He has taken the hearts of many Instagrammers by storm. Many colours, lots of flowers and, of course, lots of fun. That sounds like Toto, the always cheerful star among Instagram dogs. We really wanted to learn more about him and his Instagram model career and talked to his owner Britta.
Can you first tell about yourself, who you are, where you come from and where you live now? A little bit of your personal background.
We are Britta and Jack Russell Terrier Toto from a small village in Hessen/Germany. We love living in the countryside. Here we have everything we need: forest, meadows and beautiful nature that enchants us every season.
What are you, Britta, doing as full-time job and how did you find your way there? Is your work related to photography?
My main job is in a completely different direction. I am a doctor and it is particularly important to have a good balance in such a profession. Photography and being in nature help me to switch off when the working day was not the nicest.
However, I also like to be a doctor and find it very fulfilling to be able to help people.
How and why did you start photography? How has your style developed over time?
I have always enjoyed being outdoors and I always enjoyed creating things. I like to be able to capture beautiful moments in pictures for eternity. I would describe my style as very colourful and playful. So sometimes it’s a good contrast when you have a bad day. I want to make people smile with my colourful pictures.
What inspires you and why?
Nature is my inspiration. I love how it changes colour in the seasons. I always like to orient myself on these when designing the colours of my photos.
Your IG account is fully dedicated to Toto. How did the idea come up to create an IG account especially for him?
It actually developed just like that. Originally, the account was not dedicated to Toto alone, but since he simply makes up a large part of my life, he was there from the start and took over the account relatively quickly.
How long have you two spent your time together? Did you, Britta, have any pets before? What does Toto mean to you and how does he enrich your life?
Toto has been by my side for over eight years now. I got him at the age of 4 months and since then he has enriched my life every day. He is my haven of peace and fun. He always makes me laugh and drives away every bad mood. I already had two horses before, Friese Jinke and P.R.E. Ponent that still belong to our family.
How do you manage that Toto is always in the best pose?
Treats are the keyword 😉 Toto is simply an absolute professional if the “payment” is right!
He notices immediately when I pull out the camera and starts posing. His playful and funny character helps a lot, of course.
Are your photos planned? Do you work in a certain setup or are the photos more spontaneous?
That is different each time. For our indoor photos, we have a specific place in the apartment that has the best light. I basically only work with natural light, no flash or anything like that. I often have a certain picture in mind. But even if it does not come out as planned, sometimes something much better happens by chance. Outside we are more spontaneous and I see what Toto offers me.
Can you tell us a bit more about Toto’s personality? He loves to be in front of the camera, doesn’t he?
Toto is a typical terrier. Playful, and a real teaser. He knows how to make people laugh. He can also be a little macho to other dogs and sometimes likes to forget his true height. But he also wants to please and is therefore always very committed to photography, because of course, he notices when I am happy with a beautiful, successful picture.
What is your perfect shooting day like?
Good light, a good, creative idea or colourful location and a happy dog!
What do you think about the IG community that you have built up? Do you exchange ideas with other IGers or do you ever meet? Have there been any special collaborations?
The dog Instagram community is very closely linked. I have known many of them virtually for a few years now and people write to each other. Unfortunately, a meeting is often not possible because we are spread all over the world. But still, I would say that Instagram connects a lot and I was able to get to know people I would never have met because of the distance.
How and why did you decide to use Instagram as a social media platform for Toto?
I think Instagram is still number one in social media. It connects people from all over the world. You can spontaneously post things in the stories that followers take with them in their everyday life and also create lasting memories in the feed that everyone can watch again and again.
Do you actually write postcards yourself?
Not as much as before … unfortunately! But from vacation and on certain occasions such as birthdays or Christmas, I still write by hand.
Did you know PICKMOTION before our cooperation? And if so, from where?
We actually knew PICKMOTION beforehand via Instagram, so of course, we were really happy when we were allowed to become part of it! It is a great feeling when you suddenly discover your photo in a shop while shopping or when someone in another country and another city shares my picture with their friends by exactly selecting our postcard.
Could you name three of your favorite IG accounts?
Oh, there are so many…
One account that has certainly inspired us is @runnerkimhall.
Unfortunately, she is no longer active on Instagram, but I still like to watch her colourful picture.
Then I love the @noodoll account.
Your postings are always so creative and designed with so much attention to detail.
And an account that always spreads positive energy and cheers you up @happydaysfactory.
The little pictures around Amelie are always heart-warming.
Is there anything else, an anecdote or funny story that you would like to share with us? We are happy about everything.
I always find it very funny when Toto can do a trick in the photo. That’s why I taught him the “wave” command, in which he raises a front paw in the air. However, since Toto is always very eager and committed, a full wag quickly developed with both forelegs in the air, so that sometimes you can only see front paws and no face in photos.