What Are The Differences Between A Normal Bearded Dragon And A Fancy Bearded Dragon?

If you already own or have owned a bearded dragon in the past and are interested in adding a new bearded dragon to your reptile collection, you must have become aware of the existence of fancy bearded dragons.

What Are The Differences Between A Normal Bearded Dragon And A Fancy Bearded Dragon?

However, before starting your search into finding this fancy reptile with the, quite literally, fancy name, you should first know about the differences between these two creatures.

Keep reading below as we examine the differences between a bearded dragon and a fancy bearded dragon to make your choice of getting either or both easier and more informed!

What Is A Bearded Dragon?

Even though you might already own or know what a bearded dragon is, we have to briefly explain it to anyone who is reading about it for the first time.

So, a bearded dragon is a reptile that belongs to the Agamidae family and is native to Australia’s desert and semi-dry territories.

It is a medium-sized lizard with a noticeably wide mouth and a triangular-shaped head with lines of thorn-like formations that look like thorns on stems.

Its body is quite flattened with these thorn-like formations being a feature that stands out. As for its length, a bearded dragon can be anything from 18-24 inches, its tail included.

What Is A Fancy Bearded Dragon?

Fancy bearded dragons are bearded dragons but with some differences.

While we will talk about these differences in a bit, we should note that fancy bearded dragons are a result of breeding attempts made by humans.

This fact says a lot about their availability and market price, as well as their color.

The method used is called ‘selective breeding’ and it refers to when breeders pick two creatures with the desired characteristics to create a new ‘hybrid’ creature.

What Are The Differences Between A Bearded Dragon And A Fancy Bearded Dragon?

Both these animals can grow a beard-like skin on their throat surface when it wants to defend themselves or their territory or gets attacked, which is the reason why they are called bearded dragons.

But what are their differences?


Normal bearded dragons have pointed spines on their head and on each side of their body, whereas fancy bearded dragons have small spines that are quite soft when touching them.


Normal bearded dragons are yellow in color or have a pale-skinned look. On the contrary, fancy bearded dragons have a red color that can easily distinguish them from their fellow dragon pals.


Fancy bearded dragons have a softer skin surface that is not as scaled as normal bearded dragons. The latter have a much rougher skin that dragon enthusiasts can possibly notice even with the naked eye.

Buying Price

Classic bearded dragons are significantly less expensive than certain fancy bearded ones.


The significant difference in their price is due to the fact that fancy bearded dragons are quite uncommon, and breeders go to great lengths to create them.

What Are The Similarities Of Normal Bearded Dragons And Fancy Bearded Dragons?

What Are The Differences Between A Normal Bearded Dragon And A Fancy Bearded Dragon

Life Expectancy

Both normal and fancy bearded dragons have a life expectancy of 10-15 years (Also check out The Average Lifespan Of Bearded Dragons)


Both these creatures have comparable eating habits. They are mainly carnivores, feeding on insects, worms, as well as meat, but they also chew on leafy greens too.


Since we are essentially talking about one dragon type that is now created in different forms too by breeders, it only makes sense that there is one origin.

And, as we previously mentioned, that is Australia.

Why You Should Get A Bearded Or A Fancy Bearded Dragon As A Pet

Bearded, as well as fancy bearded dragons, have emerged as extremely common pets in the past few years for a variety of reasons.

They Have A Pleasant Personality

Bearded dragons have a tame, almost subservient disposition. They can be extremely sociable and show their enjoyment when you hold and pet them.

For people who have owned or been around unfriendly animals, this reason alone is enough to convince them of buying a bearded or fancy bearded dragon.

They Don’t Ask For Much

Bearded and fancy bearded dragons are fairly simple to look after and raise.

Indeed, they are among the easiest companion animals to care for, provided you are offering proper shelter and the necessary amount of food.

They Have A Distinctive Appearance

Both these types of dragons have a dinosaur-like look, something most people truly value.

Not only that but numerous breeders have also managed to develop pastel-colored dragons during the latest years, in addition to several other color combinations, such as orange, red, and yellow.

This makes these creatures even more desirable for bearded dragon enthusiasts.

They Are Easier To Handle Thanks To Their Size

As pets, both fancy bearded and normal bearded dragons are easier to house and manage than bigger lizards like iguanas because they do not grow to be very big.

They Are Very Healthy

When domesticated, these animals can live even for 10-15 years without the need for any special treatment in terms of their health.

Some Fun Facts About Bearded Dragons

What Are The Differences Between A Normal Bearded Dragon And A Fancy Bearded Dragon

Now that we have established the differences as well as the similarities between normal bearded and fancy bearded dragons, let’s see some fun and interesting facts about these animals!

They Like To Wave At Their Pals

In the same way, we wave at other people, the bearded dragons wave at other bearded dragons when they see them. However, they are not waving to say ‘hi.’

This wave is intended to convey complacency or obedience to any dragon that comes their way and is bigger than them in size.

Many bearded dragon owners are also suggesting that their dragons are also waving at people too, as they say, they have seen their dragons wave at them.

Furthermore, there are a plethora of recordings on YouTube that have thankfully managed to catch this polite act of these creatures.

They Have Developed More Behavioral Patterns

Apart from an occasional wave, bearded dragons also exhibit a variety of other behavioral patterns people might find interesting.

For example, a simple search on Google will yield numerous images of bearded dragons ‘sunbathing’ in their vivarium.

The possible explanation for this is that they are enjoying the sun just like humans do, hoping you will catch that Instagrammable moment on camera.

The most noticeable move, however, is the head bob which is done for several possible reasons, the most common of which are:

  • They feel territorial
  • They want to mate
  • They signal their submission
  • They acknowledge some other creature they see
  • They want to scare another dragon

They Can Run At Speeds Of Up To 9 Miles Per Hour

Bearded dragons are usually cool and collected and do not move much, and they spend the majority of their time basking in the sun.

Despite this, they are extremely fast and, if needed, they can catch speeds as high as 9 miles per hour!

Furthermore, they are one of the simplest lizards to ‘convince’ to wear a leash, so a stroll along your nearby park is not something that should be out of the question.

However, do not think about taking the leash off if they spot something delicious, they will instantly go for it.

They Love Water

Despite the fact that they are growing up in extremely dry and arid environments when they are free in nature, bearded dragons love water and that’s why you will see them spend a lot of their time in it.

Not only that but certain bearded dragons actually love swimming, and they are great at it too.

Their Teeth Regrow

Several lizards can regenerate lost body parts and even though that is not the case with bearded dragons, what these animals can do is grow their teeth back.

Many dragons lose their front teeth from time to time when catching their food and tearing it apart, but the rest of their teeth are permanent.

The Bottom Line

Normal bearded and fancy bearded dragons have several differences that are quite noticeable, making it very easy to tell them apart. From their color to their spine and skin texture, these two types of dragons differ a lot.

However, the things they have in common are way more and since fancy dragons are the result of breeding different bearded dragons together, it only makes sense that they are more alike than different from one another.

So, choosing which one to buy depends on how unique looking you want your dragon to be and how much you are willing to pay!

Dorothy Razo