3.1 Species Popularity

Creating a fursona is one of the most universal behaviours in the furry fandom.1 Defined as anthropomorphic animal representations of the self, furries interact with other members of the fandom through the use of these avatars, both in-person (e.g., badges at conventions) and online (e.g., profile pictures, forum handle). Fursonas can differ dramatically in the amount of detail they entail, and can include distinct personalities, histories, relationships, and attitudes. At very minimum, however, most fursonas include a name and a species.

Furries and non-furries alike frequently ask about fursona species, usually asking about the most unusual species or wondering what the most frequently chosen species are. In an online study, we collected information on more than 6,000 distinct fursonas, which were categorized into 852 unique species (which were subsequently organized for ease of presentation.)2
Many of the species listed were unique and, as such, cannot be presented in order to preserve the anonymity of our participants. In the figures that follow, such species are aggregated in the “other” categories for the most relevant group.

First, we present the data for all species. We then proceed with a group-by-group breakdown of popular categories. Within each category, “unspecified” means that the species was simply identified as the category (e.g., within the “wolf” category analysis, “unspecified” refers to people who just put “wolf” rather than any specific breed/type of wolf).

Please note that this category breakdown is not meant to reflect biological taxonomy or cladistics, but is instead meant to be a close approximation of how groups of similar species “clustered” together (e.g., the authors know that a wolverine and a badger are not “rodents,” but included them in with “small furry mammals” for ease of analysis).

* Note that the “other” category here represents 52.1% of all the listed hybrids (and represent unique or exceptionally rare identified hybrids).

 

 

Most Popular Wolf Fursonas

Note that the “non-specified” category here represents 74.1% of all wolves.

Most Popular Fox Fursonas

Note that the “non-specified” category here represents 68.3% of all foxes.

Most Popular Dog Fursonas

Note that the “non-specified” category here represents 37.5% of all dogs.

Most Popular Big Cat Fursonas

The authors recognize that many of these are not “big” cats so much as they are “wild” cats.

Most Popular Dragon Fursonas

Note that the “non-specified” category here represents 84.7% of all dragons.

Most Popular Mythical Fursonas

Most Popular Pokémon  Fursonas

Note that the “non-specified” category here represents 63% of all Pokémon.

Most Popular Cat Fursonas

Note that the “non-specified” category here represents 85.3% of all cats.

Most Popular Rodent Fursonas

Most Popular Reptile Fursonas

Most Popular Avian Fursonas

 

Most Popular Bear Fursonas

Most Popular Aquatic Fursonas

Most Popular Marsupial Fursonas

Most Popular Dinosaur Fursonas

Misc. Species Popularity

In addition to assessing the most popular species furries choose for their fursonas, recent studies have also begun to look at other aspects of fursona choice. For example, one study recently looked at whether furries tend to choose fursonas that are more feral (look like an animal) or anthropomorphic (resemble a human).3 This question was asked as a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (Completely feral) to 7 (Completely Anthro). The results, posted below, reveal that the vast majority of furries create fursonas that are predominantly anthropomorphic.

In the same study, we also tested whether there were predictable differences in the type of furry who chooses a more anthropomorphic/feral fursona. Results revealed very few differences: therians were more likely to adopt feral fursonas (and, in fact, many would not even consider it to be a “fursona” so much as the animal aspect of themselves), as were women. Factors that were unrelated to fursona anthropomorphism included age, extent to which one identifies as a furry, sexual orientation, years as a furry, owning a fursuit, and mental health.

In an online survey4wolves are, internationally, still the most prevalent single fursona species. That said, this survey represented the first time that foxes have been outnumbered by a species other than wolf: namely, dragons, who took the second slot for more prevalent single fursona species. Also noteworthy in this survey, despite providing around 40 different categories to capture the most popular fursona species, nearly one-quarter of all furries indicated having an “other” fursona species.

Fursona Species Prevalance, 2020 International Online Survey

  • Other: 23.9%
  • Wolf: 20.7%
  • Dragon: 16.0%
  • Fox: 15.8%
  • Hybrid: 14.0%
  • Dog: 10.6%
  • Housecat: 8.2%
  • Other Big Cat: 6.9%
  • Mythic/Mystic: 6.7%
  • Tiger: 5%
  • Lion: 3.4%
  • Shapeshifter: 3.4%
  • Deer: 3.2%
  • Hyena: 2.8%
  • Rabbit: 2.6%
  • Raccoon: 2.2%
  • Bear: 2.2%
  • Otter: 2.2%
  • Snow Leopard: 2.2%
  • Reptile: 1.7%
  • Pokemon: 1.5%
  • Were-: 1.3%
  • Skunk: 1.3%
  • Bull: 1.1%
  • Horse: 1.1%
  • Phoenix: 0.9%
  • Sergal: 0.9%
  • Other Bird: 0.7%
  • Goat: 0.7%
  • Cow: 0.6%
  • Mouse/Rat: 0.6%
  • Unicorn: 0.6%
  • Shark: 0.6%
  • Crow: 0.6%
  • Kangaroo: 0.6%
  • Gryphon: 0.6%
  • Snake: 0.6%
  • Primate: 0.6%
  • Raven: 0.4%
  • Squirrel: 0.4%
  • Dinosaur: 0.4%

References

  1. See 3.8 Number of Fursonas
  2. International Online Furry Survey: Winter 2011
  3. Anthrocon 2016 Study
  4. Summer 2020 Survey

75 Comments

  1. Star

    You have “bat” under rodents. Bats are actually more related to humans than to rodents! They should go in “misc”.

    Reply
    • F.f Star

      Can you add horse breeds please. I’m curious to see if more people like mytholical, draft, or standard horses

      Reply
    • Kaksxhxzj

      BAT IS BAT

      Reply
    • James the Pedantic Angiosperm

      That is not correct, bats are Chiropterans meanwhile both primates (including humans) and rodents are both Supraprimates due to their membership in the Clade Euarchontoglires. Rats and Humans are more closely related to one another than either one is to bats.

      Reply
    • Geode

      I feel pretty left out…you don’t include squirrels or chipmunks. I’m a chipmunk myself and I’m bummed by this

      Reply
      • Ren

        There are squirrels.

        Reply
        • kiwi

          Bats arent rodents 🙁

          also squirrel power

          Reply
        • Sparks

          Where proto

          Reply
      • Noxey_TheProtogen

        WHERE PROTOGEN

        Reply
        • Admin

          Data is submitted by participants who fill out surveys. We only include the species identified in any particular study or sample. This doesn’t mean the species you mentioned doesn’t exist, but that they weren’t captured (or didn’t meet an inclusion threshold) in this particular sample or study in which these data are presented. We’re currently reviewing all data for an up-and-coming book, and following that, we’ll update all data on this website which may include updated statistics on or inclusion of your aforementioned species.

          Reply
    • roselynn

      yas agreed

      Reply
  2. Geode

    I wish us chipmunks were more prevalent and represented

    Reply
    • Shayla

      Yeah its actually sad that chipmunk are not that popular

      Reply
      • Nick the Squirrel

        I know, same…kinda sad that squirrels arent amongst like, foxes, we’re like super fluffy!

        Reply
  3. Lanie

    This helped a lot.

    Reply
  4. Kangarumpy

    I’m guessing that Wallabies are a statistical anomaly then, huh?

    Reply
    • Dell

      Possums are marsupials..

      Reply
  5. aaron

    i’m a wolf so can you add more about us

    Reply
    • roselynn

      yeah

      Reply
  6. SJ

    Seriously? You put Weasels, Stoats, Mink, Meerkats, Wolverines, Martens, Badgers, Mongooses, Moles, Hedgehog, Armadillo, Bat, and Possum in Rodents? You really did like zero research, did you? Don’t claim to be doing science and then get this much wrong in a single graph.

    Bats, Moles, Armadillos, Hedgehogs, Possums, and Mongooses & Meerkats are all in completely different Orders (Rodentia is an Order) from Chinchillas, Rats, Mice, Hamsters, and Porcupines… the same Order that contains Chipmunks, Squirrels, Gophers, Prairie Dogs, Capybaras, and Beavers. As for Weasels, Martens, Stoats, Minks, Ferrets, Badgers and Wolverines… they’re all Mustelids… which are Carnivores. This is akin to putting Bears in the same group with rats.

    And you have no excuse for Possums… they’re Marsupials! You have that group. This is just sloppy.

    Reply
    • Admin

      In the general terms, our goal is to describe the fandom, as represented by Furries, not prescribe to the fandom. While we know those species aren’t rodents, biologically cladistically, they could be lumped charitably into the category small mammals, and rodent seemed small enough as a representative species for subcategory for grouping “like” fursonas of that type broadly, rather than strict biological taxonomy specifically. However, we appreciate some of the confusion, and perhaps rodent wasn’t the right term. The point of the chart was to illustrate and differentiate the popularity of the various fursonas within the fandom. The data is self-reported.

      As an update, we’re currently working on recoding the classifications, and all of the feedback, including yours, will be considered.

      Reply
      • Jack

        So I’d like some more represent in the naked mole rat area

        Reply
      • LARISSA

        Hello hehehe nice to know there is a furry calculation here im a other hybrid species i call myself a guardian dragon type i mainly make peaple happy by protecting theem from the shadows that makes deepression i stay hidden that is why i dont post my drawing art of my self stay safe evryone love from the GUARDIAN SPECIES over and out.

        Reply
      • Zahzu

        As a Zoologist who also happens to be a furry, such a blatant scientific inaccuracy like this is really mind-boggling to me, especially if you are submitting any of this information for review by the greater academic community.

        If you need a zoologist onboard your team, I would absolutely be happy to assist you at any time — even as a volunteer. One of my specializations is in taxonomy and cladistics, and it would only take me a matter of moments to devise an effective, concise, and scientifically accurate means of classifying the fursona species represented in our community!

        Reply
        • Admin

          I appreciate your comment, and I agree with you that it leaves a lot to be desired compared to a properly done taxonomy, but like I’ve said previously, it’s not meant to be that, and for this reason, I would ask for some patience and understanding.

          These are just participant-generated lists of self-described species to demonstrate frequency of occurrence, categorized (and this is, again, where I agree with you) under some inclusive, meaningful (helpful?), general label, sufficient to lump them together as groups to get a snapshot of the data we’d compiled (at the time) into some kind of comparative list.

          It’s not definitive, exhaustive, authoritative, nor prescriptive. The intent was to arrange the raw data and include as much as possible, so people, furries, non-furries, and the media, can see the diversity and creativity within the fandom’s fursona species. It’s also many years out of date, and so much more data has been compiled since.

          As you know, biological taxonomy are describing phylogeny by common ancestry, but Fursona species are products of creativity, not evolution by natural selection. The may evolve, but their evolution is directed, unlike biological evolution.

          I think for that reason, a biological analogous taxonomical standard might not be the most appropriate to account for the spontaneity and limitless creativity of fandom: e.g., we’ve had hybrid species listed as this or that animal plus muffin–yes, a muffin! What’s the monophyletic group for Muffin? Baked goods? What’s the Genus, species? Flour-based, sweetened with sugar Sub-family of edibles? It can get really interesting, and let’s be clear: no one will be 100% happy with everything anyway because fursona creation is very personal, and species creation, biologically speaking is, well, not: from Australopithecus to Ziziphus I’ve yet to receive a complaint, but leave Protogen off a list of fursona species (before they were an actual thing!), and I never hear the end of it–and yes, Proton is coming! We hear you, all of you 😉 🙂

          I’ve given your comment a lot of consideration, I think the better analogous taxonomy would be something more akin to a genre-based taxonomy in much the way that musical genres are classed because the speciation events aren’t determined necessarily morphologically but how the creator (of each fursona) decides their fursona’s species, influenced by artistic styles, emulations from both natural and fictional analogues in their morphology. These are endlessly fascinating and wonderful, but they don’t always conform to any objective standard, I think you’ll agree.

          Does that make sense?

          How about this: if you, or anyone, have a correction, like “you classed bats as birds and s/b mammals,” note it, tag it, and pass it along to me (admin@furscience.com), and I’ll make sure the correction makes it to subsequent iterations, which hopefully, work better for all. This goes for species not mentioned, too, with the understanding that we’re not going around classifying species, but collecting data from Furries who classify themselves 😉

          As for your offer to help, we have nothing formally to offer, and the issue isn’t a priority at this moment–we have A LOT going on, especially in the debunking dept. with all the haters–but it sounds like you have a lot of informed expertise and experience, and I’d be happy to hear some of your constructive suggestions on how you’d envisage a proper taxonomy while addressing some of the concerns I mentioned.

          Send me, Malicious Beaver, an email at admin@furscience.com, and we’ll continue this conversation if you wish.

          Thanks for your comment 🙂

          Reply
    • Anatasha the Khajit

      It was said in through beginning that it is not based of biology, but rather, what animals are similar, and rodents was defined as small furry mammal

      Reply
  7. Jackknife

    include dutch angel dragons

    Reply
    • Tw15t3d_W0LF

      yes I’m a dutch angel dragon myself and it isn’t there? Like what? I don’t see why they aren’t there because they are really popular so whoever made this must have known what they are. I’m also pretty sure telephone is a dutch angel dragon? Correct me if I’m wrong I’ve just got back into the fandom after about 2 years

      Reply
      • Admin

        The list is generated by answers to surveys. If enough participants check off “Dutch Angel Dragon” then the data will reflect that. The best way to ensure your species is represented is to participate in those surveys, so do it, and send it to all your Dutch Angel Dragon friends, and they, too, will be feel included.

        Reply
    • rex

      and make protogens a own category

      Reply
  8. Anissah

    So im a deer cat hybrid any chance you g=could add it also my fursona name is deery

    Reply
  9. Aspiringfurry

    So… geese aren’t that popular? Perfect! PLAN G WILL BE PUT TO ACTION IMMEDIATELY!!!

    Reply
  10. Maggie

    Hey I just wanted to mention possums are marsupials not rodents! Love the article though!

    Reply
  11. Cherrycupcake

    Red pandas would be good to have in this.

    Reply
    • Ihitrockbottom

      My fursona is an eskimo dog + red panda! I know that hybrid is awkward, but hey, its cute-

      Reply
  12. Shayla

    This helped me to see that my fursona is unique

    But I would like more alien dogs in the fandom though

    Reply
  13. Olive

    Okay, there’s just one problem I have. I see that possum is in the rodent category. I don’t know if you mean the American opossum or the Australian possum, but either way, it would be in the marsupial category. Just had to say that, sorry. It just kinda triggers me. But other than that, it’s really great and interesting to me! ^^

    Reply
  14. dont eat the lemons

    where is protogen?

    Reply
    • Admin

      Protogen is a relatively new species, and though they’re popular enough to make it into a few surveys, more recently, they were just not frequent enough at the time the data was collected a few years ago. We’re looking to put together an updated list/graph sometime soon, so stay tuned!

      Reply
      • rex

        now you’ll also have to ad primagen ;D

        Reply
  15. Wake

    It would be nice to see possibly something about the original species of the fandom, such as Dutch angel Dragons, protogens, and other species that are created by the community.

    Reply
    • Mangaka Kitsune UTAU

      I’m an hybrid fox/cat and it is aproximaly 2% :’0 it is interesting to be the 2% people. Incredyble document! 💪

      Reply
  16. mina

    hm i will try that and see

    Reply
    • Whydoyouwantmyname

      I relatively just looked for this so I could see the amount of otters.. How are then not more popular I mean just look at how they play in the water it’s adorable and awesome to have an otter fursona but people like what they like.

      Reply
  17. Mr. Random Tiger

    Are miscellaneous fursonas the and Other the same?

    Reply
    • Admin

      It’s been a few years since we compiled and graphed that data, but yes seems to be the answer to your question.

      Reply
  18. Artemiy

    opossums arent rodents at all actually! theyre marsupials, related to kangaroos and koalas. possums and opossums arent the same despite the name, im assuming you mean “opossums” like most people do

    Reply
  19. Blue

    I am a duch angel dragon / goat and i looked it up and i didnt find any so i am in my own species cool

    Reply
  20. bunbun

    this is really helpful info!! do you think there will be updated info about original species such as dutch angel dragons, manokits, protogens, and skull dogs? It would be really interesting to see this side of the fandom!!

    Reply
  21. Korey

    Wat bout protogen fursona?

    Reply
  22. Tropical Dino

    Thanks! This is super super helpful for my adopt series (unusual anthros)

    Reply
  23. Fitz The Fox

    Please add Protogen to list

    Reply
  24. danny

    i was wondering if undead breed was a thing in the furry community

    Reply
    • danny

      also is there any cyborg furrys by chance?

      Reply
      • SomeFurryEnthusiast

        That is a protogen/primagen. Search it up!

        Reply
  25. Kadarus

    Why the percentages add up to more than 100% for 2020 survey? Were participants able to select multiple options in that survey?

    Reply
    • Admin

      For some questions, we include a “check all that apply” option, which expands the range beyond 100%.

      Reply
  26. Nat

    Opossums are actually marsupials and more related to kangaroos than they are rats and rodents

    Reply
  27. Sizer Le cluck

    Roosters are even more rare theirs about 10 or so in the entire fandom and just 5 or so dedicated Roosters/Chickens.

    Chickens rooster would be about .2 percent in there fandom lol

    Reply
  28. Midnight moon

    where is the kitsune (9 tail). I dont see it anywhere.

    Reply
  29. yep

    im going to do my own research but are there any shark/dragon hybrids or techincally sea dragons?

    Reply
  30. Trent

    I am honestly appalled by this article. I personally have a house cat/velociraptor/blob fish fursona and I feel so underrepresented in the community. Please do more research next time and maybe try to ask people who actually are in the community instead of blatantly disrespecting us with the obvious outsider point of view.
    Signed, an angry furry

    Reply
    • Admin

      If you fill out a survey and participate in any one of our studies, your data will become part of the overall analysis. We can’t count what we don’t know, but we know that there are things we don’t know, so we keep looking 🙂 We speak to thousands of furries across the globe throughout the year, live, in-person, at one of our many booths at some of the biggest cons in the world, and after our many research talks at cons, and online. If we’re not at a con near you, or one you’re able can attend, you can always participate through the website, or follow us on Twitter where we post links to surveys.

      Reply
    • Arkavon

      odds are 1 to 1000 OP is an actual furry lol

      Reply
  31. Jackie The Raptor

    I added the percentage of the species prevalence and it gave me about 170% what’s up with that?

    Reply
    • Admin

      It’s being reviewed. Thanks for reporting 🙂

      Reply
  32. Riot

    Ooof we lagomorphs a small bunch

    Reply
  33. AshlynTheLeopard

    can someone list species of fursonas and such? i know theres things like, cats, dogs, bunnies, etc; but what about things like manokits, dutch angel dragons, skull dogs, protogens, nardo dragons, avalis, ect;

    Reply
  34. Mason

    What about protogens???

    Reply
  35. Arkavon

    Completely shocked that red pandas are not present. Maybe it’s a more recent thing, but I see them EVERYWHERE in the fandom nowadays.

    Reply
    • Admin

      Data is submitted by participants who fill out surveys. We only include the species identified in any particular study or sample. This doesn’t mean the species you mentioned doesn’t exist, but that they weren’t captured (or didn’t meet an inclusion threshold) in this particular sample or study in which these data are presented. We’re currently reviewing all data for an up-and-coming book, and following that, we’ll update all data on this website which may include updated statistics on or inclusion of your aforementioned species.

      Reply

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