Bearded dragons originally came from the arid Australian outback, but our penchant for this reptile led to its availability in different countries, including the US. These lizards are among the most sought pet reptiles because they are relatively easy to care for and look amazing! Like other animals, expert breeders like me have found ways to manipulate its characteristics that gave rise to fancy bearded dragons.
If you are looking to buy a beardie, you have likely encountered the fancy breed. Here, I will share my knowledge of this specific breed to help you decide to buy one.
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What is a Fancy Bearded Dragon?
In the mid-1990s, the bearded dragons became popular among reptile enthusiasts that brought about their high demand. This situation led breeding to create distinct patterns and extravagant colors, giving rise to fancy beardies.
In essence, the fancy breed is the bearded dragons selectively bred to produce specific colors,
patterns, and size traits. Like in the case of purebred dogs, fancy beardie breeders put a lot of work into producing the desired appearance, making it more expensive than the normal beardie. Any beardie that has a glaring different trait compared to the wild type can be labeled as fancy.
Fancy Bearded Dragon vs. Normal Bearded Dragon
Normal beardies are also called standard, classic or wild type, which pertains to the breed you find in its natural habitat and reproduce without much human intervention. Fancy beardie is a unique variation of the standard, as elaborated in this definitive guide. The following traits can easily differentiate the fancy dragons from the normal.
Fancy Bearded Dragon
Color – With a wide range of colors that are usually bright saturated hues of the three primary colors, red, white and yellow
Scale – Selectively bred to produce less small to no scale. Others have a leathery, smooth texture.
Pattern – Different visible and clear patterns that may be zig-zag, horizontal, vertical, or s shape
Price – The rarer it is, the higher the cost. Price is affected by the complexity of unique traits such as stripes and colors. At around $80 to over $800 for a rare type
Normal Bearded Dragon
Color – Generally muted earthy shades of brown and gray to yellowish color or solid tan. Others may have a slightly red body but not as bright compared to fancy.
Scale – With scales all over the body
Pattern – Mostly no solid pattern on the body. If a pattern exists, it is not clear and fades with age.
Price – Costs lower than the fancy breed at around $50-$125
The usual brown color and darker splotches on the side of the wild beardie are used as camouflage in its environment. Their markings and irregular colors allow them to blend with their habitat masking their presence from the prying eyes of the predators.
Imagine having a bright yellow or orange fancy dragon in the dessert. It will stand out like a sore thumb waiting to be snatched by predators. Fortunately, there are no fancy dragons in the wild unless some irresponsible owner decides to ditch one. Even in captivity, we must give them a chance to live like they are in their natural habitat. Providing a hide hole for bearded dragon may help in this regard.
A kind reminder to everyone that getting a pet is a commitment. Please do not buy it just because it looks cool and amazing. Fancy beardies have a very low to zero chance of surviving in the wild.
Fancy beardie pet dragons don’t have to worry about predators and harsh environments; thus, their scales are unnecessary. They have minimal scale to non-existent scale, and some are even translucent, which is quite rare.
Normal or fancy, beardies in captivity must be given a calcium powder with vitamin D to ensure their proper health development.
Selectively bred dragons are available in different interesting patterns that are all interesting and distinct. We can even produce them in bright solid colors.
The cost of a beardie is dependent on several factors like:
Overall health status
As such, a fancy beardie with combinations of rare morphs could easily fetch a price of over $800. The types of bearded dragon morphs dictate the price.
I am not saying that there is no available fancy dragon for those who are on a budget. We could get our hands on fancy breed for as low as $80. These are dragons that have common traits like a predominantly bright orange color.
Famous Fancy Bearded Dragon Morphs
Choosing the fancy dragon to buy could be a daunting task due to the numerous options available. We are going to cover here the favorite varieties to help you choose.
Leatherbacks have less scale and no spikes on their backs, giving them a more vibrant color with a leathery texture.
The name itself means there are zero patterns, color, or distinguishing features present in other beardies. They tend to be white, while some are more on the silver and gray color.
A paradox is produced from two different genetic morphs where offspring express the traits unequally throughout their body. These lovelies are born with one solid body base color but evolve into a unique pattern as they grow hence the name.
Adults look like they were splashed with bright paint, creating a beautifully distinct color pattern strewn across their bodies. These traits cannot be replicated through reproduction from the associated gene and are considered an anomaly. Paradox bearded dragon is rare and sought after by reptile lovers.
Also called trans, they are characterized by having almost transparent skin. The very thin skin gives babies blueish bellies, which is the black lining of their internal organs. It is common for them to have solid black eyes, a striking contrast to their translucent body.
This is characterized by clear racing-like stripes on each side of their spine that run from the top of their head to the base of their tail. A dominant genetic stripe line species could be bred with a red bearded dragon to produce a red genetic stripe offspring.
They don’t have patterns like zero, but they have one solid color ranging from gray pastel colors. They can be differentiated from zeros by the lack of color on their shoulders. Witblits is one of the rarer and more expensive breeds in the fancy line.
Compared to leatherbacks, breeding silkies was taken one step further by the total elimination of its scales. As a result, this breed needs a special attention regimen due to its delicate soft, smooth skin. They easily bruise and wound even from non-aggressive contact, making them not a great choice for beginners.
We need to be picky when choosing their toys and when designing their habitat. Regular bathing and moisturizing are needed. Also, be sure to put in a thermometer to monitor the temperature and prevent them from getting UV burns.
Health Concerns about Fancy Beardies
Fancy dragons may be more delicate compared to normal dragons because of inbreeding. It is a scientific fact that genetic anomalies will be carried through when you mate the same line. The breeders must be knowledgeable when dealing with both the rare and common types of beardies.
We should look for responsible breeders who know their dragons well. Breeders can avoid genetic health issues if they ensure that both parents have robust genetic profiles. Let us take, for example, the claims that the translucent morphs have a high probability of having health problems. This claim could be true if one of the parents is genetically predisposed even before mating. There is a high chance that the offspring have health concerns that no multivitamin supplement could resolve.
Factors to Consider Before Buying
The best fancy bearded dragon is not the rarest and most expensive. Choosing a beardie is a long and personal process that should consider the pet owner’s capacity. Before rushing to a pet store to buy a dragon with the most interesting color and pattern, ask yourself this:
Am I ready to commit long-term? Can I make sure that I will be able to provide the needs of my beardie for the duration of its lifetime?
What are the specific care needs of the dragon that I want? Does it require special care or just the same care as the classic beardie?
How is my financial situation? If I spend this much on a beardie, can I still accommodate the upkeep of my pet? Expenses include not only the food but also investing in materials for your reptile’s habitat, like a good basking light.
Rearing beardies became famous because of their relatively easy care regimen. Yes, it is easier than a dog, but you still need to monitor it ad be sensitive to its needs. To do that, you must be ready to commit not only financially but also emotionally and mentally.