Pokémon breeding guide
Since the second generation of Pokémon games, Pokémon have been able to
reproduce to create new Pokémon. Pokémon can learn new moves through breeding, and furthermore some Pokémon are only obtainable with this method.
Breeding occurs at the Pokémon Daycare. If two compatible Pokémon are left with the daycare lady, they will produce an egg. (The games are purposely vague about how this happens.) Pokémon are compatible for breeding if:
- They are not legendary Pokémon, baby Pokémon, Unown, Nidorina or Nidoqueen.
- They are of opposite genders.
- They are in the same egg group (see right).
A Pokémon meeting the first criteria can also breed with Ditto. Genderless Pokémon can only breed with Ditto.
Once you take the egg and walk around with it for a while, it will hatch into a level 1 Pokémon (or level 5 in Generations 2-3). The Pokémon that hatches will be the same species as the female, but at the bottom of the evolutionary chain. For example, breeding a female Blastoise with a compatible Pokémon would generate a Squirtle egg. In the case of Ditto, the Pokémon egg will always be the non-Ditto Pokémon - so if you breed Ditto with a male Charizard, the egg would be a Charmander.
Breeding a Nidoran♀ (the female variant) with any compatible Pokémon (say, a Golduck) can produce either Nidoran♀ or Nidoran♂ (the male variant), even though they are technically different evolutionary lines.
The same goes for male-female counterparts, Illumise (female) and Volbeat (male) - breeding Illumise will give you either an Illumise or Volbeat egg. Note that in both these cases breeding the male variant with Ditto will always give you the male variant, never the female.
Some Pokémon also produce variable eggs, based on the item held by the parent. When a particular Incense is held, the offspring will be a baby Pokémon, otherwise it will be the next stage up in the evolutionary line. For example, breeding a female Roserade will produce a Roselia egg, but if the Roserade is holding a Rose Incense, it will produce a Budew egg. See below for the baby Pokémon and items.
The Pokémon Manaphy and Phione are listed in the Water 1 and Fairy egg groups, however they cannot breed with others in that group, only with Ditto. For each of them the result is a Phione egg (but Phione does not evolve into Manaphy).
Passing down moves
The main purpose of breeding is usually to obtain a Pokémon that knows certain moves. If the male Pokémon knows moves that the baby Pokémon is capable of learning, it will know them when it hatches from the egg. This is a good way to
reuse TMs that you taught a Pokémon and cannot re-obtain in another way like buying.
The baby will know any move that it learns at level 1. If both parents know a move that the child would learn by level up, the child will also know it upon hatching.
Furthermore, there are some moves Pokémon can only learn by breeding - these are called egg moves, and are listed in our Pokédex alongside the other moves. In most cases, a Pokémon in the same egg group learns the move by level up and can pass it on by breeding, but sometimes you need to
chain breed from one Pokémon to another to another.
If there are too many candidate moves that the baby can learn, they follow this precedent, with each new move overwriting previous ones:
- Level 1 moves.
- Moves that the child learns by level up, if both parents have them.
- Any compatible TMs, HMs and move tutor moves known by the father.
- Any egg moves known by the father.
Passing down IV stats
From Generation 3 (Ruby/Sapphire) onward, Pokémon offspring will also inherit some of the Individual Values from the parents. (IVs are hidden values that improve your final stats.)
The baby will inherit three stats from either parent. So if you were breeding a male Infernape and female Ninetales, the resulting Vulpix could inherit the HP and Defense IVs from Infernape and the Speed IV from Ninetails.
The IVs chosen are random and in the case of the same one being selected twice, the former would be overwritten with the latter. For example, if the game chose Ninetails' HP and Attack, then Infernape's Attack, then the baby would only inherit two IVs - the HP from Ninetails and Attack from Infernape.
In HeartGold/SoulSilver, a new mechanic was added to control this. If either parent is holding one of the EV-training 'power' items then the child will inherit the corresponding IV. The other two stats are then chosen at random as normal. The power items are:
- Power Weight (HP)
- Power Bracer (Attack)
- Power Belt (Defense)
- Power Lens (Sp. Attack)
- Power Band (Sp. Defense)
- Power Anklet (Speed)
So holding the Power Belt means the baby will inherit the Pokémon's Defense IV. If both parents hold a power item then one of the two stats is chosen at random.
Some Pokémon may only be obtained by breeding - these are known as
baby Pokémon. Many baby Pokémon can be obtained in the wild in later games. Several baby Pokémon also require an item to be held by the parent.
Egg group connections
The table below shows how each of the egg groups are interconnected. It gives an idea of how easy it is for a Pokémon to learn a move from another Pokémon (e.g. special moves or an expensive move tutor move). We used to have a graph but there are now too many connections to make it readable.
|Egg Group||Connected to|
|Amorphous||Fairy, Grass, Mineral, Water 1|
|Bug||Fairy, Grass, Human-Like, Mineral, Water 1, Water 3|
|Dragon||Field, Flying, Monster, Water 1, Water 2|
|Fairy||Amorphous, Bug, Field, Flying, Grass, Mineral, Water 1|
|Field||Dragon, Fairy, Flying, Grass, Human-Like, Monster, Water 1, Water 2|
|Flying||Dragon, Fairy, Field, Water 1, Water 3|
|Grass||Amorphous, Bug, Fairy, Field, Human-Like, Mineral, Monster, Water 1|
|Human-Like||Bug, Field, Grass|
|Mineral||Amorphous, Bug, Fairy, Grass|
|Monster||Dragon, Field, Grass, Water 1|
|Water 1||Amorphous, Bug, Dragon, Fairy, Field, Flying, Grass, Monster, Water 2, Water 3|
|Water 2||Dragon, Field, Water 1|
|Water 3||Bug, Flying, Water 1|
Example: Let's say you have a Pokémon in the Fairy egg group with a move you want to breed onto a Pokémon from the Dragon egg group. There are no Pokémon in both groups so you'd need to find in intermediate group. Looking at the rows for both Fairy and Dragon below you'll see that the groups Field, Flying and Water 1 connect to both. So you'd need to breed the move onto a Pokémon like Pikachu (Fairy/Field groups) then onto a Pokémon like Arbok (Field/Dragon groups).
Each Pokémon is assigned to one or more egg groups, and only Pokémon in the same egg groups may breed.
Here are some examples to make things clearer!
1. Basic breeding
If we have a female Raichu and we want to get a new one, we can breed it to get Pichu. First we need to find a compatible Pokémon. A Pikachu/Raichu of the opposite gender will always work, otherwise we need to look for other Pokémon in the same egg group.
2. Breeding with Ditto
3. Charizard with Dig & Iron Tail
Charizard, like many other Pokémon, can learn the move Dig via TM28. But if you already used the TM then you may be able to breed it onto a Charmander.
When we breed these two Pokémon, the resulting Charmander will know Dig and Iron Tail, since it can learn both those moves by TM (even though Iron Tail was not actually taught by TM). Depending on what other moves the parents know these two moves may overwrite other basic moves like Growl or Scratch.
4. Drapion with Night Slash
Skorupi/Drapion learn Night Slash through breeding. There is no TM for it, so we will need to breed with a compatible Pokémon that knows the move. Drapion is in the Bug and Water 3 egg groups, so we look there for any Pokémon that can learn Night Slash.
So now we just breed a male Scyther knowing the move, with a female Drapion to get a Skorupi that knows Night Slash!
5. Using Smeargle
In example 3 we taught Dig to a male Aggron. If we had taught it to a female Aggron there would normally be no way to pass the move down through breeding. Enter our good friend, Smeargle.
Smeargle is unique in that it only learns one move directly - Sketch - which permanently copies the previous move used in battle. With a male Smeargle we can copy Dig from our Aggron, then breed Smeargle with a female Pokémon to pass the move down.
You can copy any move from any Pokémon (e.g. wild Pokémon), but for more reliable results, you will want to enter a double battle with Smeargle and your own Pokémon with the move you want to copy. There are plenty of double battle trainers around the game, you can use the Vs. Seeker to call for a rematch. Then simply use Sketch on your companion and voila! You will have your move ready to breed onto any Pokémon.
Smeargle is in the Field egg group, so it can breed with a large number of Pokémon. This also means all Pokémon in the Field group can learn egg moves without chain breeding (see below).
6. Chain breeding
This can get quite complex, but we'll provide a straightforward example. Sometimes a Pokémon can learn an egg move, but there are no compatible Pokémon that get it easily. This is the case with Umbreon and Wish - Umbreon can learn Wish through breeding, but no compatible Pokémon learn it by level up.
Umbreon is in the Field egg group, so we look there. The other
Eevee-lutions can learn Wish via breeding (which doesn't help us much), but so too can the Pikachu/Raichu line. Since they straddle two egg groups we can now look in the Fairy group for compatible Pokémon, where we find Togetic, learning Wish at level 28.
This means we can chain breed Wish from Togetic to Pikachu, then from Pikachu to Umbreon. Here is the process:
- Find a male Togetic (or Togepi) and train it to level 28 where it learns Wish.
- Breed Togetic with a female Pikachu/Raichu to obtain a baby Pichu that knows Wish.
- We need a male Pichu to pass the move to Umbreon, so now we'd keep breeding until we have a male Pichu. It's 50/50 so should only take a few eggs to get one.
- Pichu can't breed, so we need to level up a bit and keep it happy so that it evolves into Pikachu.
- Breed our male Wish Pikachu with a female Umbreon to get an Eevee knowing Wish.
- Now we need to level up and evolve into Umbreon. Of course, we could evolve Eevee into any of the evolutions (Glaceon, Leafeon, etc) if we changed our mind.
Whew! We finally got there! This can be a long process but if you want the perfect moveset, sometimes it's the only way. Note: we did neglect Smeargle in this example. If you have one then you could sketch Wish from Togetic and breed straight onto Umbreon; It cuts out the hassle of breeding and evolving Pichu but it's still the same number of Pokémon.