Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

For other uses, see Ancient Dragon.

The Ancient Dragons in Skyrim are some of the oldest and most resilient dragons the Dragonborn can encounter. They are typically encountered after reaching level 35, and become much more common around level 50. They can, however, be encountered as early as level 28. Furthermore, they are similar in appearance to Elder Dragons.


In terms of overall appearance, these dragons possess a similar look to Elder Dragons, except they possess a color change, being more tan and pink in color, rather than bronze and yellow. The black splotches still remain on the dragon, and are noticeable on the head crests, wings, and tail.

These dragons have a more spiny back, with a seeming triple row of small, stubby spikes, lining down the spine, to the tail. In terms of size, these dragons are the largest, barring Legendary variants, and they, like others, possess a spaded tail.


These dragons are much like Elders in gameplay, and do not possess a set elemental shout, instead using either a Fire Breath shout, or a Frost Breath shout. Being the most powerful in the base game, they should be treated like they look, with extreme caution and care. 

Their damage output is massive, and they can easily tear the Dragonborn down with a few Fire Breath shouts, or they can snap at the Dragonborn, causing an extreme amount of damage. Having multiple Health potions would be useful for the Dragonborn, as the dragon's multiple abilities will guarantee massive injury, and most likely death otherwise.



This section contains bugs related to Ancient Dragon (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  • Sometimes a dragon may be encountered that is labeled an Ancient Dragon, but in reality is a frost dragon because it has massive spikes on its back and uses Frost Breath. This may be due to the Dragonborn being at a low level.
  •  PC   360   PS3   There are texture loading problems where the Ancient Dragon (as any dragon) is not textured properly while fighting. Textures are loaded correctly after it has been killed. Another reported, possible solution is to quick-save and quick-load as soon as the problem is visible.
  • Sometimes when an Ancient Dragon (or any dragon) is killed its soul will not be absorbed by the Dragonborn. A possible fix is to change the difficulty and then change it back again.