The incident was reported by the dog’s distressed owner on Thursday morning, and Longhope RNLI volunteer crew were dispatched by the UK Coastguard the scene immediately off the south east coast of South Ronaldsay.
Teams from Stromness, Kirkwall and St Margarets Hope were also called to provide assistance and found the man at the top of the cliff with his dog at the bottom.
A dramatic rope rescue was carried – but, tragically, the dog later succumbed to its injuries and died.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Orkney and Shetland Coastguard said: “About 9.45am, Shetland Coastguard Operations Centre received a report of a male and dog over the cliff at Ham Geo South Ronaldsay, Orkney.
“Coastguard rescue teams from St Margaret’s Hope, Kirkwall and Stromness along with Longhope Lifeboat were tasked to the incident.
“On arrival of the rescue teams, the male was found to be at the top of the cliff, however his Spaniel was still at the bottom.
“A rope technician thereafter descended the cliff and recovered the spaniel with the assistance of his Coastguard rescue team colleagues and Longhope lifeboat providing safety cover from the seaward side.
“The spaniel was taken to a vet but sadly did not survive. We pass our condolences to his owners.
“As always, if you see anyone in distress at sea or on the coast dial 999 and ask for Coastguard.”