The four legged silver beast has roughly the size of a medium dragon, and the head of a wolf. Whip-like tentacles sprout from its torso. It is not surely known which creatures serve as components to the chimera; it does seem to have, however, a connection to the golden dragons, as Zanaffar is able to use the same laser breath that they possess. It can be shot either from its mouth or from its tentacles.
Either because the manuscript failed to describe the process properly, or because of the insufficient human knowledge of magic, following the process described in the Claire Bible manuscript from the court of Letidius results in this lethal abomination. The creature is dormant at first, acting in all aspects as it were a real Zenaffa armor. However, after a certain time has passed, the chimera first takes control of, then devours its wearer, integrating all of its victim's knowledge into itself. It can gain more knowledge by consuming additional creatures. But the most fearsome ability of Zanaffar is that its being is completely sealed off from the astral side. That prohibits it from using magic, but also makes most spells useless against him; if the spell would get through its astral seal (as some shamanistic ones do), it would surely be negated by its amazingly tough hide, which can even withstand a Blast Bomb. The only known magic that affects it is the one which draws power from the Lord of Nightmares. Also usable against it is the Sword of Light, which can cut through its natural armor. Xelloss mentioned that high-ranking mazoku like himself can beat the creature easily, although it is not known by what means can that be accomplished.
The first known Zanaffar was created when a sorcerer in Sairaag wanted to test the authenticity of the manuscript his family possessed, and completed the process. The raging chimera destroyed the city, but it was eventually killed by the then owner of the Sword of Light, a female warrior assisted by someone from among the ryūzoku. The sorcerer's descendants fled, but the manuscript remained a family heirloom, only to be stolen later by Krotz in the novels, who managed to create two more Zanaffars. One never managed to go past its first dormant state, but the other consumed its owner and became complete. It was finally destroyed by Lina Inverse using the Ragna Blade. In the anime, Copy Rezo succeeded in creating a Zanaffar using a manuscript owned by the original Rezo. He somehow managed to protect himself from being devoured by the awakened beast, and was able to control the creature, becoming immensely powerful. In this version of the storyline, Zanaffar was killed along with Copy Rezo using the Blessed Blade.
Zanaffar re-appears in Slayers REVOLUTION and is much closer in design to how he is described in the novels. Zanaffar is born after Duclis is allowed by Xellos to see a page from the Claire Bible which shows how to create perfected Zanaffar armor. Marquis Gioconda is wearing this armor when Duclis learns of her betrayal of his homeland Taforashia. He then causes the armor to activate, where it then consumes Gioconda and becomes the perfected Zanaffar as described above. Zanaffar is able to grow as it consumes humans and works with Duclis so that Duclis can get his revenge on those whom he feels didn't do enough for his country. This Zanaffar is killed by a combined attack from Lina (using the Ragna Blade spell) and Gourry (using the faux Sword of Light) slicing into Zanaffar's hide, allowing Lina to finish it off with an amplified Dragon Slave spell.