With a mix of graying hair around the muzzle, a slight underbite and dark eyes, James Johnson and his pet pugs look alike -- at least that's what Johnson's son-in-law, Dan Bosworth, thinks.
"He and his dogs look more alike with every passing season," Bosworth said.
Johnson says he and his dogs, Bugsey and Pugsley, aren't mirror images, but he is willing to concede they may share a few traits.
Bosworth and his golden retriever, Clifford, also look more alike each year.
"We're both graying on the face, and both have scraggly blondish hair," said Bosworth, who owns Idlewire Pet Care in South Ogden. "There seems to be a tendency for people to end up with dogs that look like them, and that's something we've always laughed about ... not just with our customers, but with ourselves."
That's why Bosworth says he's glad Idlewire Pet Care was invited to sponsor this year's Dog Look-alike and Costume Contest at next weekend's two-day Winterfest celebration in Ogden. The festival opens at 5 p.m. next Friday and also runs all day on Jan. 29.
The dog contests start at 2 p.m. Jan. 29 in the Ogden Amphitheater, 343 E. 25th St. Online registration ends today, but registration forms will also be accepted from 1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the amphitheater on the day of the contests; entry is free.
Even though there are prizes -- $100 in the dog/owner look-alike contest and best winter dog costume, $25 for dog/celebrity look-alikes and for imaginative and for funny costumes -- that's not the main idea behind the contests.
"It's for fun more than anything else," said Bosworth.
Participants will line up onstage with their dogs to be judged.
"If someone comes, and alters their appearance to look more like their dog, if the judges find they've pulled it off, that might help," Bosworth said.
But many people won't need to do anything to look like their dog -- they already do.
According to a study released in 2004 by the University of California, San Diego, people who adopt purebred dogs tend to pick a dog that, at some level, resembles them.
Bosworth says many pet owners pick a dog with a similar personality.
"I've been doing this (professional pet care) for 22 years now, so I've seen people go through three or four dogs over that time. ... They always end up with dogs with the same personality," he said. "If it's a nervous person, every dog they have has that nervous energy. If it's a humorous person, every dog they have will have a sense of humor."
There are often physical similarities as well.
"Hair's usually the first one," said Bosworth. "I have a customer who has an Afghan hound, and her hair and that dog's hair is identical."
Another customer, who keeps his own head shaved, has Bosworth shave his dog.
Although many pet owners choose dogs that look like them, that's not the case with Johnson.
"My wife picks all of our dogs," said Johnson.
"And she picked you," Bosworth said, with a laugh.
Dogs that don't look like their owners can still get in on the fun by dressing up for the costume contest. Some may enjoy it; others will put up with it.
"I think dogs tolerate a lot, having humans as part of their pack," Bosworth said. "It's one of the things that makes dogs a successful parasite -- they'll let us be quirky and weird with them that way."
Bosworth says it's good for dogs to get out and see other dogs, and be in a group of people.
"I like any event that gets dogs out and makes them part of whatever the community's celebrating, because they're part of our lives," he said.
He offers these tips for folks who want to bring dogs to Winterfest:
* Feed pets lightly, if at all, before coming to the event. Don't bring a lot of treats.
* Take dogs for a walk before getting to the celebration so they'll work off excess energy and be calmer.
* If your dog's not used to crowds, start at the outside of the event and walk in so they can get used to increasing numbers of people.
* Be prepared to clean up after your pet.
OGDEN WINTERFEST SCHEDULE
5 p.m. -- Street closing, Washington Boulevard
5:45-6:30 p.m. -- Toboggan parade, 25th Street
7-8 p.m. -- Nordic events, 25th Street
8-10 p.m. -- Rail Jam, 25th Street
8-10 a.m. -- Firefighters Pancake Breakfast, Ogden Amphitheater, 343 E. 25th St., $2/person
9 a.m.-4 p.m. -- Tubing and sledding, 25th Street
9-11 a.m. -- 5K race, Timbermine restaurant to Municipal Gardens; preregistration required, $15
9 a.m.-noon -- Snowmobile racing, 25th Street, from Washington to Grant avenues, $35 entry fee
10 a.m.-1 p.m. -- Skijoring, Grant Avenue
10 a.m.- 4 p.m. -- Kids Corner, amphitheater
10 a.m.-5 p.m. -- Flag football tournament, Lindquist Field; preregistration required, $50/team
10 a.m.-5 p.m. -- Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing experience, Municipal Gardens
10 a.m.-5 p.m. -- Vendors, amphitheater
11 a.m. -- Polar Bear Swim, Lorin Farr Park
Noon-1 p.m. -- Kids snowmobile racing, 25th Street, from Washington to Grant avenues
1:30-5:30 p.m. -- Snowmobile racing, 25th Street, from Washington to Grant avenues
2-3 p.m. -- Dog look-alike and costume contest, amphitheater
2-3 p.m. -- Human Dog Sled Race, for women, Grant Avenue
3-4 p.m. -- Human Dog Sled Race, coed, Grant Avenue
4-5 p.m. -- Human Dog Sled Race, men, Grant Avenue
4:30-6 p.m. -- Concert by Glass Onion Band, amphitheater
6-6:30 p.m. -- Awards ceremony, amphitheater
6:30-8 p.m. -- Concert by MonkeyShine, amphitheater