of us have seen Disney’s 101 Dalmatians and/or photos of dalmatians sitting proudly atop of a firetruck lending a helping paw. Sure, you may think you know dalmatians, but did you know how friendly, confident and intelligent Dalmatians truly are? One family in Houston, Texas is not only educating fellow dog owners about Dalmatians, but they are also a growing and popular Instagram account: @jackson_the_dalmatian. In this Fan Feature, you’ll get to know more about this beautiful dog breed and we also have Jackson’s Mom, Julie, sharing some of her photography tips!

If you’ve been following Jackson and his brothers, Heath and Bennett over the years, you know Jackson is the star of this handsome trio. If you are new to Jackson’s Instagram account, let us introduce you to the family: Jackson, who is now 3 years old, has lived with his Dad in Texas from the start of his puppy days. Jackson’s brother, Heath is a 4 year old Weimaraner that lived with their Mom, Julie, in Ohio until they moved down to Texas and married Jackson’s Dad.

After they were settled into their new home, Jackson and Heath welcomed a baby brother, Bennett, now a 1 year old Dalmatian.

While it was brotherly love from the start for Jackson and Heath, adding Bennett to the mix was a bit of a transition period for Heath. It took Heath about a month to adjust to having another younger brother in the house. At times throughout the adjustment period, whenever Heath would become agitated with Bennett, Jackson would recognize Heath’s irritability and interject himself in between Heath and Bennett. Yes, Jackson physically inserted himself in between Heath and Bennett! Julie believes that Jackson would do this to not only shield Bennett, but to also signal to Heath to calm down.

When we asked Julie why she decided to start an Instagram account for her dog, Julie said that initially it was set up to keep in touch with Jackson and share his puppy photos while she was still in Ohio and Jackson was in Texas. It was a way for Julie to stay connected to Jackson despite being thousands of miles apart. Instagram also provided Julie with a way to share Jackson’s puppy and growth photos with her family and friends. And while Julie had no plans on becoming Instafamous, she is continuously delighted to watch as Jackson’s following has grown to over 50,000 followers!

Instagram fame is not what keeps Julie motivated to post adorable photos of Jackson and his brothers. According to Julie, the most rewarding part of Instagram has been the connections she’s made with fellow pet parents. Instagram has allowed her to meet dog lovers both internationally and domestically that she would not have met otherwise. Julie and Jackson have also used Instagram as a way to meet local dogs within their Houston community. Setting up local play dates within your community is a great way to socialize your dog and make new friends.

Jackson and his brothers certainly reap the benefits of Julie working from home, as their typical day includes lots of time with Mom, going for walks, playing fetch and swimming in their pool.

And since Julie works from home, she is able to use the natural daylight, which she says is key for Jackson’s fantastic photos. It also helps that Jackson is a natural in front of the camera. Whenever Julie pulls out her phone or the camera, Jackson seems to naturally pose. It also helps that Jackson is highly treat motivated and knows that picture time equals treat time!

But, while Jackson is the ham of the family, Heath and Bennett are a bit camera shy, which is why they aren’t regulars on Jackson’s Instagram account. Since it can be a bit of a challenge to get all 3 boys to cooperate, Julie sprinkles in Heath and Bennett’s appearances occasionally.

For any newbie dog accounts or pet parents looking to take photos of their dog, Julie says that natural light is best to help showcase your dog’s eyes. For Jackson, much of his personality and expression is captured in his eyes. Another helpful hint from Julie is to have lots of treats and squeaky toys on hand to help grab your dog’s attention during photo time.

And yet despite all the love that Jackson receives, there can still be misconceptions about this breed. In the past, Dalmatians have had a reputation of being high strung, untrainable and not the best with kids. However, Julie says that she has never seen any of these qualities in her Dalmatians and that they are nothing but “confident, intelligent and outgoing”. A big part of Jackson’s outgoing personality is, in part, due to Julie socializing Jackson as much as possible with not only other dogs, but other people as well. Julie and her husband take Jackson to as many pet-friendly places as possible. So far, Jackson’s favorite so far seems to be the beach. Galveston Island to be specific.

Sure, Jackson has a lot of energy, but with the right amount of exercise and stimulation, Julie says it’s not unheard of for Jackson to nap the rest of the day away.

So next time you see a Dalmatian, look past all the spots and preconceived notions. These dogs are just as fun and loving as any other breed. Don’t take our word for it, give Jackson and his brothers a follow on their Instagram account to keep up with their adventures. This summer is sure to be packed with swimming and road trips. But, no wet grass. That is where Jackson draws the line! 😉

 

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