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Recently and especially after 1.9 with the change to Enchanted dragon breeding, I've seen many people express that breeding dragons is confusing. I don't think it is at all, but there's a lot of misinformation and misconceptions out there and so I wanted to create a comprehensive guide and explaination. I'm going to try to spell things out clearly, so I’ve separated it into distinct rules. My goal is to make this comprehensive and exhaustive. If you just want to know the rules and don’t care about knowing why, you can just read the bolded rules.

Here’s all the rules together, and further below there are explanations. These are current for version 1.9 but may change in the future.


1. All dragons can be bred two ways: by meeting the requirements listed in the Dragonarium, and duplication

1a. ​The Dragonarium says how each dragon can be bred under the banner of "breeding tips," which I'm going to call "Breeding Requirements".
Rule 2 below explains the various types of Breeding Requirements. I could have put it all under this heading but I wanted to seperate it instead of having like 10 levels of indent.
(Unlike the original Dragonvale) you do not have to unlock anything or go to an online resource such as this wiki to know how to breed something. (This is the only exception.) Simply select "Dragons" at the top left of the screen, search for your dragon in the menu and select it. The game will display the Breeding Requirements for the dragon. If you already have the dragon you'll need to select "buy another" dragon" (which does not require you to actually buy the dragon) or you can select a dragon you already have and press the i icon on the bottom left. You can also see breeding requirements in the breeding cave by selecting the desired dragon on the bottom right, if it's listed. You can also see the breeding requirements in the "goals" menu, if it's listed.
1b. All dragons can be bred by duplication.
Regardless of the Breeding Requirement, the two dragons in the breeding pair can potentially breed another version of themselves. Of course, if you don't have a dragon yet, you can't do this.
For all non-Epic dragons (also called elemental dragons or Hybrid dragons), and many Epic Dragons, these rules actually just overlap, so understanding rule 1b is unnecessary. Having them in the combo would already fulfill rule 1a. But for a few dragons such as Plumed, or all the Zodia dragons, they don't actually fulfill 1a. Plumed Dragon, for instance, requires Air, Jungle, and any 2 other elements. But Plumed only contributes Fire, Earth, Water and Air, so wouldn't fulfill the Breeding Requirements because it doesn't provide the Jungle element. However, through duplication, breeding with a Plumed in the combo means you can potentially breed a baby Plumed.
Also, you can not breed, buy, or otherwise obtain limited time dragons once they expire. (Unlike the original Dragonvale) you can not use the duplication method to obtain extra versions of the same dragon.
Dragonsai dragons are the exception, neither method is possible because they can't be bred at all. You can either purchase them or get one every 20 days from the Daily Rewards calendar.

2. There are 2 types of breeding requirements: elemental requirements and locked pairs

2a. Elemental requirements are when a breeding pair much contribute some required elements.
Elemental requirements are how you breed every single dragon except Zodia type dragons. Most dragons simply require specific elements. Dragons from the Rainbow family, however, require an amount of different/unique elements. The Rainbow Dragon just requires any 4 different elements, while others in the Rainbow family require 2 specific elements, and 4 elements total (so 2 extra unique elements).
For instance: Wildfire Dragon has a chance to be bred as long as the breeding pair has at least the elements Fire and Jungle. Oracle Dragon has a chance to be bred as long as the breeding pair has at least the elements Earth and Fairy. Rainbow Dragon has a chance to be bred is the breeding pair has at least 4 unique elements. Plumed Dragon has a chance to be bred as long as the breeding pair as at least 4 unique elements and 2 of those are Jungle and Air.
2b. Locked pairs are when breeding a dragon requires two specific dragons be bred together.
So far, this method is only relevant for Zodia dragons. Elements are not relevant to breeding these dragons. For instance, Pisceia dragon (when it's available) can be bred when combining a Newt Dragon with a Mistral Dragon. These 2 dragons contribute 4 elements: Water, Fire, Frozen, and Air. It can not be bred by combining these 4 elements, it can only be bred by specifically combining Newt and Mistral, (or according to rule 1b above, if a Pisceia is in the breeding pair). The breeding pair does not have to be regular dragons; Enchanted versions of dragons can be substituted for locked pairs.

3. Enchanted dragons can all be bred the exact same ways that their Regular counterparts can be bred, as long as you have unlocked the Regular version already.

This is true for every Enchanted dragon, for both methods 1a and 1b, and for all types of breeding requirements outlined in rule 2.

How this works with Rule 1a: If you have already unlocked the Wildfire Dragon and you breed any two dragons that contribute at least Jungle and Fire, you might get Enchanted Wildfire (otherwise known as EnWildfire). If you have already unlocked a Rainbow Dragon and you breed any two dragons that have at least 4 unique elements in total, you might get one of the Enchanted Rainbow Dragons.

How this works with Rule 1b: If you have already unlocked the Plumed Dragon and Plumed is at least one of the two dragons in the breeding pair, you might get an Enchanted Plumed Dragon. (Unless the other dragon in the pair contributes Jungle) you wouldn't be meeting the breeding requirements (1a) but you can still get it, because all dragons can duplicate, and as long as the Regular dragon is a possible result, so too is the Enchanted dragon.

How this works with 2b: If you have already unlocked the Pisciea dragon, and you breed together Newt and Mistral, and you've already unlocked Pisciea, you can get Enchanted Pisciea. (You can also get EnPisciea by having a Pisciea in the combo, according to the duplication rule (1b).

When a limited time dragon expires, you can no longer breed, buy, or otherwise obtain the Enchanted version of it.

Notes:

  • Breeding with an Enchanted dragon is the exact same as breeding with the Regular counterpart. They contribute the same elements, they count as the same dragon in Locked Pairs, but I'm not 100% sure that the still work with 1b; I don't know if they can duplicate either another Regular version of itself or an Enchanted version of itself if rule 1a is not fulfilled. What I do know: I bred two Enchanted Earth dragons together and got another Enchanted Earth, however I think that was before update 1.9.
  • Dragonvale World is a game of chance. You are not gaurunteed to get any dragon from any combo. There are no known "tricks" to getting a better chance at the dragon you want. Any proposed tricks are probably just confirmation bias . But if you think it helps, feel free to spin around 3 times before you hit that Breed button, it can't hurt. 
  • Dragonvale World is a game of chance. Just because you tried to get a certain dragon and you failed 10 times in a row (or 100, or 1000) doesn't mean the game has it against you. Just because somebody got a dragon on their first try and you had to try 63 times, or never got it, doesn't mean your parks have different chances of getting good dragons. You just happened to roll the proverbial dice differently. If my friend rolls two six-sided dice and gets double 6s 3 times in a row and then I roll them 12 times and never gets double 6s that doesn't mean the dice hate me. It also doesn't mean I'm rolling them wrong. (It also isn't because my friend blew on the dice, or was wearing a lucky hat.)
  • "higher level dragons mean better chances to hatch rare and epic dragons"
  • The Epic Breeding cave says right in the description that it increases the chance of breeding rare dragons. While it's technically not proof that the Epic cave helps (because maybe it's a mistake, or a lie) I feel like it's safe to assume that the things in the game actually do what they say. However we don't know to what extent it increases the chances, so it could just be marginal.