Bearded Dragon vs Fancy Bearded Dragon: Detailed Comparison


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Bearded Dragon vs Fancy Bearded Dragon

This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.

I am sure it has happened with you too. You’ve gone to a pet shop and suddenly come across a term ‘Fancy Bearded Dragon’. Are these a new type of bearded dragon? How different are normal bearded dragons from fancy bearded dragons?

Fancy bearded dragons are selectively bred and have exciting color & scale mutations. Normal bearded dragons have a regular uniform color and scale type. Pet store owners sometimes call a bearded dragon fancy if it has exciting color or scale mutation different from a regular bearded dragon.

According to most owners, fancy bearded dragon isn’t a new morph. It is just a trick used by shop owners to sell more bearded dragons that are colorful or have scale mutations. Whether it is a trick or not, as a bearded dragon enthusiast, you need to have a clear idea about the distinctions between a regular bearded dragon and a fancy bearded dragon.

So, let’s get started!

Bearded Dragon vs Fancy Bearded Dragon: Comparison Table

ParticularsBearded DragonFancy Bearded Dragon
ColorGenerally have a solid tan to yellowish color. Some can have a reddish body.Can be found with a large array of colors, stripes and marks.
ScaleThere are scales over the body and the skin can feel rough.Some fancy bearded dragons don’t possess any scale and the skin has a smooth texture. Ex. Silkback bearded dragon
PatternThere is no solid regular pattern over the body. Even if there is a pattern, it will be irregular that fades with age. Fancy bearded dragons have very clear & visible patterns & stripes over their body. The pattern can be vertical, horizontal, zig-zag or in a S shape.
PriceGenerally costs much lower than the fancy bearded dragonsThe rare the specimen is, the higher it costs. Cost also increases with the complexity of color, marks, and stripes.
SizeGenerally 16 to 24 inches when adult.Same as the normal bearded dragons. But there can be exceptions with some types of fancy bearded dragons.

Similarities Between Bearded Dragon & Fancy Bearded Dragon

LifespanBoth types of bearded dragons can live for up to 15 years naturally.
HabitatBearded dragons in general need a hot, arid area as they come from the Australian deserts.
DietBoth fancy and regular bearded dragons are omnivores. They eat insects, vegetables, worms, etc.
BehaviorThe breeding and other behavior is pretty much same in both of these types. Both of these inflate their chin beard when threatened, gapes mouth, waves arms as well as raises the tail in certain situations.
BreedingThe breeding system and behavior is same for both regular and fancy bearded dragons.

How Fancy Bearded Dragons Are Bred?

Fancy bearded dragons are a result of selective breeding. The concept of selective breeding can be a bit complex. Let me explain it in layman’s terms:

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Suppose, you want a very red color bearded dragon. By red, I mean solid dark red! But, the problem is, nature doesn’t produce that type of dark red colored bearded dragons. So, what can you do?

Here comes the selective breeding process.

You’ll take two bearded dragons from nature that have a hint of red in them. Now, you’ll breed those two bearded dragons. Suppose, there are 10 babies.

Now, you’ll choose the babies with the most red color in them and breed those babies. Their babies will have redder coloration than the previous generation. Now, you’ll take the redder babies and breed them. This cycle of selective breeding will continue until you get a dark red bearded dragon.

Selective breeding is not natural. It is an artificial breeding process performed by breeders to get new morphs and traits.

Fancy Bearded Dragon Types

According to Scale/Skin Morphs

Scale/Skin MorphDescription
HypoThese bearded dragons are lighter in color. The scales, nails and eyes are also lighter.
TransTrans bearded dragons have a slightly see-through skin & scale.
Hypo TransThis is a combination of both Hypo and Trans morph. These bearded dragons have a lighter color as well as slightly see-through skin.
Het Hypo‘Het Hypo’ is a term generally used by breeders. It means the Hypo quality is present in the DNA of the bearded dragon, but not visible yet. So, the future generations from this dragon can possess the Hypo morph.
Het TransIt means the Trans quality is present in the DNA of the bearded dragon, but not visible yet.
Hypo Het TransHypo qualities are visible in the bearded dragon, but the Trans qualities are only present in the DNA, not visible.
Trans Het HypoTrans qualities are visible in the bearded dragon, but the Hypo qualities are only present in the DNA, not visible.
Double HetBoth the Trans and Hypo qualities are present only in the DNA, not visible.
Trans Hypo Zero‘Translucent’ ‘Hypo’ ‘Zero’ all of these qualities are present in the bearded dragon. If you want to learn about these morphs more, check out my other detailed guide on selecting bearded dragon.
Hypo Leatherback Zero‘Leatherback’ ‘Hypo’ ‘Zero’ all of these qualities are present in the bearded dragon. Leatherback means missing spikes/ smooth skin. ‘Zero’ morph means there is no presence of color and pattern.
Hypo Leatherback Witblit‘Leatherback’ ‘Hypo’ ‘Witblit’ all of these qualities are present in the bearded dragon.
Trans Hypo Leatherback DunnerDunner morphs have a pattern of irregular spikes and scales.
Hypo DunnerDunner morph along with the qualities of the Hypo morph i.e. lighter body color.

According to Color Morphs

Red MorphsYellow MorphWhite MorphsTiger Morphs
Red bearded dragonGold bearded dragon Snow bearded dragonYellow Tiger
Bloody-red bearded dragonLemon fire bearded dragonAlbino bearded dragonRainbow Tiger
Ruby red bearded dragonSandfire gold bearded dragonCitrus Tiger
Orange bearded dragonCitrus bearded dragonTranslucent Leatherback Tiger
Sandfire Red bearded dragonYellow bearded dragonRed Hypo Tiger
Sunburst bearded dragonTiger Stripe
Tangerine bearded dragon
Citrus bearded dragon

Special Types

Leatherback Bearded Dragon

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.

Silkback Bearded Dragon

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.

German Giant Bearded Dragon

As the name suggests, German Giant bearded dragons are comparatively 50% larger than the average bearded dragons. When adult, the can get up to 30 inches in length with a weight of more than 600 grams.

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Dunner Bearded Dragon

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.

Where Can I Buy Fancy Bearded Dragons?

There are lots of online as well as offline shops that sell fancy bearded dragons. Now, while shopping, don’t get fooled into thinking that fancy is a special exclusive morph. It is just a name for bearded dragons that are selectively bred.

Here is a list of online stores from where you can get fancy bearded dragons:

How Big Do Fancy Bearded Dragons Get?

Fancy Bearded Dragon TypeSize (Adult)
Leatherback Bearded Dragon21 to 24 inches
Citrus/Yellow Bearded Dragon4 to 6 inches
Hypo Bearded DragonUp to 24 inches
Witblit Bearded Dragon16 to 24 inches long
Zero Bearded Dragon16 to 24 inches long
Red Bearded Dragon16 to 24 inches long
Translucent Bearded DragonUp to 24 inches
Dunner Bearded Dragon16 to 24 inches long
Silkback Bearded Dragon16 to 24 inches long

Final Words

So, this is my detailed comparison on bearded dragon vs fancy bearded dragon. At the end of the day, fancy bearded dragons are just dragons that are selectively bred for more attractive color or scale mutations. While you can get bearded dragons from the wild, the fancy ones are only available through selectively breeding in captivity.

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About Muntaseer Rahman

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