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Bearded Dragon vs. Fancy Bearded Dragon — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Published on March 3, 2024
Bearded dragons are popular pet lizards known for their docile nature, while "fancy" bearded dragons are selectively bred for unique colors, patterns, or morphs, not a different species but a variation within the same species.
Bearded Dragon vs. Fancy Bearded Dragon — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Bearded Dragon and Fancy Bearded Dragon


Key Differences

Bearded Dragons are native to Australia and belong to the genus Pogona, with the most commonly kept species in captivity being Pogona vitticeps. These reptiles are known for their distinctive "beard," an expandable throat pouch used for communication and mating displays. Bearded dragons have a wide range of colors in their natural form, including shades of brown, tan, and gray, adapting to various desert and scrubland environments.
Fancy Bearded Dragons refer to bearded dragons that have been selectively bred to exhibit specific desirable traits, such as unusual colors, patterns, or spikes. These traits can include brighter colors like red, orange, yellow, and even white or patterns such as stripes or hypo-melanistic (reduced melanin) appearances. "Fancy" is not a scientific classification but a term often used by pet retailers to denote these special morphs. Despite their unique appearance, fancy bearded dragons require the same care as standard bearded dragons, including proper heating, UV lighting, diet, and habitat.
The primary difference between standard and fancy bearded dragons lies in their appearance and price. Fancy bearded dragons, due to their unique looks and the selective breeding required to produce them, are often more expensive than their standard counterparts. However, both types share similar behavior, dietary needs, and habitat requirements, making the care for fancy bearded dragons virtually identical to that for standard ones.
Both standard and fancy bearded dragons are social creatures that can display a range of behaviors, including arm-waving, head-bobbing, and beard-fluffing, to communicate with their owners and other dragons. They are diurnal, enjoying basking under heat lamps during the day and requiring a cool, dark place to sleep at night.
Whether choosing a standard or fancy bearded dragon, potential owners should prepare for a commitment of up to 10-15 years, as these reptiles can live for a long time with proper care. The decision between a standard and a fancy bearded dragon often comes down to personal preference regarding the reptile's appearance and the owner's budget.

Comparison Chart


Pogona vitticeps (commonly)
Pogona vitticeps (with selective breeding)


Natural colors like brown, tan, gray
Selectively bred for unique colors, patterns, spikes

Care Requirements

Heat source, UV lighting, balanced diet of insects and vegetables
Identical to standard bearded dragons


Docile, arm-waving, head-bobbing
Same as standard bearded dragons


Generally less expensive
More expensive due to selective breeding for specific traits

Compare with Definitions

Bearded Dragon

Known for its distinctive beard used in communication.
When threatened, a bearded dragon may puff up its beard to appear larger.

Fancy Bearded Dragon

Popular among enthusiasts for their striking appearance.
Fancy bearded dragons are often showcased in reptile exhibitions.

Bearded Dragon

Adaptable to various environments in captivity.
Bearded dragons can thrive in a well-setup terrarium with proper heat and light.

Fancy Bearded Dragon

Requires the same care as standard bearded dragons.
Despite its unique appearance, my fancy bearded dragon has the same dietary needs.

Bearded Dragon

Can live up to 10-15 years with proper care.
My bearded dragon has been a part of my family for over a decade.

Fancy Bearded Dragon

Often more expensive due to its selective breeding.
I invested in a fancy bearded dragon because of its unique pattern.

Bearded Dragon

A docile, omnivorous lizard native to Australia, popular as a pet.
The bearded dragon enjoys basking under its heat lamp during the day.

Fancy Bearded Dragon

May display unusual morphological traits like spikes.
Some fancy bearded dragons are bred to have more pronounced spikes.

Bearded Dragon

Requires a diet of insects, vegetables, and occasional fruits.
I feed my bearded dragon a balanced diet of crickets and leafy greens.

Fancy Bearded Dragon

A bearded dragon selectively bred for unique colors or patterns.
My fancy bearded dragon has a vibrant orange color that stands out.

Common Curiosities

What is a fancy bearded dragon?

A fancy bearded dragon is a bearded dragon selectively bred for specific traits like unique colors, patterns, or spikes, enhancing its appearance.

Do fancy bearded dragons require special care?

Fancy bearded dragons require the same care as standard bearded dragons, including proper habitat, diet, and UV lighting.

Are fancy bearded dragons a different species?

No, fancy bearded dragons are not a different species; they are Pogona vitticeps, selectively bred for desirable aesthetic traits.

Can a standard and a fancy bearded dragon cohabitate?

Yes, with proper space and environmental conditions, they can cohabitate, as their care needs are identical.

How do I choose between a standard and a fancy bearded dragon?

The choice often depends on personal preference for appearance and budget considerations, as care requirements are the same.

Why are fancy bearded dragons more expensive?

They are more expensive due to the selective breeding process required to achieve their unique appearances.

Are fancy bearded dragons more prone to health issues?

Not necessarily, but like any selectively bred animal, potential owners should be aware of genetic health concerns and seek reputable breeders.

What should I feed my fancy bearded dragon?

The diet should include a variety of insects, leafy greens, and occasional fruits, similar to that of standard bearded dragons.

How long do fancy bearded dragons live?

With proper care, fancy bearded dragons can live up to 10-15 years, comparable to the lifespan of standard bearded dragons.

Can bearded dragons recognize their owners?

Bearded dragons can become familiar with their owners through regular handling and interaction, showing recognition in their behavior.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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