The Urco or Güercu is a huge dog from Galician and Asturian mythology, generally considered to be an omen of death.

Myths & Legends

The Urco is said to rise from the sea on misty winter nights, dragging noisy chains howling loudly over the roaring. Depending on accounts, it will start roaming the town's or city's street, visiting the house of those soon to die and recruiting dogs to its pack on the way. It is similar to the myths of the Wild Hunt or of the more local Santa Compaña myth, a spirit parade and wild hunt and omen of death, originating Galician, Asturian and Northern Portuguese mythology.

Appearance

The Urco is appears as a dog, either black or white, with large horns and ears, as well as fiery eyes in some descriptions. Accounts on size vary, ranging from simply "big" to outright "colossal", but a rather common saying claims that "it could eat in a single bite twenty bags of loose change, with as much ease as a donkey eats two barley corns".

Alternate descriptions include a calf chased by a pack of dogs, or deceased relative in asturian mythology.

Location

The Urco is said to dwell on Borrón, a dark and misty world somewhere underwater, which depending on myth may be located on one of these places:

  • Ría de Arousa, between Cortegada island and Santiago de Carril, Galicia, Spain
  • River Lérez, Galicia, Spain
  • At the ocean's depth, hugging right next to Hell.

Alternate Names

Galicia

  • Urco
  • Can do Urco, "Urco dog"
  • Can do mar, "sea dog"

Asturias

  • Güercu, usually referring to the "deceased relative" form

Spain

  • Huerco

Modern Depictions

Events

  • In Pontevedra, Galicia, the Urco has featured at the city's carnival parade since 1876

Gallery

Urco+hornless.jpg
Urco.jpg
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