Furry fandom is a fandom for fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics. Examples of anthropomorphic attributes include exhibiting human intelligence and facial expressions, the ability to speak, walk on two legs, and wear clothes. Furry fandom is also used to refer to the community of people who gather on the Internet and at conventions.
According to fandom historian Fred Patten, the concept of furry originated at a science fiction convention in 1980, when a character drawing from Steve Gallacci’s Albedo Anthropomorphics started a discussion of anthropomorphic characters in science fiction novels. This led to the formation of a discussion group that met at science fiction and comics conventions. Patten defined “Furry fandom” as “the organized appreciation and dissemination of art and prose regarding ‘Furries’, or fictional mammalian anthropomorphic characters.”
Historically, furry fandom has been male-dominated, but over time the proportion of females in the fandom -- especially artists -- has increased, approaching equality with males on furry art galleries.
Furries: An Inside Look - Furry fandom documentary