[[quoteright:300:[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ffxi-pet-dragon-cropped_4684.png]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:300:"[[CutenessProximity Who's the cutest little]] [[Literature/TheHobbit Smaug]]?\\
[[CutenessProximity You are! Yes you are!]]"]]-]

In folklore, both Eastern and Western dragons are invariably [[GiantFlyer gigantic]]. In modern fantasy, however, it's common to see miniature draconic creatures as well. These are usually around the size of crows or hawks, but otherwise resemble standard Western dragons. They can almost always fly, but they may or may not be able to breathe fire and/or use other magical abilities, and like their larger cousins, they may or may not be sapient and able to speak. They're mostly harmless and usually rather cute -- ReptilesAreAbhorrent almost never applies. Settings that have these critters usually have full-sized dragons as well; occasionally, the Shoulder-Sized Dragons may even just be [[GiganticAdultsTinyBabies ordinary dragon hatchlings that have not yet attained their full size]]. More commonly, though, they're a separate but presumably related species.

Why? Well, when it comes to BadassAdorable [[NonHumanSidekick Non-Human Sidekicks]], it [[InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons doesn't get much better]] than a [[FunSize pint-sized]] version of [[Literature/TheHobbit Smaug]]. In any work where these creatures exist, one of them will be kept by a major character as a [[CoolPet pet]], {{Familiar}} or BondCreature. The trope name comes from the fact that they are almost invariably found perching on their human companion's shoulder in the ParrotPetPosition.

As far as we can tell, the UrExample of this trope is found in Creator/UrsulaKLeGuin's 1968 novel ''Literature/AWizardOfEarthsea'', in which tiny "dragon-lizards" that can be tamed as pets appear briefly. The TropeMaker, though, is probably ''[[DragonridersOfPern Dragonquest]]'' by AnneMcCaffrey, published three years later, in which the Shoulder-Sized Dragons play a much bigger role.

Subtrope of OurDragonsAreDifferent, InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons, and CoolPet. See also ABoyAndHisX and LoyalAnimalCompanion, as well as FunSize.
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!!Examples

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[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Axew, a small Dragon-type Franchise/{{Pokemon}}, serves as Iris' primary {{Mon}} in the ''Best Wishes'' [[Anime/{{Pokemon}} anime]], and can often be seen in her hair or hanging from her shoulder.
* ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikerS'' introduces to the franchise Friedrich, a baby silver dragon under the care of [[TheBeastmaster Caro]]. While he's in this form most of the time, he could also be unsealed to become a more adult dragon for combat and transport purposes.
* ''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}'': in dragon form, Jeep is this size, and is usually to be found perching on Hakkai's shoulder.
* The manga ''Anime/DragonDrive'' has the main character partnered with a pint-sized dragon that looks to be a loser at first, but is revealed to be more useful than he seems.
* Pina, from ''LightNovel/SwordArtOnline'', serves as this to Silica.
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[[folder:Card Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Munchkin}}'' has a Cute Shoulder Dragon that gives a +2 bonus to male players and +4 to female players.
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Discussion.aspx?multiverseid=247314 Dragon Whelp]], one of the oldest Creature cards in the game.
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[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Kitty Pryde of the ''ComicBook/XMen'' has a roughly cat-sized pet dragon (actually, a dragon-shaped extraterrestrial) named Lockheed.
* In ''The Skull of Agarash'', a graphic novel set in the ''Literature/LoneWolf'' world, Captain Khadro, pirate ruler of the Lakuri Isles, has a small winged reptile looking like a tiny dragon as PirateParrot. [[spoiler:It is in fact a Liganim, the shapeshifting {{Familiar}} of a Nadziran, the [[BlackMagic Black Wizard]] currently [[DemonicPossession possessing Khadro]].]]
* In Creator/KurtBusiek's ''ComicBook/{{Arrowsmith}}'' (WorldWarI [[RecycledInSpace in a world governed by magic]]) soldiers bond with small "dragonets" by means of a [[AppliedPhlebotinum rare mystical metal]]. This bond allows the soldiers to fly with their dragonets perched on their arms like hunting falcons.
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[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Growf in ''ComicStrip/WhatsNewWithPhilAndDixie''.
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[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Mushu in ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'' is a rare example of a shoulder-sized [[DragonsUpTheYinYang Eastern dragon]]. Justified in that Chinese dragons are said to be able to change size at will. Disney had originally intended for Mushu to be gigantic, but felt he would be terrifying to children, so they [[IncrediblyLamePun scaled him down]] to make him look friendlier and not as scary.
* The Terrible Terror dragons from ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon''.
* The short film ''Film/{{Sintel}}'' features the main character's pet dragon, Scales.
* In the ''Literature/BraveStory'' movie, the baby dragon is a small, fluffy creature that's perfectly HeadPet-sized. He fits the "immature version of larger species" subtrope. However, in the book, instead of being the TeamPet, he's a [[AscendedExtra much larger one-off creature]] who serves an AndroclesLion purpose.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* The ''Literature/DragonridersOfPern'' novels by Creator/AnneMcCaffrey have fire-lizards, which are native to the planet Pern and evolved the ability to exhale pyrophoric gas as a natural defense. While they have normal animal-level intelligence, they're weakly telepathic, and their instinct to imprint on whoever feeds them upon hatching makes them natural BondCreatures. Human colonists genetically engineered fire-lizards for greater size, intellect, and psychic ability, producing full-sized dragons.
* In Creator/UrsulaKLeGuin's ''Literature/{{Earthsea}}'' series, they're called ''harekki'', and Yarrow keeps one as a pet. (In this case, they're smaller than usual, growing no bigger than a human hand; Yarrow's usually coils itself around her wrist.)
* The ''Literature/{{Dragaera}}'' books have small venomous flying scavengers called ''jhereg''. They're cold-blooded, don't breathe fire, and resemble miniature [[OurDragonsAreDifferent wyverns]] rather than standard dragons. While they cannot speak, [[spoiler:they are fully sentient, due to genetic tampering in the distant past]]. The main character in the books keeps a jhereg as a {{Familiar}}.
** Subverted with the giant jhereg seen at Deathgate Falls, a rare variety which are bigger than a person and scare the living crap out of normal-sized jhereg.
** The series also features full-sized creatures called Dragons that actually look less like dragons than jhereg, as the Dragons are wingless and have tentacle-like feelers.
* The swamp dragons of the Literature/{{Discworld}} grow to about two feet in length, are commonly bred by the wealthy as pets, and can be trained to perch on shoulders -- Lady Sybil Ramkin breeds shoulder-sitters as a popular fashion accessory. Since swamp dragons tend to react to stress or severe indigestion by spontaneously exploding, however, it's not really a good idea. Even if they don't explode, you still have [[RealityEnsues claw marks on your ball gown and dragon shit down your back]].
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', [[spoiler:Dany has three, of the hatchling variety. They grow out of shoulder-dragon size-range pretty quickly]].
* In Creator/TamoraPierce's ''[[Literature/CircleOfMagic The Circle Opens]]'' quartet, an untrained lightning mage who works as a glassblower accidentally creates a living glass dragon, about an arm's length in size. Tris, one of the main characters, decides to keep it as a pet and names it Chime.
** A recurring character in her Literature/TortallUniverse is Skysong/Kitten, a baby dragon. In centuries she'll grow quite large indeed, but for now she's just an infant, and often perches on her (human) foster parents' shoulders.
* Kale's minor dragons from the ''Literature/DragonKeeperChronicles''.
* ''TheCardinalsBlades'' by Pierre Pevel features dragonnets, which are exotic pets favoured by the rich and powerful.
* There's a Shoulder-Sized Dragon named Mulberry in the novel ''Red Wizard'' by Nancy Springer. In this case, they don't seem to be a naturally occurring species; Mulberry was accidentally called into existence by an inexperienced wizard.
* In the ''Flinx and Pip'' novels set in Creator/AlanDeanFoster's ''Literature/HumanxCommonwealth'' setting, the main character has one of these. It's a sci-fi setting so Pip is an alien and can't breathe fire, but she fulfills all other features, being essentially a spitting cobra with hummingbird wings and a psychic link to her master.
* ''Literature/TheYearOfRogueDragons'' has Jivex, the fairy dragon. Unlike most examples of this trope, [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} in his own way]] Jivex is actually pretty badass.
* Subverted in Karina Fabian's "Dragon Ey, P.I." books by Vern who's not quite shoulder height (being about ten foot tall) because he has been placed under a geas by St. George that he won't return to his proper size and majesty unless he works for the good of other beings.
* In the de Camp & Pratt short story "The Better Mousetrap", a baby dragon small enough to fit in a coffee can is lent to a man who needs to [[MundaneUtility rid his apartment of mice]].
* In one of the ''Literature/{{Nightside}}'' novels, two Chinese sorcerers briefly appear at Strangefellows, overseeing a fight between their tiny dragon companions. Played with in that it's implied the "sorcerers" are illusions projected by the dragons, who know people would try to capture and tame them if they wandered the city unaccompanied.
* In ''Literature/RachelGriffin'', [[KidHero Sigfried's]] familiar Lucky is an Eastern-style dragon, small enough to ride draped around his master's shoulders like a stole. They are repeatedly accosted with requests to pet the dragon.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/{{Primeval}}'', Abby's pet Coelurosauravus, Rex, is basically [[DinosaursAreDragons the dinosaur version of a shoulder dragon]].
* Aithusa in season 4 of ''Series/{{Merlin}}''. She's a baby then and quite a bit larger after the time jump between seasons 4 and 5.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'', Season 2. Dany is seen wearing a spaulder so one of her dragons can comfortably sit on her shoulder.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** Pseudodragons, which are tiny dragons that can sometimes be used as pets or {{familiar}}s.
** Also, Faerie Dragons.
** Several chromatic and metallic dragon start life in the "tiny" or "small" categories.
* In ''TabletopGame/BlueRose'', there's a species of small dragons called "drakes", usually around twelve inches long and sometimes colloquially described as "pocket dragons". They're one of several intelligent, telepathic species of BondCreatures. (Interestingly, if full-sized dragons exist in the setting, they're never mentioned.)
* ''TabletopGame/HavokAndHijinks''
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' has a number of Dark Elf hero models bearing dragonlike creatures on their shoulders. The High Elf Dragon Lord kit also comes with a tiny dragon of this size for base decoration.
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[[folder:Toys]]
* Folkmanis, a puppet-making company, has two dragon puppets that perch on your shoulders. One is red and the other purple.
* Similar dragon puppets or plush toys designed to sit on a person's shoulder are often sold as an accessory at Renaissance festivals.
* Dragon Blaster Skeletor.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* Dragoons in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' get to summon pet wyverns, which are roughly the size of eagles.
* Most unevolved Dragon Franchise/{{Pokemon}} are this.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'':
** Players can acquire dragon whelps (that is, hatchlings) as non-combat pets. In addition, NPC dragons in the game come in almost a dozen different shapes and sizes, including whelps almost identical to the pets.
** Faerie dragons, though technically [[TheFairFolk fey]], still qualify somewhat. They're not true dragons, but resemble them to some degree. They also resemble moths and geckos, though their size can range from being as small as your hand to as large as a [[CanineCompanion working-class dog]].
** In one quest, the bronze dragon Chronormu is known to shapeshift into a whelp while in flight.
* Finn's dragon Steiner from ''VideoGame/BeyondTheBeyond'', at first.
* In the ''Anime/MaiHime'' [[FanWorks fan game]] ''[=Mai-HiME: Fuuka Taisen=]'', Kagutsuchi fights side-by-side with Mai as a tiny dragon, only growing to its normal ([[GiantFlyer gigantic]]) size when she uses certain special attacks.
* Baby dragons in ''VideoGame/{{Lunar}}'' are the size of housecats. They also ''look'' like cats, but with wings.
* Warlocks in ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic'' have familiars. Rarely, this familiar is a dragon, not hatched until the attuning, which is the case for your Druid characters in VII.
* The ''Videogame/{{Awakening}}'' series features a little pocket dragon who takes a liking to Princess Sophia after she feeds the dragon her favorite food and becomes Sophia's loyal pet.
* ''Videogame/TheSims3'' introduces this with the Dragon Valley world, adding an extra dragon color with The Duke of Bows Renaissance Faire. Sims can find or buy dragon eggs which will hatch when interacted with enough and after naming it they can have it sit on their shoulder where it gives a very significant motive bonus and various possible actions depending on the colour; dragons can be red, green or purple normally and armoured black dragons are available if the faire is purchased. They are stated to be hatchlings but don't grow up.
* In the [[VideoGame/HarryPotter third Harry Potter PC Game]], Hermione is able to use a spell called Draconifors to transform a statue into a small dragon that the player can control.
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[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}'', Ashu'athama, the Sharen headmaster at Orthorbbae, is shown [[http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive//20070117c02p066.JPG with one]].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Wayrift}}'', Zemi is a perfect example of this.
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Website/DragonCave'' has a few among its plethora of reptilian wild-life. There are the Night and Day Glories, which are only the size of kittens when full-grown, the Sweetlings, which can ride on a human's shoulders, and several breeds of Pygmy dragons, which are housecat-sized.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''Franchise/MyLittlePony'':
** In ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', a baby dragon named Spike serves as Twilight Sparkle's ward and assistant. This is a rare case where the Shoulder-Sized Dragon's companion isn't a human -- but humans don't seem to exist in this world, and the ponies are basically just horse-shaped people for all intents and purposes.
** He's just the [[LegacyCharacter latest version]], as there was a Spike in G1 ''Franchise/MyLittlePony'' as well, who was also a baby dragon. G3 Spike was a bit different (different colors, [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld much older]], and voiced by Creator/BrianDrummond.)
* Dojo Kanojo Cho from ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'', who can transform from a tiny dragon to a giant one.
* ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX2CzDH5bZI Pocket Dragons Adventures]]''. Essentially, the adventures of several, sentient palm-sized little lizards. They aren't quite shoulder-sized, but they do literally fit into your pocket!
* ''WesternAnimation/DocMcStuffins'' has Stuffy, who despite being a toy, qualifies due to his canon size.
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[[folder:Real Life]]
* M47 Dragon is a [=20th=] century anti-tank guided missile. It is fired from the soldier's shoulder.
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