Cybershades were wraith like creatures with bronze Cyber-heads. Cybershades had handle-bars which resembled piping that was connected to their heads, instead of the normal handle-bars that went into a crest on the top of a Cyberman's head. (DW: The Next Doctor)
The Cybershades had the brains of cats or dogs, and were therefore unable to speak or obey complex demands. (WC:Captain Jack's Monster Files: Cybermen) They were seemingly unable to run upright; instead they were only known to run on all fours or bent over low.
The Cybershades were incredibly agile and could jump at least 5 metres off of the ground. They had enough strength to pull two grown men whilst still running at full speed and could scale walls and land safely when falling from a great height. These abilities were exhibited by a Cybershade designated 'Cybershade 16', which leapt up onto the edge of a building, scaled the wall whilst tethered to both the Tenth Doctor andJackson Lake, ran across the floor of the building on all fours (still dragging the two men) before jumping out of the window and seemingly landing safely. (DW: The Next Doctor)
Sometime during the 19th century, the Cybermen of a Parallel Earth broke out of the Void. Needing extra work force, they created the Cybershades as guards and scouts, modelling them on animals so as not to draw too much attention. At least 16 Cybershades were created.
When the Cybermen made contact with Miss Hartigan, the Cybershades were placed under her command. One was assigned to drive her personal horse-and-buggy. At least one Cybershade was being hunted by "The Doctor", but it always managed to evade him.
When Miss Hartigan (now the Cyber-King) took control of a the Cybermen and entered a large, mobile Cyber factory, at least two Cybershades accompanied her (although there could have been more). When the Tenth Doctor gave her back her emotions, the Cybershades exploded along with her and the Cybermen, presumably making the Cybershades extinct. (DW: The Next Doctor)
- The Mondasian Cybermen used a similar source to create theCybermats, though instead of a humanoid body with an animal brain, they were insect-like bodies with animal brains.
- Cybershades were first revealed in Russell T. Davies: The Writer's Tale, where it was confirmed that they would appear in The Next Doctor.
- Only one Cybershade; Cybershade 16 was specifically referenced in the story.