Fancy Bearded Dragons (The Ultimate Guide)

Bearded dragons are very popular pets in the United States because of their amazing appearance and relatively easy care. The standard color for normal bearded dragons is brown, tan, and gray. However, they are now available in almost any color tones, thanks to the selective breeding.

Expert breeders have developed methods for manipulating the colors and patterns of dragons in order to create a specific appearance. Bearded dragons are now available in many different colors and patterns.

Bearded dragons can be divided into two categories: regular and fancy.

The most common bearded dragons are regular/normal, also called wild types. Regular bearded dragons are readily available in pet stores and online. They are usually brown, tan or grey in color.

The other major category of bearded dragons is called fancy. The term fancy refers to morphs or species that differ from the standard wild type. A fancy bearded dragon is selectively bred for its bright colors, unique scale patterns, or large size.

A fancy bearded dragon can be confusing for new owners. Fancies don’t look like each other, and there are a lot of colors, patterns, and prices to choose from.

In this post, we will explain the difference between regular and fancy bearded dragons and what makes them fancy.

What is a Fancy Bearded Dragon?

A bearded dragon is considered fancy if its color, pattern, or scales differ from those of wild-type or normal dragons. In other words, the term ‘fancy dragon’ refers to any dragon with a unique color, pattern, or size.

Remember, fancy does not refer to a particular morph, but rather to all those morphs and species that are unique or rare.

Where Do Fancy Bearded Dragons Come From?

Fancy bearded dragons are products of selective breeding. Selective breeding is the process of mating two bearded dragons with the desired trait so that offspring will possess the same characteristics as their parents. In order to increase intensity, the offspring are bred with other offspring carrying the same trait.

Many of these traits occur as natural mutations in regular bearded dragons that give them their unique appearance. A common mutation is a change in color or a decrease in spikes.

Due to predators or health issues, these traits rarely survive in wild populations.

Scale-gene mutations, for instance, lead to fancy bearded dragons with scale less bodies. This mutation causes the bearded dragon to lose scales. They are therefore more vulnerable to stuck sheds, injuries, and predators in the wild. That is why a scale less fancy dragon has never been found in the wild.

Breeding bearded dragons to produce fancy dragons often comes with its own drawbacks. For example, some species like silkback will be more prone to health issues that drastically reduce their lifespan.

How Much is a Fancy Bearded Dragon?

The attractive colors and patterns of the fancy bearded dragons make them more desirable, thus making them more expensive.

A fancy bearded dragons will cost $150 to $300 on average. Some species that are extremely rare such as the zero will cost around $900. Compared to wild-type bearded dragons that sell for $30 to $50, fancy dragons are much more expensive.

Difference Between Normal and Fancy Bearded Dragons

The difference between these two is based on the colors, patterns, and the number of scales.

Out of eight species of bearded dragons, four are kept as pets, among which the central bearded dragon is the most common. The fancy bearded dragons are from Pogona vitticeps species explicitly bred to have unique colors and patterns.

Despite sharing the same subspecies, fancy and common bearded dragons differ in their colors, markings, and sizes.

The difference between the two can be summed up as below.

 Fancy bearded dragonsRegular bearded dragons
AppearanceFewer scales, some species even have no scales at all Exotic patterns such as zigzags, stripes, dotsA lot of scales, rough bodies, a slightly visible stripe down the spine. There are irregular splotches on the side of the stripe
ColorRed, striking red, bright orange, yellow, purpleMuddy, tan, brown-beige, and white markings

Size

Fancy bearded dragons are generally the same size as regular bearded dragons, with one notable exception. The regular bearded dragon reaches a length of 15 to 20 inches. The German giant morph (fancy dragon) can, however, reach 30 inches in length!

Color

The normal bearded dragons have brown, tan, and gray colors. In contrast, the fancy bearded dragons have more vivid and exotic colors and patterns. There are usually bright red, orange, and yellow stripes down the back of a fancy bearded dragon. Fancy species also come in blacks, browns, and whites.

Spikes

Several fancy bearded dragons differ greatly from normal dragons. The leatherback dragon, for instance, has a smooth texture and very few spines on its beard, sides, and back. The Silkback morph has no spines or scales and has a smooth, wrinkled appearance.

Pattern

In addition to their coloration, fancy bearded dragons have different patterns than standard dragons. In wild-type/standard dragons, there is a light stripe along the spine accompanied by darker, irregular blotches. Tiger stripes, zigzags, and camouflage prints are among the most popular patterns.

Scale Type

The scales’ patterns, texture, and number may change from normal to fancy bearded dragons. The typical bearded dragons have many scales on their bodies, whereas the fancy beardies tend to have a smoother and less scaly appearance.

Price

The price of a typical bearded dragon is way too low as compared to the fancy beardies. The fancy bearded dragons are created after a lot of effort, so their prices are set accordingly.

Similarities Between Normal and Fancy Bearded Dragons

a-normal-bearded-dragon

The fancy bearded dragons are similar to regular bearded dragons, including necessities, such as health care requirements, husbandry practices, etc.

Some similarities between fancy and regular bearded dragons are mentioned below.

Lifespan

Being the same reptile, the lifespan of the fancy and regular bearded dragon is almost the same. Their lifespan, on average, is 12-14 years for both fancy and average bearded dragons. However, in case of a disease or sickness, the lifespan may get shorter.

Diet

The fancy and regular bearded dragons have the exact diet requirements, i.e., they are omnivorous and eat both greens and proteins.

Habitat

Both of these bearded dragons need a hot environment as their origin is from the hot lands of Australia. They require the same temperature in captivity, which is from 95F to 115F.

Behavior

Fancy and regular bearded dragons have the same behaviors, including raising the tail, hissing when intimidated, waving arms, etc.

Types of Fancy Bearded Dragons

types-of-fancy-bearded-dragons

Fancy bearded dragons are divided into different categories based on their colors and patterns. Different types of fancy bearded dragons categorized on their colors, scales, and patterns are explained below in detail.

Scale type

1. Hypo

These bearded dragons are called Hypomelanistic bearded dragons and usually have light scales, colors, nails, and eyes.

2. Trans

These bearded dragons are called translucent, as evident from the name, their skin is slightly transparent, and you can see through it. 

3. Hypo trans

This type of hybrid dragons have the same colors as Hypomelanistic bearded dragons, and their skin is see-through like translucent beardies.

4. Het Hypo

It’s just a quality to grab breeders’ attention, where the hypomelanistic attributes are not visible in the reptile, but they are present in the DNA.

5. Het Trans

Het trans beardies are similar to the het hypos, they have translucent properties in their genes, but these properties are not visible physically.

6. Double Het

These bearded dragons have both trans and hypo traits in their genes, but these are not physically visible.

7. Trans Het Hypo

These bearded dragons have both translucent and Hypomelanistic attributes, but only the translucent attributes are visible, whereas the hypo qualities are hidden.

8. Hypo Het trans

It’s the opposite of Trans Het Hypo, which means the hypo qualities are visible physically, whereas the trans traits are in the genes but not visible.

Color

The color of bearded dragons changes according to the combination of different species as chosen by the breeder. The three primary colors of the fancy bearded dragons are red, yellow, and white, where each color has different sets of bearded dragons. Following is a list of fancy red-bearded dragons.

Sandfire red-bearded dragonCitrus tiger bearded dragonRuby red bearded dragon
Red bearded dragonTangerine bearded dragonBloody-red bearded dragon
Orange bearded dragonSunburst bearded dragon 

Some yellow fancy bearded dragons are listed below.

Sandfire gold bearded dragonGold bearded dragonYellow bearded dragon
Lemon fire bearded dragonCitrus bearded dragon 

The list of fancy bearded dragons is below.

Snow bearded dragonAlbino bearded dragon

Specialty types

Some fancy bearded dragons are unique and different from each of the aforementioned fancy beardie. These particular types are mentioned below.

1. German Giant bearded dragon

As evident from the name, these bearded dragons are created by mating bigger bearded dragons to create giant beardies, which are greater than the typical bearded dragons. Furthermore, these bearded dragons are mated with exotic colored beardies for getting bright-colored giant offspring.

2. Leatherback bearded dragon

These bearded dragons have smooth skin instead of scales because of the genetic mutations that they go through. This mutation results in a smooth and unique look.

3. Silkback bearded dragon

This type of bearded dragon is created by mating two leatherback beardies, producing offspring with entirely smooth skin and zero scales.

How to Identify a Fancy Bearded Dragon

a-fancy-bearded-dragon

The easiest way of identifying a fancy bearded dragon is to look for the color and the patterns on their bodies. Fancy bearded dragons have striking and bright colors in the shades of yellow, red, orange, and purple. There are also white, brown, and black fancy bearded dragons, which can have patterns such as dots, zigzag, and others that depend on the genetic background.

The bearded dragons that are found in the wild have quite simple patterns and colors. The fancy bearded dragons are pretty easy to identify, especially the silkback and Leatherback bearded dragons are most easy to identify because of their smooth skin and no texture.

Do you have a bearded dragon with bright colors and textures? Then there is a high chance that your bearded dragon is a fancy one. You can distinguish a regular beardie from a fancy bearded dragon by checking against the following.

Normal Bearded Dragon

common-bearded-dragon

Color

Regular bearded dragons camouflage the color of their habitats, so they have brown, muddy, or the color of the soil that the beardie has come from. Some of them have stripes from their eyes to the ears.

Body

A normal bearded dragon will have a single row of soft spines running down its sides. The largest spine is located near the front arms. Especially when they are basking, these spines emphasize their flat pancake-shaped bodies.

Head

A wild type or normal beardie has a wide, triangular head surrounded by two rows of spines. They have very large heads compared to their bodies.

Beard

Normal bearded dragons have spikes on their throat, which turn blackish purple when they are trying to show dominance. This looks like a beard which gives the unique name to this reptile.

Final thoughts

Fancy bearded dragons are exotic and brightly colored hybrids created by mating specific species of regular bearded dragons by the breeders. The process involves mating two beardies to get a particular offspring; this offspring is then mated with another offspring obtained through a similar process to create morphs.

The fancy bearded dragons have brightly colored bodies with fewer to no scales on their bodies. They are divided into different categories based on their physical appearance. If you’re seeking a fancy bearded dragon, you can identify it by checking the color, scales, and patterns.

Finally, these fancy bearded dragons are no alien creatures and require the same food and husbandry practices as the typical bearded dragon.

I am the editor-in-chief at MyPetReptiles.com, a site that is devoted to reptiles and the people who love them. I have been keeping and breeding many pet reptiles such as bearded dragons, geckos, chameleons, etc. for over 10 years now.

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