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Dragons, greatest of the drake-kind, were servants of Darkness in the First Age, but quite rare by the time of the Third Age. They are descended from Glaurung, the Father of Dragons, and are counted among the most terrible servants of Morgoth and partially of his former lieutenant Sauron. The Dragons were bred from the most fearsome reptiles in Middle-earth, twisted and corrupted by dark magics and, in some cases, possibly inhabited by evil spirits. As a result, the species developed into massive, winged monstrosities with armored scales, spear-like fangs, cunning intelligence, fiery breath, and the ability to speak the tongues of Men.

Dragons are known to gather hoards of treasure, which they use as bedding and guard jealously against all foes. Due to their vanity, many prefer a lofty, formal method of speech and cannot resist riddles. It can be said that the true masters of Dragons, whether they are agents of chaos or servants of a Dark Lord, are sloth and greed. Many Dragons perished in the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age or were slain by heroes and Dragon-slayers in the years that followed. By the Third Age, they had all but died out and the few Dragons that remained were greatly feared for their destructive potential.

Smaug was possibly one of the last Dragons, until his demise at the hands of Bard the Bowman. Other famous Dragons included Ancalagon the Black and Scatha the Worm. In The Lord of the Rings Online, Thorog is a dragon reborn in Helegrod as a kind of wight, while Bregmor, the Dragon of Forochel, is sought by the minions of Angmar to repair the bellows at the Ring-forges of Eregion. The fearsome Draigoch can be found in the Rise of Isengard expansion in one of the game's largest raid instances.

While ancient, full-size Dragons are relatively rare, their lesser descendants such as Drakes, Worms, Salamanders, Dragonets, and Avancs still trouble adventurers in Middle-earth.

Dragons are found as powerful bosses in various higher-level dungeons: