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Thanks to http://www.wwpc2000.com/furworld/ for the following information.

WHAT IS A FUR OR FURRY? 
 
Definition - A furry is an anthropomorphic animal, that is, an animal with human characteristics. Anthropomorphism is assigning human characteristics to a person or thing. An anthrofurry or anthro is just another name for a furry. Other terms are zoomorph or just morph. There is no difference between anthropomorphic animals that are "anthros" and anthropomorphic animals that are "furries." 
An object is anthro or anthropomorphic if it has some human qualities, such as rational thought or independent movement. The Chevron commercial talking cars, the Dow Scrubbing Bubbles and Mr. Pizza Head from the Pizza Hut commercials are anthros. Ships are considered to have a feminine persona and are referred to as "she;" also the star ships of Star Trek likewise have a feminine persona and are referred to as "she." 
An animal is anthropomorphic if it has been given human attributes which may include the capacity for rational thought, emotions, and an upright posture. An anthropomorphic animal is thusly a hybrid that is some where between Homo Sapiens and the original species. Any animal can be considered a furry, such as fish and other aquatic species, dinosaurs and avians. Thus Darwin the dolphin from Seaquest DSV, the talking fish from the TV series Fish Police, Big Bird from the PBS series Sesame Street, the dinosaur family from the TV series Dinosaurs, The Famous (San Diego) Chicken sports mascot as well as Tony the Tiger and Toucan Sam from commercials are furries. 
In art, furries are portrayed in various ways. Some artists show furries as being nearly human with only a bit of fur on some parts of the body and only slight animal features to the face. Others show more realistic creature that have ears, snout, fangs, tail, and feet that are animal like. 

Funny Animal - Related to the term fur or furry is "funny animal." The phrase "funny animal" comes from comics and animation, where these anthropomorphic cartoon characters were indeed funny. It can and often is used more broadly to indicate any animal given human features, or any human or humanoid given animal features. In the fandom, the word furry is often used to indicate the more serious treatments, or to indicate characters that simply are not cartoon like. 
Is there a definite preference between "funny animal" and "furry?" Most people in furry fandom use the word "furry," believing that "funny animal" sounds too narrow. Many old-school animators and comic illustrators prefer "funny animal," believing that furry fandom concentrates on sex to the exclusion of quality. 

Examples - Any of the following could be called furries: 
a. Cartoon animals such as Bugs Bunny, Roger Rabbit, Road Rovers, Kimba the White Lion and Wile E Coyote. 
b. Animals given fable qualities such as Aesop's talking animals, Watership Down, the Peter Rabbit books. 
c. More "serious" cartoons without childlike qualities such as Steve Gallacci's Albedo Anthropomorphics and Nelvana's Rock and Rule. 
d. Adults only cartoons using animal characters such as Fritz the Cat and Omaha the Cat-Dancer. 
e. Genetically engineered or "uplifted" animals such as Olaf Stapledon's Sirius, S. Andrew Swann's The Forests of the Night, and the bioengineered animals in the Island of Dr. Moreau 
f. Animals evolved to sapience such as The Furkindred, Steven Boyett's the Architect of Sleep, the mice in the Redwall series of novels and Mudge the Otter from the Spellsinger series of novels. 
g. Real animals with intelligence such as the rabbits from the novel Watership Down, Darwin the Dolphin from the TV show Seaquest DSV, and the animals in Orwell's Animal Farm. 
h. Aliens with obvious animal-like qualities such as Larry Niven's Kzinti and C.J. Cherryh's The Pride of Chanur as well as the Wookiees and Ewoks of Star Wars. 
i. Corporate, promotional, and sports mascots such as Tony the Tiger, Sonic Hedgehog and Two Tails, Chuck E. Cheese Crunch Timberwolf. 
j. Mythological creatures such as centaurs, satyrs and the Minotaur. 
 
Fans - The words "fur" or "furry" are commonly used as a shortening of "furry fan." 
A "fandom" is an organization of people with similar interests for the purposes of promoting, discussing, and generally enjoying that common interest. Fandoms are sometimes quite large (such as Star Trek or Star Wars fandom) and are sometimes quite specific (Road Rovers fandom). Fandoms are sometimes carefully organized, with membership rosters, newsletters, and such. Other fandoms, such as furry fandom, are self-selective groups; you are a member of the fandom if you are interested in the subject and want to be a part of activities. 
Furry fandom is usually considered to be a subcategory of Fantasy fandom (fans of fantasy fiction and such), but people sometimes associate it with Science Fiction fandom or Anime fandom (Japanese animation fandom) as well. It is simply all of those furs fascinated by anthropomorphics who want to know and meet others with the same interest. Like most fandoms, it's hard to characterize furry fans, though many will try. 
Someone who is willing to be called a fur is generally someone who's not just buying a funny animal comic or two and occasionally looking for a novel with anthropomorphic characters in it; a fur generally participates, at least, casually, in some kind of fan activity. This might be subscribing to a fanzine or two, or even contributing art or stories; it frequently involves getting together with other fans at SF cons where "furry parties" are held. In the past 5-10 years conventions dedicated to fur fandom have been established, see below. 
A distinction is made by some folks between fans who are "furries" and ones who are "furry fans." The distinction here is very fuzzy (no pun intended), and involves a subjective level of commitment to the fandom. Some folds will tell you that a "furry" is someone who has a "personal furry," what other fandoms would refer to as a "persona." Others have maintained that to be a "furry" on this level is to be a spiritual therianthrope, a person with a mystical connection to an animal species falling somewhere between shamanism and lycanthropy. Other people are referred to as furries mostly on the level of commitment to fans they've shown--running fanzines, furry parties, and even whole conventions, on a near-constant basis. In practice, however, "furry" is generally used to mean "furry fan," unless the speakers are involved in a discussion of fan philosophy (like this paragraph). 
 
Personal Furry - Many people have specific furry characters that represent them. They are characters that they have created as representations of their furry personality. Personal furries are more often serious characters rather than cartoons (this is by no means a rule, simply the average), and they often have a clearly defined personality (not necessarily that of the fan, either). For example a shy and withdrawn person may take the persona of a wolf or tiger and when in character become self assured and confident. 
These attributes are the same as those of role-playing fans, who will come to identify with their various characters. Personal furries may also be role-playing characters; there are various on-line words filled with anthropomorphic animals, so someone's personal furry may be their VR character. Personal furries may also be favorite or totem animals, which that person simply likes. 
A fan's connection to his personal furry is unpredictable; the level of association varies widely. Some people find that their personal furry is a representation of some aspect of their own psyche. The division between their character and themselves exists only in the minds of psychologists. Other fans may have personal furries which are their favorite character to draw. They may often draw a particular furry of their own design, but experience an attachment no deeper than that. 
Most furries probably fall someplace in the above spectrum; the attraction to furrydom is sometimes a strong psychological drive and sometimes a simple hobby. We simply have to accept that there is a lot of variance on this issue. 
 
Furry Code - The furry code is a series of compact symbols that communicates the essential characteristics of a furry to other members of the furry subculture and is available at: 
http://www.io.com/~bryce/codes/furry120.html 
 
Conventions - There are several major furry conventions that one can attend. 
a. Albany Anthro Con (AAC) is a new convention which is held in July in Albany, New York. (http://www.wizvax.net/aac/) 
b. ConFURence (CF) is the granddaddy of all furry conventions and is held in January in Orange County, California. (http://www.confurence.com/) 
c. Duckon is held in June in Chicago and is a science fiction and fantasy convention with a significant furry makeup. (http://www.mcs.com/~rcking/html/duckon.html) 
d. EuroFURence (EF) is the European furry convention and is held in a different city each year. (http://www.tigress.com/eurofur/) 
e. MemphitFurMeet (MFM) is held Labor Day weekend in Memphis, Tennessee. (http://www.mindspring.com/~dpickett1/furmeet.html) 
f. MoreFurCon (MFC) is the replacement for ConFURence East 
and will be held in November of 1998 at Independence, Ohio (http://www.tigerden.com/CFEast/) 
g. Zoniecon (ZC) is a brand new furry convention to be held in May, 1998 in Casa Grande Arizona. (http://www.servtech.com/public/petercat/Furry/zoniecon.txt) 
h. ChattaCon, a SF/Fantasy/Furry convention in Tennessee in January. (http://www.chattanooga.net/chattacon/) 
i. FurConn, a furry convention in Connecticut. (http://trypnotk.dyn.ml.org/furconn/index.html) 
These are only the major conventions in the United States and Europe. There may also be conventions in Australia and Japan. 
What can you expect to see and do at a convention? The following activities have been done at past ConFURences, and some or all may be done at other conventions. For food there is an ice cream social (usually included in the entrance fee) and a pizza or lasagna feast (usually paid on a per slice or per portion basis). For entertainment there is a Rave Dance, Purple Nurple Disco and the Cabaret (adult only entertainment). There is the Pet Auction where one can bid on volunteers who then draw a picture, give a massage, or follow you around on a collar and leash. There are special interest groups (round table discussions) on various topics, including fursuit construction. There are dealer rooms where one can buy statues, plushies, ears and tails and sometimes masks, pen and ink drawings, pencil sketches, and full color art. And going round the clock is at least one video room showing Video Movies and TV programs. 
The main highlight of a convention is the masquerade or costume competition. There are a few basic types of fursuits that are seen at conventions. The simplest and least expensive costume is just street clothes with a head band with attached ears and a tail hung from the belt with or without gloves and/or face makeup. Next up in complexity and cost is street clothes with a partial or full mask or detailed face makeup possibly with a latex snout over the nose, furry paws and feet, with a tail attached to the belt or inserted in a waist band. The most expensive and best looking are the elaborate full body fursuits that may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars for materials and require many months of work to create. A fursuit may be made and worn by the same person, or made by one person for another. 


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