FARMINGTON -- If you are seeing well-groomed, well-heeled German shepherds everywhere this week, you haven't gone howling mad. The best of the breed are in town.
The German Shepherd Dog Club of America is holding its 97th annual national specialty show at the Davis County Legacy Events Center, and it concludes this weekend.
Dog owners from around the country started rolling in last weekend for the eight-day event.
"We all love the breed for various reasons," said Laura Gilbert, an organizing committee member from Virginia who owns two German shepherds.
It's expected there will be more than 500 entries when all is said and done, said Bill Burggraaf, show chairman.
Local tourism officials point out that the show also comes with an estimated 1,400 hotel stays in Davis County as owners and spectators unleash their excitement at the daily competition for various titles and certifications.
"The Legacy is becoming well-known for its shows and how they accommodate them," said Barb Riddle, president of the Davis Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
On Tuesday, owners ran their dogs through temperament testing on an obstacle course laid out at the Legacy Center.
It's a pass/fail test that is full of attitude, as the dog's temperament is challenged in various ways, including pseudo-menacing from volunteers stationed along the course.
The test can help owners determine whether their dog has the stability to do service or companion work, and it offers temperament certification for advance titles.
Watching the process was Linda Thompson, of Draper, who breeds the dogs as a hobby.
"They are wonderful dogs," she said, "but they are not for everybody."
Other competitive events include awards for herding, tracking, agility and obedience.
Enthusiasts argue that German shepherds are one of the few breeds shown to regularly have the capacity to reason, which is one justification for using them as seeing-eye dogs or in police work.
The judging program includes a best-of-breed competition, a contest to take place Saturday in the Legacy Center on recently laid green sod.