But a mystery campaigner took action to preserve Greyfriars Bobby on Thursday night by cordoning the statue of the Skye terrier off with hazard tape and a ‘do not touch’ sign.
It is the latest move in a drive to stop tourists from tampering with the statue over fears he could further wear away after the council had to repair recent damage.
The trend of rubbing the statue’s muzzle and chest in the belief it brings good luck has concerned locals and even drew the attention of the National Library of Scotland who tweeted about the issue in August.
They said: “Hello. My name is Greyfriars Bobby. And I am a statue of a dog. Somehow a rumour started that it’s good luck to touch my nose. It really isn’t. (Not least because I’m a biter!). And you will eventually wear it down. Please don’t touch it. Thanks, Bobby (woof!).”
A council clean-up team was dispatched in the early afternoon to remove the tape and reinstate Bobby to his former glory.
Evelyn Duncan from the Save Bobby’s Nose campaign, set up in 2017, said: “I’m pleased that someone else has taken up the cause of trying to save Bobby’s nose.
“There seems to be a relentless drive by tour companies to make people believe it’s lucky to rub the nose regardless of the consequences.
“There’s definitely a real danger of it being damaged as people are constantly rubbing their hands over his nose and it will eventually get rubbed away.”
Greyfriars Bobby was installed in 1872 to commemorate the faithful terrier who kept watch over his owner’s grave for 14 years.
Last year the statue was declared as the Capital’s most-loved object following an overwhelming public vote.
A council spokesperson said: "It’s no secret Bobby loves the attention, particularly having his picture taken, but he’s not so keen on having his nose rubbed.
“We’re grateful to the kind person who tried to protect him but unfortunately the tape they put down on the pavement is a slip hazard and we’ve had to remove it."