A TINY dog hailed a hero after scaring off a mugger and protecting his owner has won a national award.

Piccolo, who stands at just ten inches tall, warded off an attacker as his owner Charlie Preston and 18-month-old daughter Lilly waited in a parked car in Eastleigh.

Now the brave dog has won a national competition to find the ultimate tale of unconditional love.

The spotlight was put firmly back on the chihuahua, who has won the national ‘I Woof You’ gong run by BorrowMyDoggy, who connect dog owners with local borrowers.

As reported, fearless Piccolo leapt on to Charlie’s lap and started to bark loudly as the mugger tried to force open the door of the Vauxhall Corsa, parked in Magpie Lane, demanding that Ms Preston get out.

They were waiting for her partner Rob Smart as he picked up an item bought online for their home.

At the time Ms Preston, of Charles Close in Winchester, called Piccolo a “little hero”.

She said: “God knows what could have happened if it wasn’t for my dog, my daughter and I could have been in real trouble. If he had got me out of the car he could have hurt or abducted my baby girl.”

The competition judges said they were inspired by the bravery of Piccolo last September after he caused the would-be attacker to run off.

BorrowMyDoggy have donated £500 to the Dogs Trust on behalf of Piccolo’s owners, and he has also won doggie prizes and a photo shoot.