So naturally I went and started googling that too. The Snow Lion is a mystical celestial creature of Tibetan myth. Often described as lion like, but being all white except the long hair (mane, tail) being some other color.
Then I read that the Tibetan Lion Dog (aka the Tibetan Mastiff) could very well be the origin of the Snow Lion, as it can look very lion llike. But, it may also be that the Tibetan people created a breed of dog to resemble the Snow Lion.
Some say that the Snow Lion is based of the Lhasa Apso, but I find that to be hard to believe.
I don't think that the Snow Lion could be based on the Snow Leopard, because they look too different. Not shaggy enough.
The Chinese Guardian Lions, aka "Foo Dog", seems to look very similar. But appear to have a totally different backstory origin, powers and station in myth. For one thing these lions are Always in pairs, while the Snow Lion is most often portrayed as a single creature. So, I think the appearance similarity is superficial.
The Asiatic Lion (A real lion species), does appear to sometimes have very light colored fur, but I could not find if they ever included the highlands of Tibet in their range. They did range into what is today the Punjab and across northern India. They exist today only in the Forest of Gir in India.
Then there are those who think it could be based on the Cave Lion.
Anyway... I thought it interesting and a change from always talking about bigfoot.
Personally, I think the myth is based off the dog breed, but it could very well be from the Asiatic Lion also.
Edited by DieChecker, 23 May 2013 - 07:32 AM.