Shen lungs were physically distinguished by their enormous size, up to 151 feet (46 meters) in length. They resembled pan lung in appearance but were shorter and thicker. As hatchling they had dull scales that were either blue, green, orange or red. Sometimes polychromatic. As they aged, a shen lungs scaled brightened. A shen lung had ridges along its back, a spiked tail and two horns atop its head. Their gold-colored whiskers featured prominently on their snout.
Unlike most dragons, shen lung were modest. They maintained cordial relationships with nature spirits. Most shen lung would take human form to observe human life in villages, as they were fascinated by humans. Humans in Kara-tur regarded shen lung as messengers from the gods and a source of good luck, often constructing shrines and temples, and held ceremonies to gain favour of a local shen lung.
A shen lung would avoid combat if possible, seeking negotiations over open combat. If these negotiations failed, they unleashed savage melee attacks with their teeth, claws and spiked tail. They used several spells to attack, such as ice storm, scaly command and water fire.
Shen lung had a natural immunity to lightning and poison but were vulnerable to fire. They also had a unique barrier ability which prevented any regular or giant insect, arachnid, and arthropod from approaching within 60 feet (18 meters).
They had innate magical abilities, each gained as they grew older. Three times per day a mature shen lung could use cone of cold, control weather, ice storm, scaly command. Once per day a mature shen lung could use bane, bless, curse and horrid wilting.
While precious gems was the main component of their diet, a shen lung would also eat fish and small mammals. A shen lung lair was found at the bottom of the river or lake they were assigned to by the Celestial Bureaucracy. A shen lung lacked wings but was able to fly because of a magical yellow pearl embedded in their brains, this pearl was similar to that on a t'ien lung. If found on a dead shen lung or removed from a live one, this pearl was worth 1,000 gp, yet did not retain its magical abilities. They could breathe both water and air. Shen lung could communicate with animals in a way similar to the spell speak with animals. 
- James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 159. ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.
- David Cook, Steve Winter, and Jon Pickens (1989). Monstrous Compendium Volume Three Forgotten Realms Appendix (MC3). (TSR, Inc), p. 42. ISBN 0-88038-769-6.
- Don Turnbull (1981). Fiend Folio. (TSR Hobbies), p. 29. ISBN 0-9356-9621-0.
- James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 160. ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.
- James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 161. ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.
- Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 118. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
Chromatic dragons: Red • Black • Blue • Green • White • Brown • Gray • Purple • Pink • Salt • Yellow
Gem dragons: Amethyst • Beljuril • Emerald • Sapphire • Topaz • Crystal • Obsidian • Ruby
Neutral dragons: Amber • Jacinth • Moonstone • Pearl
Lung dragons: Chiang lung • Li lung • Lung wang • Pan lung • Shen lung • T'ien lung • Tun mi lung • Yu lung
Planar dragons: Adamantine • Astral • Battle • Blight • Chaos • Ethereal • Hellfire wyrm • Howling • Mirage • Oceanus • Pyroclastic • Radiant • Rust • Shadow • Styx • Tarterian
Epic dragons: Force • Prismatic
Catastrophic dragons: Earthquake • Volcanic
Miscellaneous dragons: Cobra • Dzalmus • Mist • Radiant • Rattelyr • Song • Vishap
Linnorms: Corpse tearer • Dread • Stygian
Drakes: Ambush • Black firedrake • Dragonne • Elemental (Earth • Fire • Ice • Magma • Ooze • Smoke • Water) • Felldrake (Crested • Spitting) • Greater • Guard • Mind • Portal • Rage • Space • Vulture
Dragonbloods: Draconic creature • Dragonborn of Bahamut • Dragonspawn
Drow-dragon (shadow) • Drow-dragon (deep) • Half-dragon • Kobold (Dragonwrought • Urd) • Weredragon • Zar'ithra • Zekyl
Hybrid monsters: Dracimera • Mantidrake • Wyvern drake