Furry is a very broad term with various meanings, but mostly refers to it’s plural form “furries” – individuals of a global subculture with various interests related to anthropomorphic (a word derived from the Greek; Anthropos Morphe, meaning Human Form) animal characters with human personalities and characteristics. Examples of such anthropomorphic characters would be the typical werewolf in a fantasy and mythology setting, but also cartoon and comic characters such as Bugs Bunny.
As of today, the furry fandom consists of over at least 1,8 million people, mostly from the US, Japan, Great Britain and Germany, however there isn’t a single “furry association” but thousands of clubs, groups, conventions etc. loosely connected through our common interests. And we’re part of them!
What do furries do?
As diverse as the individual interests in anthropomorphic animals are, as broad are our activities. They usually have a very creative component to them and take place both online as well as in the real world.
Despite being “just fans” of any kind of anthropomorphic characters, whether it be from history books or modern entertainment media, furries usually represent themselves through their “fursona” (a portmanteau of the words “furry” and “persona”) which is typically an alter ego of the respective individual. Unlike other fandoms which are based on a given setting or set of characters (such as StarTrek, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones…), fursonas are made up by a fan itself and might or might not relate to the actual person behind it. Some fursonas serve as mere avatar for online activities, others have entire lore and story-telling behind it, although none of it is a necessity to take part in the fandom.
Crafts & Arts
Crafting is a very common activity for a furry. Fans with the necessary skills create plush toys or even build elaborate, mascot-like costumes called “fursuits”, which are then worn for fun or to participate in public parades, convention masquerades, dances or fundraising and charity events. Said fursuits are mostly based on the character design chosen by the fan – based on their “fursona”. Additionally there’s also artwork, one of the most prolific outputs of the furry fandom, which ranges from basic cartooning to highly detailed works fit for hanging in art galleries.
Conventions & Events
There are several conventions for members of the furry fandom taking place all over the globe, mainly in North America and Europe. A furry convention is a gathering of fans to buy and sell artwork, participate in workshops, wear costumes and socialize. Midwest FurFest for instance, the worlds largest furry convention taking place in Rosemont, Illinois US had over 11’000 attendees in 2019. A major aspect of those conventions are always charity events, with thousands of dollars raised every year for local animal shelters, wildlife protection organizations etc. Even on a smaller scale it’s a common thing – did you know that the Bernese Suitwalk raised CHF 124.- in just a couple of hours for the Berner Tierschutz?
Anything else “furry”
As “furry content” can be found in nearly every type of media, genre etc., furry interests go way further than just wearing suits (of which a large portion of the community doesn’t necessarily even own one). Some of the most prominent interests associated with furries are interests in anime, science fiction and gaming. There’s also a lot of writers and musicians who encompass furry topics into their creations. For some people, the furry fandom is a lifestyle they incorporate into their daily business, engaging with the furry community most of the time, while for other’s it’s just a mere hobby they go after occassionally.
There’s dozens of things to learn about the furry fandom, so here’s a list of further resources providing insight into the furry life:
- Furry fandom – Wikipedia
- What’s a Furry? – FurScience – FurScience, a Canadian government-funded program gives a lot of statistical insight into the furry world, plus valuable information for parents.
- What Is “Furry”? — Anthrocon
- FURRY FANDOM INFOCENTER: Frequently Asked Questions About Furry Fandom