The eight-month-old Alaskan Malamute, called North, kept the hiker warm after he fell while walking in the Croatian mountains, local media reported.
Grga Brkic was unable to move after he fell while climbing down a slope along the Velebit mountain range along the country’s Adriatic coastline.
Two other hikers who were on the trail were unable to reach the dog and man, so they doubled back for help and contacted rescuers.
When nearly 30 first responders eventually reached Mr Brkic, nearly 1,800 metres above sea level, they found the dog “curled around him and warmed him”.
Croatia’s mountain rescue service shared a photo of the hero dog lying on top of the hiker as he lay in a stretcher, accompanied by the caption: “Friendship and love between man and dog have no boundaries.”
They added: “From this example we can all learn about caring for one another.”
The mountaineers were reportedly experienced and had all the necessary equipment, according to Total Croatia News.
Josip Brozičević, head of the Croatian mountain rescue services in Gospić, said: “The dog was curled up next to the owner in the pit the entire time; he warmed his owner with his body, thus preventing the mountaineer’s significant hypothermia who suffered a severe fracture of the lower leg and ankle when he fell.
“In addition, he looked quite sober mentally and physically.”
The hiker was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery; the dog was unharmed. His owner said: “This little dog is a real miracle.”
Mr Brkic told Croatian media: “The minutes and seconds before they arrived were so slow.”
Despite this example of canine heroism, Croatian mountain rescue services warned hikers should not take dogs out in difficult conditions, especially during harsh winter weather when specialised climbing equipment is required.
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