Dungeons & Dragons: Lowest Level Dragon Encounter

If you have had the chance to play Dungeons & Dragons with me for any amount of time, you know that I love dragons, and at some point, the party- you, will be fighting a dragon.

So what is the lowest level a Dungeon Master could throw a dragon encounter at the party?

Going head-to-head, I’d say a well rounded party *could* tackle a very small black dragon at level 3, *but* it would be very challenging.

Levels 5-8 with the challenge rating system of D&D 5.X seems to be the sweet spot.

Of course *fighting* a dragon doesn’t always mean to the death- they could fight a dragon and drive it off, wounding it, only to follow up in a later quest when they are more advanced in level to finish it off.