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
|Particulars||Bearded Dragon||Fancy Bearded Dragon|
|Color||Generally 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.|
|Scale||There 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|
|Pattern||There 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.|
|Price||Generally costs much lower than the fancy bearded dragons||The rare the specimen is, the higher it costs. Cost also increases with the complexity of color, marks, and stripes.|
|Size||Generally 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
|Lifespan||Both types of bearded dragons can live for up to 15 years naturally.|
|Habitat||Bearded dragons in general need a hot, arid area as they come from the Australian deserts.|
|Diet||Both fancy and regular bearded dragons are omnivores. They eat insects, vegetables, worms, etc.|
|Behavior||The 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.|
|Breeding||The 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:
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
|Hypo||These bearded dragons are lighter in color. The scales, nails and eyes are also lighter.|
|Trans||Trans bearded dragons have a slightly see-through skin & scale.|
|Hypo Trans||This 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 Trans||It means the Trans quality is present in the DNA of the bearded dragon, but not visible yet.|
|Hypo Het Trans||Hypo qualities are visible in the bearded dragon, but the Trans qualities are only present in the DNA, not visible.|
|Trans Het Hypo||Trans qualities are visible in the bearded dragon, but the Hypo qualities are only present in the DNA, not visible.|
|Double Het||Both 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 Dunner||Dunner morphs have a pattern of irregular spikes and scales.|
|Hypo Dunner||Dunner morph along with the qualities of the Hypo morph i.e. lighter body color.|
According to Color Morphs
|Red Morphs||Yellow Morph||White Morphs||Tiger Morphs|
|Red bearded dragon||Gold bearded dragon||Snow bearded dragon||Yellow Tiger|
|Bloody-red bearded dragon||Lemon fire bearded dragon||Albino bearded dragon||Rainbow Tiger|
|Ruby red bearded dragon||Sandfire gold bearded dragon||Citrus Tiger|
|Orange bearded dragon||Citrus bearded dragon||Translucent Leatherback Tiger|
|Sandfire Red bearded dragon||Yellow bearded dragon||Red Hypo Tiger|
|Sunburst bearded dragon||Tiger Stripe|
|Tangerine bearded dragon|
|Citrus bearded dragon|
Leatherback Bearded Dragon
|Identifying Trait||Smooth Back|
|Spikes||No Spike on their back. Heads and sides have spikes.|
|Scales||Lots of smaller scales. The presence of smaller scales make the skin feel smooth and the color appear vivid.|
|Available Colors||Mostly 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 Trait||No classical spikes like other bearded dragons|
|Skin||Very smooth skin with vibrant color|
|Fun Trivia||Also called silkies because of their soft skin|
|Important Notes||Very 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.
Dunner Bearded Dragon
|Identifying Trait||No stripes. Blotched/Spotty markings over the body.|
|Marking||Thicker nails, bigger feet.|
|Scales||Scales create a haphazard look by point in all directions|
|Fun Trivia||Named 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 Type||Size (Adult)|
|Leatherback Bearded Dragon||21 to 24 inches|
|Citrus/Yellow Bearded Dragon||4 to 6 inches|
|Hypo Bearded Dragon||Up to 24 inches|
|Witblit Bearded Dragon||16 to 24 inches long|
|Zero Bearded Dragon||16 to 24 inches long|
|Red Bearded Dragon||16 to 24 inches long|
|Translucent Bearded Dragon||Up to 24 inches|
|Dunner Bearded Dragon||16 to 24 inches long|
|Silkback Bearded Dragon||16 to 24 inches long|
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.