Fancy may include ownership, showing, trialling and other competitions, breeding and judging. Hobbyists may simply collect specimens of the animal in appropriate enclosures, such as aquaria and aviaries. Fanciers with means may keep hobby farms or private zoos. There are many animal fancy clubs and associations in the world catering for everything from pigeons to Irish Wolfhounds; members may own many animals or none at all.
A person who has a fancy for cats is called an ailurophile. Ailurophile comes from ancient Greek language (cat + phile).
"Fancy" as a noun is found in 1465 to be a contraction of the word "fantasy", with the meaning of a whim or desire, from Latin phantasia, mental image. An old meaning of fancy is "something that pleases or entertains the taste". A "fancy-bred" animal is one that has a highly desirable pedigree.
One theory for the term "fan", for one who supports a sports team or any public figure, is that it is likewise derived from this use of "fancy". Other theories exist, however, including the idea that fan is short for fanatic.
Consider too, the expression, "Well, fancy that."