BCMCR Event Series: N-uwu Thinking, N-uwu Directions

By Reuben Mount on March 8th, 2024

As you have likely already assumed from the title, my take on the theme is decidedly playful. As part of my various forays into the future field of ‘Furry Studies’, I’ve ended up exploring a lot of unique directions of research on the furry fandom. Occasionally those directions have thrown up more questions than answers, and this presentation that I gave at the BCMCR Event Series session on 14th February 2024 – New Thinking, New Directions – is speaking to one of those times.

First, it would serve us to define some terms so we’re all barking up the same trees, starting with defining what exactly “furry” is. The simplest definition is that ‘furry fans are individuals who self-identify with an interest in anthropomorphism—the ascription of human traits to animals—and zoomorphism—the ascription of animal traits to humans’ (Reysen, et al. 2017). While I might not entirely agree with this definition, and that is definitely a much larger discussion for another time, it serves as a solid enough starting point to start looking at furries.

The other term of importance here would be what the “fursona” is, as one of the main topics of discussion. In the simplest terms, the fursona is and (often) anthropomorphic animal avatar for interacting with the furry fandom or within fandom spaces. Alternatively, in less simple terms, it is ‘a furspeech portmanteau derived from the terms furry and persona, that refers to a (normally furry) character, persona, alter ego, avatar, or identity assumed by a person or player normally associated with the furry fandom’ (WikiFur, 2024).

Where I arrive to bork things up is in the scrutiny of the fursona and how these characters come to be. There have been surveys performed by the furry research group FurScience (2017; 2023) into the fursona, but there’s a few questions as to “why” the demographic data for fursonas looks the way it does. The data, which can be seen on slide 6 of the PDF embedded below, shows one thing pretty clearly – the choices of species for fursonas is overwhelmingly canine (Plante, 2023). The question I pose then, is why exactly are canines this prevalent in the furry fandom?

Mount – 2024 – N-uwu Thinking, N-uwu Directions

My initial argument here is that this is potentially influenced by furry media texts – or texts that foreground anthropomorphic animal characters. As a means of a first examination of this question, I have briefly analysed two popular furry media texts looking specifically at whether these foreground canine characters.

Firstly, Housepets! (2008) was selected due its wins at the annual furry media awards, the Ursa Major Awards, which I have assumed could reasonably denote popularity within the fandom. Secondly, Robin Hood (1973) was chosen due to the popularity and influence of Disney within the fandom (Plante and Roberts, 2020), and this film specifically being cited as an early inspiration for furries finding one another (Strike, 2017).

Beginning with Housepets! then, we can see immediately that the primary two characters of the series are a dog and house cat, which rank 6th and 7th respectively in the FurScience data. A deeper dive into the wider characters of the series reflects the demographic data of the furry fandom with the largest proportion of the named cast being canine (dogs, wolves, foxes). Also, in a chart ranking the characters by number of appearances, 7 out of the top 10 characters are canine. So, there is definitely an argument that could be made here for a strong canine prevalence.

Onto Robin Hood, where we see a slightly different picture of things because – well – there’s less canines specifically. However, the main protagonist (and character with the largest screen time) is a canine (fox, ranked 3rd in demographic data), with the main antagonists being a lion and wolf (8th and 2nd in the data respectively). Also, the cast are filled out with a myriad of other species – such as bears, rabbits and dogs – all three of which appear in the top 20 of the data. So, although this text has less canine prevalence, there’s still a possible reflection of fursona species choice more broadly. Also, the sheer level of screen time of Robin himself, as a fox, and seeing foxes nicely nestled in 2nd place of the data is difficult to ignore.

The biggest question then, and one that I’m still mulling over, is: if there’s an influence here, where exactly did this start? Did the furry media text influence the fursona species choice or did the furry fandom influence the species prevalence in the texts? The best answer I have come to so far is that it’s likely both in a cycle. The furry texts created outside the fandom are adopted into the “furry canon”, then these influence fursona species choice whether consciously or subconsciously, which influences the species prevalence in furry texts created by the fandom, and so on.

The idea of a “howl chain”-like cycle isn’t the most elegant answer to the question, and there’s likely a lot more nuance to this conversation that these initial thoughts will have overlooked. But it’s nonetheless a fascinating avenue of inquiry that has a lot more bite to it than it first appears.



  • Plante, C. and Roberts, S.E. (2020) ‘The Social Science of Furries: Furscience Panel’, Culturally F’d. Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn-22CdJYcY&t=2214s>.
  • Plante, C., Reysen, S., Roberts, S.E, and Gerbasi, K.C. (2016) FurScience! A Summary of Five Years of Research from the International Anthropomorphic Research Project. Available at: < https://furscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Fur-Science-Final-pdf-for-Website_2017_10_18.pdf>.
  • Plante, C.N., Reysen, S., Adams, C., Roberts, S.E. and Gerbasi, K.C. eds. (2023) Furscience: A Decade of Psychological Research on the Furry Fandom, International Anthropomorphic Research Project: Texas.
  • Reysen, S., Plante, C., Roberts, S., Gerbasi, K., Schroy, C., Gamboa, A., Gamboa, J., and McCarter, T. (2017) Routes to Fandom Discovery and Expression of Fan Identity in Furry, Anime, and Fantasy Sport Fans, The Phoenix Papers, 3(1), pp.373-384.
  • Strike, J. (2017) Furry Nation: The True Story of America’s Most Misunderstood Subculture, Kleis Press: Jersey City. 
  • WikiFur (2024) WikiFur, the furry encyclopaedia [online]. Available at <https://en.wikifur.com/wiki/WikiFur>.