[[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, not unlike the relationship between house cats and [[PantheraAwesome big cats]].

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. When sharing a universe with {{Dragon Rider}}s, these guys can even be depicted as {{Instant Messenger Pigeon}}s.

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 ''[[Literature/DragonridersOfPern Dragonquest]]'' by Creator/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.



[[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.

[[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.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/KittyPryde of the ''ComicBook/XMen'' has a roughly cat-sized companion named Lockheed. He's not from Earth.
* 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}}'' (UsefulNotes/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.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Growf (or 'the Growf dragon') in ''ComicStrip/WhatsNewWithPhilAndDixie''. He's more of a pest than a pet.

[[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. {{Lampshaded}} by Mushu himself:
-->'''Mulan:''' You're, um...\\
'''Mushu:''' Intimidating? Awe-inspiring?\\
'''Mulan:''' Tiny.\\
'''Mushu:''' That's right. I'm travel-size for your convenience. If I was my ''real'' size, your cow here would die of fright. ''[indicating Mulan's ''horse'']''
* The Terrible Terror dragons from ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon'' are, despite their name, both tiny and easily domesticated.
* The short film ''WesternAnimation/{{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.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Prehysteria}}'' features a variant in the form of a shoulder-sized [[PteroSoarer pterosaur]].

* 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 re-engineered the fire lizard genome for greater size, intellect, and psychic ability to produce 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]]. Swamp dragons in general are essentially what happens when a fantastic creature like a dragon needs to conform to the laws of physics.
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', 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.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire'', the Tri-Wizard competitors each pull a miniature dragon out of a bag, determining which dragon they'll each face in the first task. [[Literature/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone Earlier]], Hagrid had hatched a dragon from an egg, and planned to keep it as a pet, seemingly overlooking the fact that a) [[CaptainObvious babies get much larger with age]], and b) he lives in a ''wooden house.'' Spot the flaw.

[[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. One problem of this trope is averted when Dany is seen wearing an armoured spaulder so one of her baby dragons can comfortably sit on her shoulder. As of Season 3, Drogon is closer to the size of a medium-to-large dog. Later on, he becomes large enough to be ridden.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' (and the related ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}})'', most varieties of full-sized dragon start out small enough to perch on people. Few actually would. There are, however, two members of the dragon genus (pseudodragons and faerie dragons) who can be talked into becoming companions or even {{familiar}}s. The partnership can get interesting, however, since pseudodragons tend to be {{Spoiled Brat}}s and faerie dragons are tricksters by nature.
* 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.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Munchkin}}'' has this as an accessory.
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}} Dragons'' has game stats for shoulder dragons.

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* Figment, the purple dragon from ''Ride/JourneyIntoImagination'' at [[Ride/DisneyThemeParks Epcot]]. During the original incarnation of the ride, there was even a Dreamfinder face character who made the rounds around the park with a life-sized (as it were) Figment puppet.

* 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.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Dragoons in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' get to summon pet wyverns, which are roughly the size of eagles.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' has a trio of cosmetic dragon pets, all of which will perch on your shoulder should you remain still for a time (Unless you're a Lalafell, in which case they'll sit on your head instead).
* Vyrn in ''VideoGame/GranblueFantasy'', his body is just as small as an adult's shoulders, not including those tiny wings too.
* Most unevolved Dragon-type Franchise/{{Pokemon}} are this. While the fully evolved forms are often very large indeed, the base forms such as Gible or Bagon are often only a couple of feet tall.
* ''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]]. The larger ones first appeared as units for the Night Elf faction in ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}} III's'' ExpansionPack.
** 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 ''Franchise/{{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.
* ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile'': Every mage einherjar has a familiar during battles, which they can use to attack the enemy while their spells are on {{cooldown}}. Most of them have a white dove, but Lezard and Gandar (the only two male sorcerers) have a small dragon floating over their shoulders. They also happen to be unambiguously immoral evil bastards.

[[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.
* Microdragon Fiona, sidekick of ''Webcomic/BrunoTheBandit''. She hates being called "baby dragon".
%%* ''Webcomic/TheCyantianChronicles'' has Mini-whips.
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'': Whether or not it's actually considered a "dragon" in story a member of the shining coalition can be seen with a creature that very much looks like a dragon [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20170227 perched on their forearm.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}'', after (potentially years of) adventuring in the Maze of Many, Kin has acquired a shoulder dragon named Parchment, who's apparently some kind of paper golem.

[[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.
* You can get these for your human/humanoid avatar on the forum site Website/{{Subeta}}. Particularly during the autumn celebration of "Fireside," which happens in early-mid November.
* ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'': Dragonrider, who has a dragon who can perch on her shoulder, as seen in [[http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/crystalhall/images/1/14/Dragonrider.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20110323004203 this picture]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Every animated incarnation of ''Franchise/MyLittlePony'' has featured a baby dragon named Spike, though each has been a distinct character. Generally, he tends to be rather short even compared to the ponies.
** In G1 he is pink and green, voiced by Creator/CharlieAdler, and has a FaceHeelTurn after serving as a bumbling minion to the villain Tirac.
** In G3, he is bluish-purple and orange, voiced by Creator/BrianDrummond, and is found in a cave and [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld awakened from his 1000-year nap]].
** In G4, he is purple and green, voiced by Creator/CathyWeseluck, was hatched by Twilight Sparkle as part of her MagicSchool entrance exam, and now serves as her ward and assistant. He is small enough to be able to ride on the ponies' backs.
* 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.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draco_(genus) Draco]], or flying dragons, are the genus of lizards which can [[NotQuiteFlight glide for several meters]] through the use of flaps of skin supported by their elongated ribs. The largest of them are the size of 40 cm. Reportedly, they don't make good pets, though.
* Bearded dragon lizards also fit, being small, draconic-looking lizards that are happy to sit upon their owners' shoulders or [[HeadPet heads]].
* The bat-winged dinosaur ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_%28dinosaur%29 Yi]]'' resembled a pigeon-sized, feathered wyvern.
* Some small pterosaurs could have fit in this role somewhat, being small winged reptiles that likely would have enjoyed sitting on the elevated positions of people's shoulders.