Since the interests of the people who belong to the furry fandom range widely it is misrepresentative of the fandom as a whole to discribe them all in a specific fashion rather than a generalized one (i.e. they all dress up in fursuites isn't true since some of them dont do this.)
-Anthropocentric: when the creation of anthropomorphised animals is in the service of representing people and human nature, rather than having anything to do with the animal itself. (Animal Farm: by George Orwell; Aesop Fables)
-Zoomorphic: When animal characteristics are attributed to a god (or in this case human being: such as cat eared girls, or werewolves in some cases). Interest lies with the feral side of the being rather than the human side.
The nature of interests furries have can originate from either of the above examples, and in the end this is where many associations between furries can get confused. The fact that furries like animals and people and the associations between them is always clear, as both forms and minds of each being are always present (There's always an animal and human involved). But the degree by which the animal is admired or human is admired over the other must be paid attention to if one is to udnerstand the true nature of each individual furry.
Teddy Bear: The teddy bear used to be shaped mostly like a bear in its early days. It had a small forehead, beady little eyes, large muzzles and noses, and a small head proportionate to its overall body. People did not buy this toy often because they couldn't emotionally associate with it well.
In time designers of the toy began to anthropomorphise the stuffed bears giving them: big eyes, big foreheads, small noses scrunched up to their faces, and large heads too big for the body. In otherwords, they made teddy bears more like...babies! People began to associate with teddybears in a motherly, parenting sort of way banking many positive feelings with the bear. These people could be considered furries, because they like an anthropomorphised animal; and they could also be considered furries who come from a anthropocentric perspective, because it is not the animal they show affection for-but the human baby the animal represents.
Little Red Riding Hood:
Some theories wrap around this story as one that demonizes wolves. Others say it is a fable told in the old days from parent to daughter as a way of warning their girls that pedophiles and rapists were in the world- and to watch out for them. So, some theories point to the story as being about the animal, others say it is about the human/human nature the animal represents. Furries could be fans of the story from either a anthropocentric angel or a animal centric one.
In the end, the point is that Furries come in all shapes and sizes, with variations between why they like what they like. Furry is not an ambiguous term, it is simply a term that describes a vast variety of people who have merely one characteristic in common: liking anthropomorphised animals.
Personal Example: *shrug* I'm a furry. I like anthro animals, dont like wearing fursuites, dont like bestiality, and merely draw and write about anthropomorphised animals. And I dont get insulted if you call me a human...that's what I am.
Red wolf fursuit
The Exxon tiger is a furry.
Good example of furry art.
Some would argue that to be a furry, you must think and talk like one (i.e. use furry specific words and phrases). Even if you go to conventions, wear a fursuit, draw the art, writes the stories etc but don't talk using furry lingo, you're not a furry. Basically, someone that may walk the walk but doesn’t talk the talk.
Others would argue that even liking anthropomorphic creatures makes you a furry. You may have no idea the furry fandom exists or have ever heard of a furry convention, let alone any of the websites; simply liking 'anthro' critters makes you a furry.
The way I see it, if or if you don’t consider yourself a furry is a matter of personal opinion.
As with any hobby, most furries are normal people just like anyone you'll meet at work/school or going to/from work/school or anywhere. Then there is the small percent that are hard core fans and have taken what for most is a hobby and perverted it (sometimes in an all to literal sense).
As is with so many other things in life, the few that take it too far tend to be the loudest. The silent majority are often forced into silence by the loud majority for fear that people will label them as being in the same class as the minority that have perverted it.
One unfortunate side effect of the internet and the relative anonymity that some sites grant their users is people are able to engage in activities (even if only on a virtual level) that they would never even consider doing in real life. An example of this is trolls of message boards that say things to people they’d never say to them in person. I think a lot of the stereotypes associated with furries are because of this.
In conclusion, as with any hobby, there are some furries that have taken it too far and/or perverted what for many is a fun harmless hobby.
Furries are a relatively recent phenomenon which has been catapulted into near-mainstreamness almost solely because of the internet. It is obvious furries are very much victims of tarring the majority with the brush of an "unappealing" minority.
In the simplest sense furries are fans of anthropromorphic animals. That is, animals with human like features or tendencies (Fox McCloud, Sonic the Hedgehog... etc) pretty much all furries will create their own character or "fursona" for use as an art model and roleplaying, the designs of which vary wildly dependant on the artists skill and eye for contrasting colours (You get both amazing and appalling furry artists, and a wide skill range between these two) some furries can work wonders when it comes to creating a character on second life
The above paragraph is an apt description of your standard "furry", however there is a small but VERY vocal minority of the "yiff yiff" kind of division. Even though this sort of furry probably only takes up 1/10th of the fandom this is by FAR the type you hear about most often from anti-furry biased sources.
Furry porn is dangerously close to bestiality. Sorry to anyone who likes it, but it is... However the ones who like it seem to be in a minority, with the ones liking the odd fetishes like "vore" and "macro" a very small minority indeed.
Furries get a lot of crap thrown at them on the internet in relation to the activities of the minority of their fanbase. They have a reputation to reacting to this in an over the top manner (such as comparing their treatment to the Holocaust), which realy doesn't do them many favours.
However on the whole they are just a group of people who are fans of a single concept, seem to know how to have fun, and are doing alright for themselves in terms of publicity.
Those who do enjoy the erotic/adult side of furry are, like those who participate in any other sexual fetish or behaviour, almost always harmless in their indulgence of their fantasies, which usually involves erotic art and roleplay, and may involve consenting activities with fellow adults while in costume. Why people get uptight about what is such a cute, silly and affectionate expression of pleasure between two (or more) consenting adults when there's much worse out there to get worked up about such as child abuse, I'll never understand.
It's about fun, people. Try it sometime.
adj. Furry art incoroprates many diverse forms of media.
2. adjective.: being related to the 'furry' community, such as artwork, stories.
3. mistake.: A misspelling of fury =P
a. One who shows interest in things that can be described with the 'furry' adjective.
b. One who prefers to imagine themself as more animalistic than they are.
Other related definitions:
Derogatory generalization of how many 'furry-haters' see the noun form of 'furries' as, usually portrayed as pitiful homosexual men who dress up as the animal they like or 'want to fuck' the most, and have sex with their animals. This is in fact not what 99% of 'furries' are like, however, being the most widely publicized, it is also the most widely criticized.
One who takes it upon themselves to be prejudice against the noun form of 'furries', usually assuming that all 'furries' are 'stereotypical furries', needlessly persuing some sort of apparent need to let everyone know that they hate 'furries'
99% of all furries:
Some draw, some write, some read, some listen to stories, most keep to themselves because of 'furry-haters'
Just like everyone else, some are male, some are female, and just like everyone else, some are gay, some are straight, and just like everyone else, most go to school or have a job.
I go to college, and have a job, I'm not fat either.
I'm just a furry
*wags his tail happily*
And any furry-hater who doesn't like me because of it, too bad, it's who I am.
One who has an interest in anthropomorphic animals. Does not mean wanting to have sex with them.