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I was considering doing a Dragon Monotype of Shield, but I don't know what my first Pokemon of the type would be, or where I could get it.

The thing is, dragon types are kinda rare in this gen. Noibat however can be found pretty early in the game if Noivern works for you. After you defeat Nessa (second gym) you can access the second mine where there is a 10% chance of finding a Noibat in the over world. I post this as a comment because there might be some that you can find earlier in the game.
(I’m excluding the wild area btw)
So a Noibat is the first Dragon you can get in Shield?
Also, how early can Applin be found?
Route 5 and has a 10% of finding it walking in the tall grass.
Noibat are fairly more common in the wild area near the Pokémon nursery, though I don’t know if this changes by day.

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In Pokemon shield, the two earliest dragon types you can get are Applin and Noibat. However, you have to wait until you defeat the fire gym to evolve Applin and you have to hit level 48 on noibat to evolve it.

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