Considered by many to be yet another type of the Tibetan Mastiff breed, the ancient Shan Dog is a typical mountain spitz, known for its vicious and fierce nature. Fairly massive, but neither leggy nor tall, it is squarely built and wide-headed, not unlike a larger Chow, with which it is sometimes confused. However, unlike the Chinese Chow, the Shan Mastiff has folded ears and a slightly longer muzzle.
This is primarily a property watchdog, but is also used to herd and protect livestock. It is friendly with familiar people, but can be very suspicious of strangers and confrontational with other dogs.
The Shan Dog is a self-suficient, hardy breed and even though it isn't a typical longhaired dog like the popular Tibetan Mastiff, it has a dense and rich undercoat, providing good protection from the extreme climates of its homeland. Most common colourings are yellow, fawn or red, some with a white spot on the chest. The average height is around 24 inches.