is a category (or sub-genre) of fantasy dedicated to anthropomorphics
: fictional animal characters given human personalities and characteristics. It originated as a fusion of science fiction
, comic book
, and animation
fandom during the 1980s. It has thrived and grown, evolving into its own branch of fandom and finding adherents all over the world – enough that they may be regarded as forming a subculture. Furry fandom has a large presence on the Internet, and many furry conventions in North America and Europe are held every year, the largest being Anthrocon in Philadelphia in July with an attendance of nearly 2500. Further Confusion, held in San Jose, California each January, is almost as large. In 2004, 19 such conventions took place around the world. The original furry convention was the now-defunct Confurence, based in southern California.
Furry fans, sometimes referred to as furries
or furs for short, are eager for more material than is available from mainstream publishers. The demand is filled by fellow fans – amateur to professional artists, writers, and publishers who produce drawings, paintings, stories, independent comic books, fanzines, Web sites and even small press books. Fans with craft skills put together their own stuffed plush furry toys, sometimes referred to as plushies, or build elaborate furry costumes called fursuits (with features such as ears, fur, long tails, moving jaws, and even animatronics) and dress up in them for fun, or to participate in convention masquerades, dances or fund raising charity events. Charitable works are a tradition in furry fandom; many conventions feature an auction or fundraising event with the proceeds often going to an animal-related charity. Over the past 5 years, furries have raised over $90,000 for animal rescue organizations and animal therapy groups.
Some furry fans create furry personas (imaginary characters
based on their own personalities) by which they become widely known in the fandom. A yearning to explore self-identity is common among these fans. They may write stories centered on their characters, build or commission fursuits so they can "come to life" as their character, commission artwork, or engage in role-playing sessions on one of the many furry-themed MUDs on the Internet, the oldest of which is FurryMUCK
. When such furry fans meet one another in person, they may be more familiar with one another's online personas than with their real identities.