Next week is Crufts, at Birmingham's NEC, an event which gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, 'It's a dog's life.' Before setting even one paw in public, most of the dogs there will have undergone about three hours of pampering and preening. The luckiest pooches - in booties and waterproof mackintoshes - will be wheeled into the arena in their own trollies to avoid the muddy terrain. More than 20,000 top pedigrees and 3,000 crossbreeds will compete at this year's event. You could, therefore, cut the competitive atmosphere with one canine incisor. Be under no illusions, however, prize-winning pooches can eat into your bank account. Here's the total for 84 (dog) years.

Essentials Food, pounds 180 per year; obedience training club, pounds 10.50 subscription per year plus pounds 78 per year for weekly sessions; Crufts entrance fee, pounds 18 annually starting after three years of training; one-off overcoat and booties for Crufts, pounds 25 and pounds 20; trolley, pounds 100, pounds 3,529 for 12 years

Insurance policy to cover pedigrees against vets' fees start at about pounds 150 per year. Fees can rise for Crufts prize-winners, which can be worth as much as pounds 10,000 each, pounds 1,800 for 12 years

Health Vaccinations, pounds 70.50; spaying, pounds 176.25; flea spray, pounds 25 annually; worming tablets, pounds 30 per year; quarterly teeth-cleaning, pounds 68 per year; dog-walker, pounds 1,500 per year, pounds 19,722.75 for 12 years

Beauty Brush, pounds 15; comb, pounds 6; clippers, pounds 8; shampoo and conditioner, pounds 120 per year; wash, cut and blow-dry, pounds 30 for annual birthday treat, pounds 1,829 for 12 years

Pret-a-porter pooch Hermes has a collection of 200 canine accoutrements, with collars up to pounds 339 and leashes to pounds 270. One-off designer leash and collar, pounds 609

Total pounds 27,489.75