I know that the art is not even universal for the cover of the same book between countries - I remember having a discussion with someone from England here on Craftsters about how a cover on one book was not the same in her country as it is in the USA. So.... I googled Pern art and cover art and what not and somewhere I ran across a blog discussion by Anne herself in response to it - she doesn't have the last say on what the cover art on the books will be because that is up to the publishers!
there was one artist that she thought was doing a better job on the art than any other was
found that blog here:http://annemccaffrey.net/index.php
and a note about art about 2/3 way down this page:http://annemccaffrey.net/index.php?paged=3
she says something along the lines that she thought of dragons as less reptilian and more horse-faced...
also remember that the dragons were relatively very small in the first generation - size of a draft horse if I remember the description correctly from the DragonsDawn book, though with my faulty memory that might not be right - should re-read that...
anyone else stood next to a Percheon or Belgian? thier heads are huge! so are thier feet!
here is a link to my youngest daughter with a Percheronhttp://pets.webshots.com/photo/1094281275049523196QfGFfN
in this photo she is about 5'3" and that horses head is as big as her torso! And Percherons are NOT in general the largest of the draft horses (although the largest living horse is a Percheron stud, last I heard)
so if that was the first generation and they were supposed to increase in size vastly - then I am not surprised at the large size they are when they meet thier final growth
I remember thinking when I first read the first book that they had to be pretty big if the riders had to climb up using the bended knee of the dragon to boost themselves up to the neck even with the neck lowered!
I would expect the queens to be larger than the bronzes and browns than that picture shows - and that the greens and golds would be put together a little differently than the males because they need to be capable of laying eggs larger than a person, so I thought their hips would be put together diferently than the males would be - I also always wondered if the males had some way of latching onto the females during mating flights that had nothing to do with legs and claws and necks but more to do with sexual organs - some male animals have the ability to hook in so the female can't get away once they have been penetrated, until the male has completed his business - which would also argue for anatomical differences between the sexes since they mate face to face - although for most birds it is a matter of rubbing against each other without actual penetration so I don't really know, though I don't think of birds when I think of Pernese dragons, except maybe raptors...
I actually have always thought of them as sort of a cross between lizard and raptor and horses - but not really any of those since they ARE based on an alien life form that is nothing like anything we have ever seen or experienced
also - for a reference - it takes about an hour to give a draft horse a decent bath, so if a weyrling spends a large part of their day feeding and bathing a hatchling - that tells you something too...