Bearded Dragon Selection Guide [Owners Vote Their Favorite]

Bearded Dragon Selection Guide

When I started to learn about bearded dragons, I got really confused. Whenever I went to a pet store or talked with another owner, they just steered up conversations about bearded dragon morphs. I had no idea what bearded dragon morphs even were! You’ll face the same predicament when selecting a bearded dragon in the pet store. There are numerous morphs and types, and if you have no idea like I did, you’ll really get confused on which one to get.

Most popular bearded dragon morph among owners is the Leatherback Bearded Dragon. The cheapest bearded dragon morph on the market is the Silkie Bearded Dragon. Fancy Bearded dragons are mostly available in the pet stores.

You might say I’ll just choose the one that seems most colorful or shows most personality. Well that is okay, but the behavior and requirement of the beardie can vary from morph to morph quite a bit. So, you need to know which morph you are getting and how to take care for that specific morph.

In this article, I’ll go through the whole bearded dragon selection guide, teach you some things about each of the popular morphs and hopefully, you’ll become a more knowledgeable bearded dragon owner!

What Is The Most Popular Bearded Dragon Morph?

Before writing this article, I seriously wanted to know which bearded dragon morph is getting quite popular among the owners. I know all the morphs are spectacular and special in their own ways. But on the popularity scale, some morphs are just on a whole other level than the others.

To measure the popularity, I did an easy study. I went to a very popular bearded dragon Facebook group, and posted a poll to see which bearded dragon morph gets the most vote. A vote meant one owner is keeping that morph.

Here’s what the post looked like:

study on bearded dragon morph popularity

From the pic, we can conclude the following:

The Leatherback bearded dragon morph is 71.4% more popular than any other bearded dragon morph.

So, we can fairly say Leatherback Bearded Dragons seem to be the most popular among the owners.

What Is A Fancy Bearded Dragon?

Fancy bearded dragon isn’t actually any morph. It is a term used for colorful, captive-bred bearded dragons used by shopkeepers to sell more dragons. The opposite of fancy bearded dragon is the wild, common bearded dragons.

In pet stores, you might come across these “fancy” bearded dragons. Don’t get fooled into thinking it’s a new morph. Trust me, I made that mistake. Just think of it as not any common or wild-bred bearded dragon.

9 Most Popular Bearded Dragon Morphs As Pets

1. Leatherback Bearded Dragon (Scalation Morph)

Identifying TraitSmooth Back
SpikesNo Spike on their back. Heads and sides have spikes.
ScalesLots of smaller scales. The presence of smaller scales make the skin feel smooth and the color appear vivid.
Available ColorsMostly red, orange, and citrus.
Variety“Tiger” Leatherback varieties are getting available on the market such as “Orange Tiger Leatherback”, “Citrus Tiger Leatherback.” These dragons have darker contrasting stripes on their body as per the name of the ferocious cat.

Leatherback bearded dragons are a great choice for beginners. They are mostly available on the online as well as offline stores.

Leatherback bearded dragons typically cost around $100 to $200. However, the cost can drastically increase with different types of mutilated leatherback dragons such as Hypo-Leatherback Dragon. A Hypo-Leatherback dragon can cost you around $800. On the other hand, a Hypo-Trans-Leatherback Bearded dragon is extremely rare and can easily cost over $1000.

If you are a beginner, I’ll suggest you to start with a very basic, healthy leatherback dragon. First you need to get experienced with keeping bearded dragons. After you’ve gained some experience, you can think about keeping prized beardies.

Here are some places where you can find Leatherback Bearded Dragons:

Store NameAvailable Leatherback Bearded DragonsPrice
MorphMarketHypo Leatherback
Red-Hypo Leatherback
Hypo-Trans Leatherback
Leatherback Tiger
$100 to $1000++
CBReptileRegular Leatherback Dragons$219.00 – $459.95
LLLReptileBaby Dunner Leatherback Bearded Dragons
Baby Dunner Red Translucent Leatherback Bearded Dragons
$129.99 – $149.99
Citrus Bearded Dragon

2. Citrus/Yellow Bearded Dragon (Color Morph)

Identifying TraitBright yellow color with dark orange stripes along the sides and center of the body
MarkingsHorizontal gray-blue markings may appear on some citrus dragons
Available ColorsMostly red, yellow, and orange.
VarietyGreen Bearded Dragons, Lemon Fire Bearded Dragons, Sandfire Gold Bearded Dragon

Citrus or Yellow bearded dragons are also very popular and common in the pet stores. They have a very striking appearance which makes them an instant choice for the beginners. You can start out your bearded dragon keeping journey with this Citrus/Yellow bearded dragon.

I would recommend not starting with a baby bearded dragon as babies demand more maintenance and care. If you are an absolute beginner, start with an adult or juvenile bearded dragon.

Store NameAvailable Citrus Bearded DragonsPrice
XYZ Reptiles7-9 inches Citrus Bearded Dragon$149
MorphMarketHypo Trans
Citrus Leatherback
Hypo-Het-Trans Tiger
$150 to $300++
CBReptileRegular Citrus Bearded Dragons$179.00 – $389.95
Hypo Bearded Dragon

3. Hypo Bearded Dragon (Hypomelanistic Morph)

Identifying TraitNot as colorful as other bearded dragons. Hypomelanistic is a technical term for ‘muted colors/below average color’
SpikesSpikes appear like a regular bearded dragon
Other MarkingsClear nails
Available ColorsPastel, pink to blue, snowy, pale orange, etc.
Varietyhypo-translucent, hypo-witblits, hypo-leatherback, etc.

Hypo bearded dragons are a bit more rare than the other two we talked about. They are not as colorful as a citrus bearded dragon. If you are just starting out with bearded dragons, I won’t recommend starting with a hypo morph. They can be quite expensive as they are rare.

However, if you are an intermediate or advanced keeper and know what you are doing, you’re more than welcome to bond with this amazing morph.

Store NameAvailable Hypo Bearded DragonsPrice
MorphMarketHypo Trans Citrus
Red-Orange Hypo
Hypo-Trans Leatherback
Orange-Citrus Hypo
$250 to $600++
CBReptileRegular Leatherback Dragons$189.95 – $389.95
LLLReptileBaby Hypo Bearded Dragon$79.99

4. Witblit Bearded Dragon (More Muted Than Hypo)

Identifying TraitSolid Muted Pale Color
Availability Extremely rare and expensive
MarkingNo pattern or marking
Fun TriviaThe name ‘Witblit’ came from White Lightning
Available ColorsGrey, dull pastel or earth color. No color on shoulders at all!

Witblit dragons are very rare and it’s a challenge to find them. In most of the cases, you’ll have to get them from a breeder rather than from a pet store. Being very rare, Witblit bearded dragons are not a very good choice for beginners. As they have very muted pale color, most beginners tend not to choose them as their first bearded dragon as well.

Store NameAvailable Witblit Bearded DragonsPrice
MorphMarketZero Trans Leatherback Witblit
Tiger-Trans Witblit
Leatherback-Tiger Witblit
$300 to $1000++
CBReptileRegular Leatherback Dragons$299.95 – $799.00

5. Zero Bearded Dragon (Completely Muted)

Identifying TraitAbsolutely no color or pattern
Availability Extremely rare and expensive
MarkingNo pattern or marking
Fun TriviaOnly thing different from a Witblit is their black shoulder pads
Available ColorsWhite, Whitish, Sliver, Gray

Like the Witblit Bearded Dragons, the Zero morph is also quite rare and not a popular choice for beginners. I have seen intermediate or advanced keepers cherish the Zero morph quite a lot than the beginners. Normally Zero bearded dragons have a pale whitish/silverish color which make them unique and quite attractive.

Store NameAvailable Zero Bearded DragonsPrice
MorphMarketZero Trans Leatherback
Hypo-Translucent-Leatherback Zero
$600++
CBReptileRegular Leatherback Dragons$229.00 – $599.95

6. Red Bearded Dragon (Color Morph)

Identifying TraitVery reddish color
SpikesSpikes appear like a regular bearded dragon
Fun TriviaOffspring gets redder than the parents
Available ColorsDifferent shades of red
VarietyRed bearded dragon, Blood-red bearded dragon, Ruby red bearded dragon

The Red Bearded Dragons are quite as popular as the Citrus/Yellow bearded dragons. The vivid red color makes them a popular choice among beginners. Also as this morph is commonly available, you can get it at quite a cheaper price than the rare morphs.

If you want to start your bearded dragon keeping journey with the Red morph, I’ll recommend to start with an adult or juvenile one.

Store NameAvailable Red Bearded DragonsPrice
XYZ Reptiles7-9 inches Red Bearded Dragon$199
MorphMarketRed Orange Hypo Trans
Red Hypo Het Trans
Red Hypo Translucent
$300 to $600++
CBReptileRegular Citrus Bearded Dragons$299.95 – $799.95

7. Translucent Bearded Dragon (See-through skin)

Identifying TraitSee-through skin, spikes, and scales.
Unique TraitSolid black eyes. No visible iris.
Fun TriviaBabies have very thin skin. With age, the skin gets thicker.
Available ColorsVery light in color. Babies show a clear blue belly.
VarietyPartial translucent bearded dragons (doesn’t possess full trait of a translucent dragon)

Pure translucent bearded dragons are very rare. They have a very unique trait which is the see-through skin. This unique trait makes the Translucent morph quite a cherished one in the market. This also results in a steeper price for this morph.

Store NameAvailable Translucent Bearded DragonsPrice
MorphMarketZero Trans Leatherback
Hypo-Translucent-Leatherback Zero
$200 to $400++
Underground ReptilesBaby Hypo Translucent Bearded Dragon$99.99

8. Dunner Bearded Dragon (Scalation/Pattern Morph)

Identifying TraitNo stripes. Blotched/Spotty markings over the body.
MarkingThicker nails, bigger feet.
ScalesScales create a haphazard look by point in all directions
Fun TriviaNamed after the inventor Kevin Dunn.

The Dunner Bearded Dragons are named after their breeder who first bred this morph. This morph is quite similar to a classic bearded dragon appearance. However, an experienced eye will mark out some differences like: no obvious pattern or markings on the body, disorganized scales, blotchy spots, etc.

Store NameAvailable Dunner Bearded DragonsPrice
MorphMarketRed-Hypo Leatherback
Red-Hypo Trans
$200 to $1000++
LLLReptileBaby Dunner Bearded Dragon
Baby Dunner Leatherback
Baby Dunner Red Translucent
Baby Dunner Red Translucent Leatherback
$129.99 – $149.99

9. Silkback/Silkie Bearded Dragon (Scalation Morph)

Identifying TraitNo classical spikes like other bearded dragons
SkinVery smooth skin with vibrant color
Fun TriviaAlso called silkies because of their soft skin
Important NotesVery difficult to keep in captivity.
Unusual skin makes it difficult to absorb UV rays.

Like the Translucent morph, Silkback Bearded Dragons are also very unique and cherished for their completely spike-less body. Silkback bearded dragons have a very smooth skin that shows a bright vivid color. Some owners also refer to them as Silkies because of how soft their skin is.

Store NameAvailable Silkback Bearded DragonsPrice
CBReptileRegular Silkback/Silkie Bearded Dragons$89.95 – $249.95

What Is The Best Type of Bearded Dragon to Get?

For beginners, the best type of bearded dragon to get will be Leatherback Bearded Dragon, Citrus/Yellow Bearded Dragon, or Red Bearded Dragon. Advanced bearded dragon keepers can get any morph they want if they are able to keep up with the maintenance.

I am recommending these specific morphs because they are widely available in the stores as well as online, easy to take care of, and can adapt themselves well to the captive environment. The rare morphs are pretty hard to get by and extremely sensitive to the environment. As a result, they can die easily.

So, if you are not an advanced bearded dragon keeper, don’t try to keep any of the rare & sensitive bearded dragon morphs.

Is It Better to Have 1 or 2 Bearded Dragons?

It is always better to keep a single bearded dragon because bearded dragons can fight each other for establishing dominance. The male bearded dragons are very territorial and never should be kept together. The female bearded dragons are slightly less temperamental, but it is still recommended to keep only 1 bearded dragon.

What Size Bearded Dragon Should I Buy?

It is recommended to get a 6-8 inch juvenile bearded dragon rather than a 4 inch baby bearded dragon. This is because, the juvenile bearded dragons have a much higher survival rate than the baby bearded dragons.

The Juvenile bearded dragons might cost a bit extra than the babies. However, the extra price is completely worth it because the bearded dragon has passed the most critical stage of its life and has a higher probability of living to its fullest.

What Is The Best Age To Get A Bearded Dragon?

5 to 7 months is the best age to get a bearded dragon when it reaches the juvenile stage. At this stage, the bearded dragon should be 6 to 8 inches long.

I know many hobbyists like to start their hobby with a baby bearded dragon (below 4 inch). Babies are very cute and tempting to get, but baby bearded dragons have a lower chance of survival than a juvenile or young adult bearded dragon.

That’s why for beginners, it is always recommended to start with at least a juvenile bearded dragon that has 6 to 8 inches in length.

Things You Need To Check Before Buying A Bearded Dragon

It doesn’t matter from where you are getting the bearded dragon, always check these before paying the money:

1. Is The Bearded Dragon Active?

Bearded dragons are diurnal and stay active during the day. They are very curious animals, like to explore and bask under the UVB lamp. Is the bearded dragon showing these signs? Then good. If not, the dragon might be lethargic. Lethargic behavior can be caused by sickness, disease, lack of care, lack of diet, and so on. Never buy a lethargic bearded dragon.

You can ask the shopkeeper to handle the bearded dragon for you. It will let you see how well the dragon is responding to the shopkeeper’s handling. A healthy dragon should be alert while getting handled.

Also, you can try to hold the dragon yourself. If the dragon tries to escape, that’s a good sign. It means the dragon is not sick and alert to its environment.

2. Signs of Diseases

Here are some of the symptoms of a sick bearded dragon. Avoid the dragon if it is showing any of these symptoms:

  • mucus in the nose/eyes
  • froth coming from the mouth
  • bending the back
  • tail kinking
  • swollen limbs
  • Inconsistent color patch somewhere on the body (dark patch on the tail that seems inconsistent)

3. Condition of the Pet Store

  • The pet store needs to be clean and healthy
  • The bearded dragon cages should be well-maintained and clean
  • The cages should have the basic requirements a bearded dragon needs to stay healthy and active
  • Each of the cages should not keep too many bearded dragons (preferably 1-3 if the dragons are baby)

Final Words

So, we are at the end of the guide. I hope the guide has made the selection process easier for you. I am just recapping the article in 2-3 lines.

If you are a beginner, start with a common bearded dragon morph, don’t get into any of the expensive or rare morphs as they are very hard to take care of. Try to get a juvenile bearded dragon rather than a baby. Also, keep in mind the checking factors I talked about in the previous section before buying the bearded dragon.

If you follow these simple tips, you should be able to get a healthy bearded dragon that can accompany you for years to come!

Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping shrimps as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my shrimp keeping knowledge with you.

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