Was dog patted by polar bear just very lucky?

IT'S been described as the 'video of a lifetime'. But it could have also been a dog's lucky escape.

A tour guide has captured the moment a polar video and a Canadian eskimo dog appear to have become friends.

David De Meulles told CBC News he took out two tourists who were hoping to see a polar bear close-up when they came across the sight in Churchill, Manitoba.

"I had no idea what was going to happen, and then sure enough he started petting that dog, acted like he was a friend," he said.

He said it was a "beautiful sight to see".

"I've known the bears to have somewhat friendly behaviour with dogs, but for a bear to pet like a human would pet a dog is just mind-blowing," he said.

But University of Alberta adjunct professor Ian Stirling told CBC News the dogs should not be chained up outside in polar bear territory.

"The dog was chained up and they're totally vulnerable," he said.

"Inuit [hunters] over the years in the high Arctic have told me that if you want a dog to act as a guard dog, you have to leave it off a chain. Because if it's on a chain it knows it's vulnerable and it won't bark."

A polar bear's diet usually consists of seals, but they are also known to snack on land animals like reindeer, dogs and even other bears, as one posted on the YouTube clip.

"That is really amazing.  Normally, a polar bear would kill the dog and have his snack.  To be so friendly and playful with him is wonderful, but very strange. 

"Maybe the backstory, which we don't know yet, is that the bear was a cub that grew up with the dog after being saved by the owner.  That would definitely make sense with the buddies relationship shown in the video."

It's not the first time dogs and polar bears have been captured on film.

This clip was posted on YouTube back in 2007.

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