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Breeding

Since Generation 2, breeding Pokémon has become a vital part of the Pokémon franchise as it allows the acquisition of many otherwise unobtainable Pokémon. These unobtainable Pokémon often come in the form of so-called Baby Pokémon or Pokémon that do not have their base form catchable in the wild. Therefore, breeding is the player's only option of obtaining these specific Pokémon. Furthermore, breeding Pokémon offers the opportunity to pass down specific moves, Abilities, or Natures to their children, allowing players to raise powerful Pokémon for competitive play. Additionally, it aids Pokémmaniacs in their quest to obtain their favorite Shiny Pokémon.

The basics

So, how does one go about breeding Pokémon? Beginning in Generation 2, leaving two compatible Pokémon in either the Pokémon Day Care or the Pokémon Nursery will potentially result in them breeding.

If your Pokémon are compatible to any degree (more about that later on), every 256 steps you take can generate an Egg. When an Egg is produced, your game will usually inform you through the Day Care calling and state that you should return as they found something peculiar. After this happens, return to either the Pokémon Day Care or Pokémon Nursery to retrieve your Egg.

Now, if you want to start breeding your own Pokémon and need help finding either the Pokémon Day Care or the Pokémon Nursery, check out the table below:

Generation Region Facility Location
3 Kanto Pokémon Day Care Four Island
2 and 4 Johto Pokémon Day Care Route 34
3 and 6 Hoenn Pokémon Day Care Route 117 and Battle Resort
4 Sinnoh Pokémon Day Care Solaceon City
5 Unova Pokémon Day Care Route 3
6 Kalos Pokémon Day Care Route 7
7 Alola Pokémon Day Care Paniola Ranch
8 Galar Pokémon Nursery Route 5 and Bridge Field

Since we have gotten the necessary procedure explained and out of the way, let us get into the nitty-gritty ínformation about breeding Pokémon. The compatibility between your Pokémon mentioned above gets determined by several factors. The most important one is a shared Egg Group. Every Pokémon belonging to the same Egg Group can interbreed with every other member of its group. Pokémon of differing Egg Groups are virtually unable to breed. Furthermore, Pokémon need to be of the opposite gender to reproduce with one another. Lastly, this compatibility can be manipulated by specific variables, such as differing Pokémon species and Trainer IDs. This compatibility manipulation gets explained in the 'Breeding ratios' paragraph.

However, there is an exception to this. This exception is called Ditto. Ditto is a Pokémon that is capable of breeding with almost every other Pokémon regardless of its gender. This ability allows Pokémon that are either exclusively male or exclusively female to reproduce. More astoundingly, it provides a possibility for many genderless Pokémon to breed.

More information about this compatibility follows in the next section showcasing interbreeding potential.

Compatible Egg Groups

As stated in the prior section, Pokémon need to be compatible in order to reproduce. Therefore, you need to know which Pokémon belongs to which Egg Group as only members of the same Egg Group may breed with one another, except Ditto. Ditto can breed with almost every other Pokémon.

But Egg Groups offer far more than just an indication which Pokémon are compatible. For example, through their many interconnections, they offer great potential for move inheritance between different Egg Groups. That way, Pokémon can gain access to moves they cannot learn on their own. As one might expect, this extension of a Pokémon's move set increases its potential tremendously. More information regarding move inheritance gets listed in its subsection down below.

The table below showcases how the 15 Egg Groups are interconnected. Clicking on an Egg Group's name will open up an overview showcasing every Pokémon belonging to that Egg Group.

Egg Group Connected to the following Egg Groups
Amorphous Dragon, Fairy, Grass, Human-Like, Mineral, Water 1
Bug Dragon, Fairy, Grass, Human-Like, Mineral, Water 1, Water 3
Dragon Amorphous, Bug, Field, Flying, Grass, Mineral, Monster, Water 1, Water 2
Fairy Amorphous, Bug, Field, Flying, Grass, Human-Like, Mineral, Water 1
Field Dragon, Fairy, Flying, Grass, Human-Like, Mineral, Monster, Water 1, Water 2
Flying Dragon, Fairy, Field, Human-Like, Water 1, Water 3
Grass Amorphous, Bug, Dragon, Fairy, Field, Human-Like, Mineral, Monster, Water 1
Human-Like Amorphous, Bug, Fairy, Field, Flying, Grass, Water 1
Mineral Amorphous, Bug, Dragon, Fairy, Field, Grass, Monster
Monster Dragon, Field, Grass, Mineral, Water 1
Water 1 Amorphous, Bug, Dragon, Fairy, Field, Flying, Grass, Human-Like, Monster, Water 2, Water 3
Water 2 Dragon, Field, Water 1
Water 3 Bug, Flying, Water 1
Ditto None, but breedable with almost every other Pokémon.
Undiscovered None

Breeding ratios

To become a knowledgable Pokémon breeder, knowing which Pokémon belongs to which Egg Group is vital. However, it is data that is rarely provided inside the games. Instead, the Pokémon Day Care owner or the Pokémon Nursery will comment on your Pokémon's compatibility. These compatibility comments are based on your Pokemon's species and the same or differing Trainer ID.

To help you understand these comments, we have compiled a table containing generalized quotes used by the game to describe your Pokémon's compatibility. Note, that these statements might vary from game-to-game, but should be recognizable using the quotes.

Oval Charm

The Oval Charm is a Key Item introduced in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 and increases the chance of generating an Egg at either the Pokémon Day Care or the Pokémon Nursery.

Species Original Trainer (ID-based) Quote Chance for generating an Egg (using the Oval Charm)
Same Different 'The two seem to get along very well!' 70% (88%)
Same Same 'The two seem to get along.' 50% (80%)
Different Different
Different Same 'The two don't really seem to like each other very much.' 20% (40%)
Both are Ditto Does not matter 'The two prefer to play with other Pokémon more than with each other.' 0% (0%)
Incompatible Egg Groups
Same-gender
Undiscovered Egg Group

Hatching

So, let us assume that you successfully bred your Pokémon and received an Egg from either the Pokémon Day Care or the Pokémon Nursery. How does one go about hatching the Egg?

Hatching an Egg is pretty simple as it revolves around so-called Egg Cycles corresponding to taken steps. Currently, one Egg Cycle corresponds to 257 in-game steps (Generation 5 - 8). However, in Generation 4, it took 255 steps to complete an Egg Cycle. And in Generation 2 and 3, it took 256 to complete said Egg Cycle. Moreover, these Egg Cycles can differ significantly from Pokémon to Pokémon, and many rare Pokémon have considerably higher Egg Cycle numbers than Pokémon frequently encounterable.

However, there are several ways to speed up the hatching process of a Pokémon Egg. The most apparent speed-up is riding a bike as it lowers the required time it takes to complete an Egg Cycle. Furthermore, various Pokémon can aid you in hatching your Eggs faster. For this to work, one of these Pokémon inside your party need to possess either the Flame Body, Magma Armor, or Steam Engine Ability. If present, those Abilities will reduce the Egg's Egg Cycle count by two upon its completion. Lastly, in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, a Secret Pal inside your Secret Base can use the skill 'Take care of an Egg' to reduce an Egg's Egg Cycle count by half of its base Egg Cycles.

Baby Pokémon

With Generation 3, several so-called Baby Pokémon got introduced, creating new evolution-chains for older Pokémon. These newly introduced Pokémon, sometimes referred to as pre-evolutions, could only be obtained through breeding specific Pokémon. Moreover, their parents often required to hold particular items called Incenses to produce the right offsprings. However, while many Baby Pokémon remain gated through breeding, several were made encounterable in the wild throughout the generations.

The following table lists all Baby Pokémon, the required item (if any), and their parent Pokémon.

No. # Baby Pokémon's Name Method Possible Pokémon to breed
172 Pichu None Pikachu
Raichu
173 Cleffa None Clefairy
Clefable
174 Igglybuff None Jigglypuff
Wigglytuff
236 Tyrogue None Hitmonlee
Hitmonchan
Hitmontop
238 Smoochum None Jynx
239 Elekid None Electabuzz
Electivire
240 Magby None Magmar
Magmortar
298 Azurill Sea Incense Marill
Azumarill
360 Wynaut Lax Incense Wobbuffet
406 Budew Rose Incense Roselia
Roserade
433 Chingling Pure Incense Chimecho
438 Bonsly Rock Incense Sudowoodo
439 Mime Jr. Odd Incense Mr. Mime
Mr. Rime
440 Happiny Luck Incense Chansey
Blissey
446 Munchlax Full Incense Snorlax
447 Riolu None Lucario
458 Mantyke Wave Incense Mantine
848 Toxel None Toxtricity

Inheritance

One of the primary reasons for players turning to breed Pokémon is to raise mighty creatures that inherit specific Abilities, moves, Natures, or IVs. These specifically bred Pokémon are usually far more powerful than conventionally trained Pokémon, or Pokémon encountered in the wild, as they have access to specially designed traits they would typically lack. Often, these Pokémon are solely prepared for competitive play and are used in events such as the Pokémon VGC (Video Game Championship).

Inheriting Abilities

Inheriting Abilities is one of the most confusing topics when it comes to inheriting any trait to a Pokémon. Therefore, I will try to break it down as simply as I can:

Since the fifth Generation, every female Pokémon bred with either a male Pokémon or Ditto has a 60% chance in passing down her Ability (or Hidden Ability) on to her offspring. The remaining 40% is split up into 20% each, if the Pokémon species in question has two possible regular Abilities, or remain 40%, if just a singular Ability exists, and uses that as a determinant to choose an available Ability at random.

This explanation means:

  • 60% chance to inherit the mother's 1st, 2nd, or Hidden Ability
  • 20% chance to inherit the 1st Ability (or 40%, if 2nd Ability is non-existent)
  • 20% chance to inherit the 2nd Ability (if existent)

However, since Generation 6, male Pokémon and genderless Pokémon can pass down their Ability (including their Hidden Ability), when bred with Ditto. This chance amounts to 60%. Essentially, it follows the same set of rules, as if a female Pokémon would have bred.

Furthermore, if a newly hatched Pokémon did not inherit its Ability from either parent, it can only get assigned one of its non-Hidden Abilities (as listed above).

Before Generation 5, Abilities could not be inherited through breeding. Therefore, a newly hatched Pokémon would get assigned one of its possible Abilities at random.

Inheriting moves

Inheriting moves is one of the main applications of Pokémon breeding. It allows a hatched Pokémon to learn several attacks that are unknown to it and to which the Pokémon might not have had access until later, or sometimes never.

So when a Pokémon hatches, it is first of all given access to every attacking move that it would have learned at level 1 (in Generation 2 and 3, a Pokémon hatched at Level 5, so it was given access to all attacks up to level 5). It also receives attacks that both parents already know about and are learned through leveling up by that evolutionary line. Furthermore, if the father, or starting with Generation 6, the mother as well, knows about an Egg Move, this too is passed on to the child. Additionally, if one of the parents carries an item that inherits an attack, the child learns this attack at birth. Finally, between Generation 2 and 5, if a Pokémon knows a TM or HM move, the offspring will also learn the move in question. However, with the release of the sixth Generation, this TM/HM inheritance has been removed from the game.

Should the offspring inherit more than four possible attacks from the previously listed inheritance types, these attacks will be inherited in the following order:

  • Moves learned through a held item
  • Egg Move known to the mother (Gen 6+)
  • Egg Move known to the father
  • TM/HM moves
  • Moves that are known by the parents and learned through level-up
  • An offspring's default move set (learned at level 1)

Note that from Generation 6 onward, a Move Reminder got implemented that allowed bred Pokémon to relearn moves they inherited but have forgotten.

Inheriting Natures

Pokémon Natures are a vital part of competitive play as they both raise and lower specific stats by 10%. Therefore, having control over such an essential component in your Pokémon's potential is a huge deal. Usually, a Pokémon's Nature gets chosen at random from a pool of 25 Natures but letting one of your Pokémon hold an Everstone item will guarantee that its Nature gets passed down.

Before Generation 5 (Black 2 and White 2 specifically), a Pokémon holding an Everstone item only had a 50% chance of passing down its Nature.

Inheriting Poké Balls

Inheriting Poké Balls is a rather young concept to the Pokémon franchise as it only got manipulable in the sixth Generation of Pokémon (X and Y to be specific). Before the sixth Generation, all bred Pokémon would come in a standardized Poké Ball.

As stated, all this got changed with the introduction of the sixth Generation. Here, a female Pokémon would always pass down her Poké Ball to her offspring. This fact means that you, as a player, have decent control over the inheritance of your favorite Poké Ball. However, since certain species of Pokémon are either exclusively male or genderless, some cannot be bred to pass down your favorite Poké Ball. The same rule applies to a male Pokémon that gets paired with Ditto. The offspring will not receive Ditto's Poké Ball.

This restraint, however, was lifted when Generation 7 came around. Form here on out, the offspring would have a 50% chance of inheriting the father's or mother's Poké Ball. The same rule applies to pairings in which Ditto takes part.

Nevertheless, there is an exception to the inheritance of Poké Balls. The Master Ball (the 100% catch rate ball) and the Cherish Ball (the ball event Pokémon often come in) are not inheritable to their offspring regardless of the taken measures. Instead, the young will hatch in a standard Poké Ball.

Inheriting IV stats

Passing down IVs (Individual Values) from a parent Pokémon to their offspring can be a big deal as you can rear powerful Pokémon for competitive play. Let me give you a rundown of all the relevant information regarding IV inheritance:

Without using any items or other means, a bred Pokémon will always inherit 3 IVs randomly chosen from its parents. However, over the generations, several new ways have been introduced that influence the inheritance of IVs. The most noteworthy additions that let you control the IV inheritance are

  • the Destiny Knot, which allows an offspring to inherit 5 IVs, instead of the usual 3; and
  • the Power items, which force a specific IV stat to be inherited by the child.

The following paragraphs illustrate changes and additions to the IV inheritance system throughout the generations of Pokémon games.

Generation 6

From Generation 6 onward (Pokémon X and Y to be specific), if at least one parent Pokémon holds a Destiny Knot, the offspring will inherit 5 of the possible 6 IVs, instead of just the regular 3. If this gets paired with one of the Power items introduced in Generation 4, you have pretty much full control over which favorable IVs get passed down.

Generation 4

During the fourth Generation of Pokémon, the IV inheritance has been all over the place as the whole system got revamped mid-generation. Let me explain:

Pokémon Diamond and Pearl followed the same method to determine a Pokémon's IV inheritance that was used in Pokémon Emerald.

From Pokémon Platinum onward, the offspring will always inherit three IVs at random (each from a different stat and a random parent).

From HeartGold and SoulSilver onward, if a parent holds a Power item during the breeding process, it will always pass down the IV correlating to the item's stat, and two additional stats at random from either parent. Furthermore, if both parents hold differing Power items, the two corresponding IV stats will be passed down, and another IV will be chosen at random. A table showcasing the six existing Power items and their effects can be found below:

Icon Item Name Stat Effect
power weight item sprite pokémon Power Weight HP When held, guarantees the inheritance of a Pokémon’s HP IVs.
power bracer item sprite pokémon Power Bracer Attack When held, guarantees the inheritance of a Pokémon’s Attack IVs.
power belt item sprite pokémon Power Belt Defense When held, guarantees the inheritance of a Pokémon’s Defense IVs.
power lens item sprite pokémon Power Lens Special Attack When held, guarantees the inheritance of a Pokémon’s Special Attack IVs.
power band item sprite pokémon Power Band Special Defense When held, guarantees the inheritance of a Pokémon’s Special Defense IVs.
power anklet item sprite pokémon Power Anklet Speed When held, guarantees the inheritance of a Pokémon’s Speed IVs.

Generation 3

In Generation 3, many systems were overhauled entirely - including breeding.

The new system would pass down exactly three IVs to the offspring, chosen randomly from either parent. However, Pokémon Emerald complicated this inheritance procedure a bit. Take note:

  1. A random IV (Attack, Defense, Special, or Speed) is selected from the mother or the father and passed down to the offspring.
  2. A random IV (Attack, Defense, Special, or Speed) is selected from the mother or the father and passed down to the offspring. If the newly inherited stat IV correlates to the first IV's stat, it will override it.
  3. Lastly, a random IV (Attack, Special, or Speed) except Defense is selected from the mother or the father and passed down to the offspring. This IV will override any previously passed IVs when necessary.

The remaining IVs will be generated at random.

Generation 2

In Generation 2, a Pokémon's offspring inherits the IVs of the opposite gendered parent. That means that a female child will always inherit her father's IVs, while a male child will inherit the IVs of his mother; Unless, Ditto was a part of the paring. In this case, Ditto will always pass down its IVs to the offspring.

On the technical side of passing down IVs:

  • The Defense IV gets passed down from either the father or the mother (depending on the offspring's gender).
  • There is a 50% chance that either the exact Special IV or the Special IV +-8 gets passed down from either the father or the mother (depending on the offspring's gender).
  • The Attack and Speed IVs always get determined at random.
  • The HP IV gets calculated based on the other 4 IVs (Attack, Defense, Special, and Speed).

However, Generation 2 saw cases in which Pokémon were unable to breed. If you tried to pair Pokémon, which had the same Defense IV and either an equal or differing by 8 Special IV stat, then your Pokémon would be unable to breed as the game considered a high likelihood of family relation.

Shiny breeding

Shiny Pokémon, introduced in Generation 2, are uniquely colored and extremely rare Pokémon that often differ drastically from their typical color palette. These Shiny Pokémon have become a prized collectible for every trainer, and many Pokémaniacs have set out to not only fill up their entire Pokédex but to collect every Pokémon there is in their Shiny variation.

One way of quickly obtaining Shiny Pokémon is by breeding them. Therefore, we compiled a short overview of every Generation, including noteworthy changes, essential items, and chances of producing a Shiny Pokémon.

Additionally, if you want to take just a glance at the Shiny odds, we have compiled a nifty little table showcasing all odds in regards to Shiny breeding throughout the generations. For more details, check the specific Generation.

Gen 2 Gen 3 Gen 4 Gen 5 Gen 6 Gen 7 Gen 8
Base rate 1/8192 1/4096
Receiving a Shiny Pokémon if the offspring is of the opposite gender 1/64
Masuda method 5/8192 6/8192 6/4096
Shiny Charm + 2/8192 + 2/4096

The Masuda method

The 'Masuda method' describes a technique that allows you to increase your odds of breeding a Shiny Pokémon. This increase in chance is achievable through breeding two Pokémon originating from games with two differing languages.

The method was coined after Junichi Masuda, co-founder of Game Freak, who programmed it into the Gen 4 games (Diamond and Pearl).

The Shiny Charm

The Shiny Charm is a Key Item introduced in Generation 5 (Black 2 and White 2 to be specific) and increases the odds of both encountering and hatching a Shiny Pokémon.

Generation 8

In Generation 8, hatching a Shiny Pokémon from an Egg is based on the same calculation introduced in Generation 3 and used in Generation 4, 5, 6, and 7. Furthermore, the newly bred Pokémon has a chance of 1/4.096 to hatch as a Shiny. Therefore, a bred Pokémon almost always has the same chance of being Shiny as any Pokémon encountered in the wild.

The following methods and options can increase your Shiny odds:

  • The 'Masuda method' increases your Shiny odds to 6/4.096 (~ 3/2.048).
  • The Shiny Charm boosts your Shiny odds by + 2/4.096 (~ 1/2.048).
  • Combining the 'Masuda method' and the Shiny Charm amounts to an 8/4.096 (~ 1/512) chance of encountering a Shiny.

Generation 7

In Generation 7, hatching a Shiny Pokémon from an Egg is based on the same calculation introduced in Generation 3 and used in Generation 4, 5, and 6. Furthermore, the newly bred Pokémon has a chance of 1/4.096 to hatch as a Shiny. Therefore, a bred Pokémon almost always has the same chance of being Shiny as any Pokémon encountered in the wild.

The following methods and options can increase your Shiny odds:

  • The 'Masuda method' increases your Shiny odds to 6/4.096 (~ 3/2.048).
  • The Shiny Charm boosts your Shiny odds by + 2/4.096 (~ 1/2.048).
  • Combining the 'Masuda method' and the Shiny Charm amounts to an 8/4.096 (~ 1/512) chance of encountering a Shiny.

Generation 6

In Generation 6, hatching a Shiny Pokémon from an Egg is based on the same calculation introduced in Generation 3 and used in Generation 4 and 5. However, the chance of encountering a Shiny Pokémon has been increased and now amounts to 1/4096. Regardless, a bred Pokémon almost always has the same chance of being Shiny as any Pokémon encountered in the wild.

However, the Shiny Charm got a small boost now amounting to + 2/4.096 (~ 1/2.048), instead of + 2/8.192 (~ 1/4.096). When combined with the 'Masuda method', the chance of receiving a Shiny now amounts to 8/4.096 (~ 1/512), instead of having a possibility of 8/8.192 (~ 1/1024).

Generation 5

In Generation 5, hatching a Shiny Pokémon from an Egg is based on the same calculation introduced in Generation 3 and used in Generation 4. It still has a chance of 1/8.192 to be Shiny. Therefore, a bred Pokémon almost always has the same chance of being Shiny as any Pokémon encountered in the wild.

Additionally, starting in Generation 5, the 'Masuda method' that was introduced in Gen 4 now had its success rate increased from 5/8.192 (~ 1/1.639) to 6/8.192 (~ 1/1.366). This increase meant that obtaining a Pokémon from a different languages' cartridge would tremendously aid a collector in breeding Shinies.

Moreover, Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 saw the Shiny Charm's introduction, which increased the player's odds of encountering or hatching a Shiny Pokémon by 2/8.192 (~ 1/4.096). This increase means that the odds of hatching a regular bred Pokémon as a Shiny now are 3/8.192 (~ 1/2.731), or 8/8.192 (~ 1/1.024) combining it with the 'Masuda method.'

Generation 4

In Generation 4, hatching a Shiny Pokémon from an Egg is based on the same calculation introduced in Generation 3. Its odds of being Shiny are still 1/8.192. Therefore, a bred Pokémon almost always has an equal chance of being Shiny as any Pokémon encountered in the wild.

Furthermore, a new mechanic got introduced to the games called the 'Masuda method,'' named after Junichi Masuda, one of the founding members of Game Freak. It increases the likelihood of hatching a Shiny Pokémon to a 5 in 8.192 (~ 1/1.639) if the parents originate from different languages.

Generation 3

In Generation 3, many systems were overhauled, including the mathematical determination of a Pokémon’s shininess. From here on out, the shininess gets determined by involving the Original Trainer’s ID number, a secret ID number, and a Pokémon’s personality value. The formula to determine said shininess is as follows:

(TrainerID XOR SecretID) XOR (PersonalityValue31..16 XOR PersonalityValue15..0)

The cryptic formula above can result in a value ranging from 0 to 65.535. If the result is less than 8, the encountered or hatched Pokémon is a Shiny Pokémon (this occurrence has a chance of 8/65.536 or 1/8.192). Therefore, a bred Pokémon always has the same chance of being Shiny as any Pokémon encountered in the wild.

Generation 2

In Generation 2, the Shininess of a Pokémon gets determined by its IVs (Individual Values). If a Pokémon’s Defense, Special, and Speed IVs are all 10, and its Attack IV is either a 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, or 15, it will be Shiny.

Due to this IV based determination and the fact that IVs get passed down through breeding, it is very likely for an Egg bred from a Shiny Pokémon to contain a Shiny itself, but only if the offspring is of the opposite gender as the Shiny’s parent. The likelihood of this occurrence is about 1 in 64.

Note, that this method of Shiny breeding is not possible in subsequent generations, as a Pokémon’s shininess is not tied to its IVs anymore.