What is a dragon?
It’s a type of creature, like fish and birds. There is no one “fish” species, and nor is there one of “birds.” They all are diffent, but there is something that connects them all together: similarity, or a common ancestor.
So take a look at your dragons. If they stray too far from the image of dragons, then you can’t really call them dragons. Dragons are creatures that do exist in real-life mythologies and cultures, and they all have similar attributes that “make” them dragons. It’s like saying that you can call a penguin a horse. You cannot make another group of creatures called dragons if they have nothing to do with the “original” ones, the ones from stories here on earth.
Of course, how far you stretch this is up to you. In your world, are all dragons tailless? Do they all have eight limbs? Are the shaped the same? Make a list of criteria that determines whether something is a dragon or not.
In my world, some of the attributes for a dragon are these:
- Never stops growing
- Must hatch from an egg
- Cannot die of age
The Kraken in my world is a dragon. It never stops growing, hatched from a mountain that sunk to the bottom of the waves, and has been around since the inception of the oceans. It possesses everything that defines a dragon in my world, and more.
There is a noticeable difference between east-asian dragons and european ones. But, like all earthly dragons, they are serpent-like. Powerful. Sentient, intelligent. All fish have gills. All birds have beaks and feathers. There should be something all dragons have, as well.
Some food for thought.