After being on ADISC for a while, you might notice a few strange things: many members have avatars that feature animals possessed of human characteristics; some people might refer to each other as "puppies", "kitties" or "cubs", among others; and you might even have seen a thread about some sort of "convention". What you are witnessing are members of the furry fandom. Many people are curious about furries, which is why I have compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about them. Please note that this is not meant to be an in-depth guide, but rather an answer to the most common questions regarding the fandom.
What is a furry?
No-one really agrees precisely what a furry is, least of all furries themselves. Ask this question to five different furries and you are likely to get seven or eight different answers. However, there is near universal agreement that at the very least, a furry is a fan of anthropomorphic animals - animals that have human traits.
This definition is very broad, and as thus the activities which furries partake in as part of the fandom are very varied. For that reason, there is no real "test" to determine if someone is a furry or not; generally speaking, anyone that likes the concept of anthropomorphic animals, and chooses to identify him or herself as a furry, is a furry.
What is a fursona?
A fursona is a character, nearly always an anthropomorphic animal, with which a furry identifies. Each fursona generally has a distinct personality and appearance and is generally owned by a specific furry. It is quite frequent for a furry to have more than one fursona, but in those cases said furry usually has one "main" fursona to which he identifies the most strongly.
What is the difference between a babyfur, a littlefur, and a diaperfur?
A babyfur is a furry who has a fursona that is of baby or toddler age. Littlefurs are similar to babyfurs but have older fursonas, generally a child as opposed to a baby or a toddler. A diaperfur, meanwhile, is a furry who has a fursona of an older age, but which still wears diapers for some reason. Generally speaking, most babyfurs tend to be adult babies while most diaperfurs tend to be diaper lovers, though those are not absolute rules.
What species can a fursona be?
A fursona can be absolutely any species. The most popular fursonas are various members of the canine family (such as foxes, wolves, dogs and coyotes), cats, bears, bunnies, and reptiles (mostly dragons). It is also possible to have a hybrid fursona, which has characteristics of more than one species. Some combinations, such as a half-fox half-wolf, are rather common. Others, such as half-bear half-bunny, are much rarer. Some people also have fursonas that are not quite animal. One such example would be a fursona that is a "neko", or a human with feline-like characteristics, such as cat ears and a cat tail, but no fur.
A fursona also does not need to be from a species that has fur; as mentioned above, dragon fursonas are not rare, and some furries have been known to have birds or sharks as fursonas. Furries with reptile fursonas are often called scalies, while furries who identify with birds may be referred to as avians. Note that, despite the lack of fur, scalies and avians are still considered to be furries – it is the anthropomorphism that matters.
How does a furry chose the species of his/her fursona?
Picking the right species is an important, and often difficult, first step in designing a fursona. At the end of the day your fursona's species is completely up to you. After all, it's your fursona.
As a general rule, furries will choose a species because they like it, they feel some sort of connection to it, they feel their personality is a good match for it, and/or they like its physical appearance.
What is a feral?
A feral is a fursona that has fewer human traits than an anthropomorphic (or anthro, for short) fursona. They can be purely animalistic or have some human traits like the ability to speak, but they generally have very few, if any, human traits in their appearance.
Am I a furry?
Only you can decide if you are a furry or not. As stated above, there is no test or entrance exam. If you are curious about the fandom, then you should probably take a look around ADISC's babyfur section and various other furry websites around the Internet to get a feel for the community. If you start to feel that it would be fun to have a fursona, that role-playing as an anthropomorphic animal sounds like a great idea, or that you're spending a lot of time browsing through galleries of furry art, then you might have answered your own question in the affirmative.
The bottom line is that only you can decide whether or not you are a furry. But if you want to be a furry, then odds are you are a furry. It really is that simple.
Do I need a fursona to be a furry?
No, a strong interest in anthropomorphic animals and in the furry community is all that is really needed. Don't feel rushed to create a fursona; many furries take years before they figure out what they would like their fursona to be like, and indeed some join the fandom simply due to their appreciation of furry art or to be part of a community of like-minded people.
I have a fursona – where do I get art?
That depends. If you like to draw, you can always do it yourself. However, not everyone likes to draw, and not that many people can draw well. This is why most furries will get art commissioned, which means they pay an artist to draw their fursona.
The price of a commissioned drawing varies wildly, depending on the complexity of the commission and on the skill and reputation of the artist. However, you can usually expect to pay about 5-20 USD for an avatar and about 15-30 USD for a simple full body commission. Prices for more complicated pieces featuring multiple characters and a complex background can easily exceed 100 USD.
No money? Don't panic. Less established artists will often take art requests, both to practice drawing other people, and to get their name established. If you stay on the lookout, you might be able to get free art that way.
It is considered an extreme faux pas to claim a fursona that does not belong to you as your own. Furries are very attached to their fursonas and as such do not take it kindly when others use them as their avatar or, worse, claim to own them. If you want a cute anthro animal as your avatar, you should pick an image out of the public domain, chose something out of a movie/TV series, or ask permission from the fursona's owner first.
A note regarding copyright: as a general rule, the furry will own the copyright for his fursona while the artist that drew each picture will own the copyright for each individual picture and will usually ask to be credited when you post the picture on a gallery. It is important to read an artist's terms before commissioning. If such terms are not available, you should ask the artist about the terms under which you are commissioning them.
What is a furry convention?
A furry convention is very similar to a science fiction or an anime convention, in that it aims to bring people of similar interest together to meet both new and old friends, participate in activities, and listen to panels. Most furry conventions, such as Anthrocon and Further Confusion, are based in hotels, with most activities taking place indoors. However, some conventions, such as Feral!, take place outdoors on camp sites, and are thus much more focused on outdoor activities.
What is a convention badge?
A convention badge, also called a "con badge" or simply a "badge", is a drawing featuring a furry's fursona, with the fursona's name written prominently on the badge. Convention badges are usually worn by furries during conventions and other furry meets to allow them to be identified based on their fursona. It is not uncommon to see a furry get a different convention badge for each convention he or she attends – in fact, many artists offer themed badges for major conventions.
What is a fursuit?
A fursuit is a full-body costume, quite similar to a sports team mascot, which is used to represent one's fursona in real life. Fursuiters can often be spotted at furry conventions and meets. Some purchase their suits, while others make their suits themselves. Costs for full suits often exceed 1,000 USD.
There are also partial fursuits, often simply called "partials". These partial suits might, for example, only contain a headpiece, the lower arm piece and the lower leg piece.
It is generally considered good etiquette not to touch a fursuit without its owner's permission, as some suits can be easily damaged.
What other distinctive clothes do furries wear?
Many furries will wear ears, tails and/or collars at meets or conventions. Those items are typically ordered to match one's fursona. There are also a number of companies which produce footed sleepers that loosely resemble anthropomorphic animals, and which are ideal for the furry on a budget (and kill two birds with one stone, if you are a babyfur).
This guide is in no way exhaustive, but it should help answer the most common recurring questions people have about furries. If you have any further questions, the Babyfur/littlefur forum is a good place to ask.