Bearded Dragon Morphs

Bearded dragons have only been in the pet trade since the 1990s, but in that time a wide range of colors and scale types have been bred for. You may wonder why anyone would pay the much higher price tag for these “designer lizards” when the standard lizard is attractive and affordable. When you consider how much time and maintenance will go into a dragon over the course of its decade or so life in captivity, you may understand why it is worth investing in a bearded dragon that really appeals to you.

If you are considering going to the next level in bearded dragon ownership with breeding, the potential in a rare bearded dragon may seem like a good investment to you. If you can successfully raise and sell the offspring, you will be able to make much more than your initial investment in a breeding pair or trio.

Learn all about the many varieties of bearded dragons so that you can choose your ideal individual dragon or breeding program. Dragons come in color morphs that represent almost every color in the rainbow. There are also fascinating mutations resulting in dragons that are without patterns or almost translucent. Discover the captivating patterns available, as well as the scale variations that you can choose from.


Dragons come in lots of gorgeous colors. Some color morphs change as the dragon ages, while other dragons remain roughly the same color from hatching to maturity. In general, the more generations of a color morph that you breed, the deeper and richer the color will become.

Not all mutations are strictly related to color. Dragons show a range of interesting mutations that affect color and pattern and can produce fascinating offspring in a breeding program.

Dragons without patterns may attract you due to the striking effect of the large, solid-colored lizard. If you like a psychedelic pattern, however, you can find a range of cool patterns from Tiger to S.

Perhaps most surprising of all the types of dragons that have been developed are the variations in scales. You can get a dragon with translucent scales, fewer scales, or no scales at all.

Color Morphs

Some unusual color morphs will cost in the $100s, while very rare varieties can cost thousands. Keep in mind that not all colors will remain into a dragon’s adulthood and offspring may or may not display the desired trait. If you are serious about breeding a color or scale morph of dragon, it is a good idea to ask to see a potential breeder’s records and other dragons so that you can get an idea of how often the color morph is expressed in a breed line.

The more saturated, or intense, the color of a grown dragon, the more valuable the dragon will be. Color intensity in younger dragons is unpredictable, as it may well fade with time. Also keep in mind that dragons express higher color for a number reasons, including a recent shed or bath, fear, aggression, or breeding drive.

When you are shopping for a color morph, keep in mind that there is no standard for naming color morphs. Breeders call dragons that appear red “fire”, “blood” “red” or a number of other names. Dragons may show any degree of color intensity, no matter the name under which they are sold.


Red bearded dragons vary from a bright, clear red, to a dark, intense marron, to a pink color one shade from white. Color deepens and intensifies with each generation of red to red breeding, as well as producing more predictable offspring. If you mix a red dragon with a dragon of another color morph, you can achieve uniquely colored dragons with interesting markings. Red is one of the most popular color morphs among selectively bred dragons, since it is not terrifically expensive and is dramatic in appearance.


Bearded dragons are naturally a yellowish color, so yellow morphs are a natural progression. There are a range of yellows, from all gold dragons, to dragons with bright lemon backs and white bellies, and citrus dragons with deeply saturated yellow bodies and reddish beards. Yellow lends itself well to having other colors present, so morphs with blue or red mixed with the yellow are not uncommon. Gold dragons are produced by breeding yellow dragons with red dragons.


True orange is highly sought after and hard to find. Orange bearded dragons are electric orange in appearance, one of the most striking color morphs. True orange dragons with smooth scales can be really impressive. Even dragons that do not display true, deep, orange color can be very striking. Morphs like Citrus Tiger and Sandfire Red have beautiful, intricate markings and lots of color variation across the body.


White bearded dragons are either albino or bred white. Albinos lack pigment throughout the skin, hair, and eyes. There are no documented cases of such dragons in captivity or nature. White dragons, on the other hand, have been selectively bred by crossing lighter dragons. They have black eyes, often with a more yellow lining around the eyes.


Purple and blue dragons tend not to keep their color as they age, fading to a beige, yellow, or grey. Those dragons that do keep their color are very rare and highly valued. This color is extremely striking in bearded dragons, perhaps because it is so rare in nature. It is accomplished by breeding translucent or blue dragons.


By identifying the mutations present in a given lizard, you have a better chance of breeding for a particular trait or picking a young lizard that will retain desired traits into adulthood. Some mutations can be dangerous to offspring if bred together, so choosing wisely is important for the life of your future dragons.


Hypomelanism means “less melanin”. Since melanin carries the black and brown, and sometimes other, colors in all animals, dragons with less melanin will be lighter. This is a recessive trait, so a clutch of dragons will only show the trait if both parents have it. You can positively identify a dragon with low melanin by the clear nails. Bearded dragons that display hypomelanism have other colors that look more vibrant. Leatherback dragons with hypomelanism are some of the most dramatic dragons.


Translucent dragons are actually somewhat see-through. They can also display solid black eyes. Some Trans dragons change to normally colored eyes, and some dragons have eyes that darken and lighten throughout adolescence. This recessive trait also tends to result in blue coloration in the underbellies, above the eyes, and in other areas. While most dragons outgrow the blue color, translucent dragons that retain blue coloration in the belly or over the eyes are good candidates for breeding for blue colored offspring.

There has been a long-standing myth among dragon breeders that Trans dragons are less healthy, and especially that breeding two trans dragon to produce a blue dragon produces an especially sickly specimen. In fact, most breeders find that breeding translucents in a responsible way produces healthy dragons. It may be that the myth came from irresponsible breeders who overbred Trans dragons to produce valuable blue offspring.


Paradox dragons are some of the most fascinating and beautiful of the color morphs. These dragons display apparently random patches of color. Many of them are marked by purple or blue in gorgeous, extravagant patterns. Some have speckles or spots like domestic dogs. Paradox dragons don’t start out that way. They start out looking like any other dragon. As the dragon develops, however, the colors shift. The dragon may go through a number of color shifts before arriving at a final pattern. There aren’t clear reasons behind why the Paradox gene presents, but it seems to be tied to some degree to the Trans trait.

Zero and Witblits

Most dragons of any color mutations have patterns including stripes, blotches, and spots. Dragons that express the Zero or Witblit trait do not display noticeable markings. These dragons are more or less of solid coloration, with some slight variation over the body. They can be any color, from silverish to yellow, grey, or gold. The solid color can be striking, especially in very light or dark colorations. Since these dragons are newer to the breeding community, they can be quite expensive.


In general, patterns are not as deliberately bred for as colors, mutations, and scale types, but you can find some beautiful name brand patterns available.


While most dragons have a clear stripe down their back, dragons with the Stripe gene have two clear stripes on either side of the lighter center line down the spine. These lines tend to extend down the tail as well. These dragons also display large spots on either side of the stripes, sometimes large enough to blend together into a single color. Dragons may display the unique color pattern without the clear stripe.


Tiger bearded dragons are aptly named, with dark horizontal lines sharply defined with vibrant colors across their back. Stripes generally alternate on either side of the spine. The darker and more clear the stripes, the more valuable the dragon. Like most colors and patterns, the Tiger pattern can change somewhat as the dragon ages, so you don’t really know how strong of a Tiger pattern you have until the dragon is grown.

S Pattern

The S Pattern isn’t necessarily considered a standard type. It does occur often in breeding populations, however, and breeders often advertise lizards with this pattern as S Pattern or Unbroken Line. Bearded dragons with this marking have a continuous line running from their head to the base of the tail. The line wiggles like repeating a repeating S down the dragon’s back, weaving on either side of the spine.

Scale Mutations

Dragons with scale mutations display different sizes or patterns of scales. Dragons with smaller scales have smoother bodies and sharper colors. Most of the standard color morphs are present within the various scale mutations. The scales do not change much throughout the dragon’s maturing, unlike many color morphs.


Dunner dragons have spots instead of stripes, creating a striking pattern in which each spike has its own color. This mutation actually changes the direction of the scales, causing the spikes to point outward instead of downward. The dewlap, or beard, is the clearest place to see this difference. If the Dunner trait and the leatherback trait exist together, the dragon will feel like sandpaper since the scales grow in so many different directions.


Leatherback dragons are visually a combination of smooth scales and wild-style spikes. Two rows of spikes run down either side of the body, and there are spikes present on the head and beard as well. Otherwise, the body and legs have smooth scales running all in one direction. Some leatherback dragons are spikier than others. Leatherback dragons can result from a dominant or recessive trait.


When you breed a dominant and recessive leatherback dragon microscale dragons occur . These dragons have very few spikes compared to leatherbacks, and the spikes they have are extremely small. Since scales completely cover these dragons, they and not significantly hindered with proper care.


Silkback dragons are the result of a leatherback mutation inherited from both parents, which results in a complete lack of scales as well as spikes. The resulting skin is thin and easily damaged. The skin also shows color perfectly, resulting in a stunning appearance which keeps some breeders producing Silkbacks despite their difficult health. Silkbacks require special care with bathing to help them shed. They are much more likely to lose a toe or the tip of their tail when shedding. Always house Silkbacks alone, since another dragon’s casual scrape of the nail could cause serious damage.

To avoid breeding a silk back, always breed a leatherback with a bearded dragon that does not have leatherback traits. Have fun with color, just stay away from scale mutations.

Beware when Buying Online

Most pet stores only carry the wild color morph or a few of the more common color morphs like yellows and reds. If you want a rare color morph or scale pattern, you will likely consider buying your new pet online. Most breeders of dragons are responsible and advertise their dragons honestly. That said, be aware that there are lots of tricks to make a dragon look as good as possible in a picture. You don’t want to get your new dragon home only to find that it isn’t what you expected. Be cautious of dragons pictured on white backgrounds, since these pictures are easy to alter to increase saturation. Make sure to ask for pictures of the dragon under standard UVA/UVB light so that you can see how the dragon will really look in your tank.