Basic Breeding Guide

Basic Breeding Guide

This guide is geared toward the 6th generation of Pokémon games, but can be applied to previous generations as well.

Introduction

Welcome to a guide that explains the basic fundamentals of breeding! If you are unfamiliar with breeding and want to learn, or just need some clarification on how everything works, you've come to the right place. (If you're looking for a guide on the more complex aspects of breeding, such as IV breeding or using the Masuda Method, visit our Advanced Breeding Guide instead.)

Requirements

Before being able to breed in your game, you must have reached a Day Care that holds two Pokémon at once. These are located in the following places.

  • Kanto: Breeding was not yet a mechanic in the first generation games. In the Kanto remakes, FireRed and LeafGreen, a Day Care for breeding is located on Four Island, which is only accessible after entering the Hall of Fame.
  • Johto: Route 34, just before Goldenrod City.
  • Hoenn: Route 117, to the east of Mauville City. In Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, there is a second Day Care for breeding located in the Battle Resort, which is accessible after entering the Hall of Fame and completing the Delta Episode.
  • Sinnoh: Solaceon Town.
  • Unova: Route 3, above Striaton City. In Black and White, this is reached very early on, but in their sequels, you must have entered the Hall of Fame to get there.
  • Kalos: Route 7, west of Camphrier Town.

How it Works

After putting two Pokémon in a Day Care, they may produce an egg, which will eventually hatch into a new Pokémon (their offspring). However, not all Pokémon are compatible with each other – in order to produce an egg, the two Pokémon must:

  • Be opposite genders ( and ).
  • Be in the same Egg Group.
  • Not be in the "Undiscovered" Egg Group.

Egg Group??

Yes, there are several "Egg Groups" that divide all Pokémon based on who they are able to breed with. They are typically based on body shape and/or environment. Pokémon in the same evolution line are almost always in the same Egg Group(s). Here is a list of all Egg Groups and examples for each. 

Egg Group

Description

Examples

Field The most populated Egg Group, Field usually consists of Pokémon based on mammals or other animals that live in fields or underground.
Monster The Pokémon in this Egg Group tend to be intimidating and/or fierce in nature. Oh my!
Human-Like Pokémon that stand on two legs and share many features with humans tend to be in this group.
Fairy A group mostly containing small and adorable Pokémon! Many members of this group are Fairy-type.
Bug Many Bug-types, and other Pokémon that are insect-like in appearance, belong to this group.
Flying Almost all Pokémon in this group have wings, and most of them are Flying-type.
Grass Every Pokémon in this group is Grass-type and plant-like.
Water 1 This Egg Group consists mostly of Water-type Pokémon that are amphibious (also comfortable on land). Most Pokémon in this group are also in a different group.  
Water 2 Unlike Water 1, Pokémon in Water 2 tend to be purely aquatic, dwelling underwater (usually fish-like in appearance).
Water 3 Essentially the "miscellaneous" Water group. It mostly contains invertebrates, and other aquatic Pokémon that don't fit as well with the other Water groups.
Dragon The Dragon Egg Group contains Pokémon who are dragon-like, or reptilian, in appearance.
Mineral For the inorganic, the Mineral Egg Group mostly contains Pokémon that are made out of a hard material, such as rock, steel, or ice.
Amorphous A mysterious group with many Pokémon who don't have such solid bodies, and are instead blobby, squishy, or ghosty.  
Ditto Ditto is special, because it cannot breed with other Ditto, but it can breed with every other Pokémon, aside from those in the Undiscovered Egg Group. Regardless of its partner's gender (male, female, or even genderless), it can reproduce, and the egg will be the basic stage of the other Pokémon.  
Undiscovered For the Pokémon that just cannot breed with anything, no matter what. This mostly includes Legendary and Baby Pokémon.


If you are unsure what Egg Group a specific Pokémon is in, you can search for it in our Pokédex.

Who exactly can't breed?

Any Pokémon in the Undiscovered Egg Group simply cannot breed no matter what. Specifically, this means:

  • ALL Pokémon with a Legendary status (ie Mewtwo, Celebi, Articuno, Darkrai, etc.), including those with genders (ie Latias, Cresselia, Heatran, etc.). The only exceptions are Manaphy and Phione, who can breed with Ditto to produce a Phione egg.
  • Unown. Although Unown is not technically a Legendary, it cannot breed.
  • ALL "baby" Pokémon. These are Pichu, Cleffa, Igglybuff, Togepi, Tyrogue, Smoochum, Elekid, Magby, Azurill, Wynaut, Budew, Chingling, Bonsly, Mime Jr., Happiny, Munchlax, Riolu, and Mantyke.
  • Nidorina and Nidoqueen. Although Nidoran♀ (and all of their male counterparts) are able to breed, Nidorina and Nidoqueen strangely cannot.
  • Cosplay Pikachu.

What will an egg contain?

When breeding two compatible Pokémon, their egg will always hatch into the first stage of the female species (some exceptions, which are explained later), at level 1 (level 5 before Generation IV). In the case of Ditto, the egg will hatch into the first stage of its partner, regardless of gender.

As an example, let's look at some compatible Pokémon pairs, and what they will produce.

+ =

Breeding the same species (of opposite genders) will result in the first stage of their evolution line.

+=

Breeding two Pokémon in the same evolution line (of opposite genders) will result in the first stage of their evolution line.

+ =

Butterfree and Mothim share an Egg Group, so they are able to breed. In this case, because Butterfree is the female, the egg will contain Butterfree's first stage, Caterpie.

+=

Because Staryu is genderless, it can only breed with Ditto. Pairing it with a Ditto results in a Staryu egg, because Staryu is the first stage in its evolution line.

+=

Even though this Charizard is male, breeding it with a Ditto will result in an egg containing Charizard's first stage, Charmander. Breeding any Pokémon (other than another Ditto or anyone in the Undiscovered Egg Group) with a Ditto will always result in an egg based on Ditto's partner.

+ =

But wait, breeding two Azumarill results in a Marill egg rather than an Azurill egg, despite Azurill being the first stage in their evolution line. Why is this?

Incense

In the case of many baby Pokémon, the parent of their evolution line must be holding a certain Incense item to produce an egg containing the baby Pokémon rather than the next stage up. Here are the instances where this is the case:

Baby Pokémon

Incense needed

Sea Incense
Lax Incense
Rose Incense
Pure Incense
Rock Incense
Odd Incense
Luck Incense
Wave Incense
Full Incense

 

Other Oddities

The other exceptions to the rule are as follows.

+ =or

+=or

Breeding Nidoran♀ with any compatible Pokémon, or Nidoran♂ with a Ditto, can result in an egg containing either gender of Nidoran, despite them technically being different species. Remember that Nidorina and Nidoqueen cannot breed whatsoever.

+ =or

=or

Likewise, breeding Illumise with any compatible Pokémon, or Volbeat with a Ditto, can result in an egg containing either Illumise or Volbeat.

+=

+=

Breeding a Manaphy or Phione with a Ditto will result in a Phione egg. This is the only instance in which any Legendary is able to breed at all. (And, despite Manaphy being able to create a Phione egg, Phione does not evolve into Manaphy.)

Moves

The moves an offspring will know can also be dependent on parents. By default, the baby will know any moves it learns at level 1 (or by level 5 before Generation IV). However, parents can also pass down certain moves, which take priority over the default level-up moves. If the baby can have more than 4 moves total, the priority is as listed:

Priority

Type of Move

 ↑ Higher
  • Volt Tackle
    (passed down to Pichu offspring if Pikachu or Raichu parent is holding a Light Ball)
 
  • Female parent's Egg Moves
    (possible in Generation VI only)
 
  • Male parent's Egg Moves
 
  • TM/HM moves known by male parent that the baby can learn
    (prior to Generation VI)
↓ Lower 
  • Level-up moves known by both parents that the baby can also get via level-up
 
  • Default moves baby learns at level 1
    (level 5 prior to Gen IV)


What are Egg Moves?

Egg Moves are special moves that a Pokémon can pass down through breeding, even if it's not a normal level-up move, TM, etc. Usually, this is the only way for a Pokémon to get these moves. Starting in Generation VI, both the male and female parent can pass these down (before, only the male could do so). I go into more detail about this in the Advanced Breeding Guide.

Obtaining & Hatching Eggs

Once you've got your two compatible Pokémon in the Day Care, it's time to start running around until the Day Care person outside has an egg for you! Sitting still won't do it – eggs producing and hatching all happens after a certain amount of steps.

How fast eggs get produced is dependent on two things:

  • Original Trainer (OT): Pokémon with different OTs tend to produce eggs more quickly.
  • Species: Pokémon of the same species (not just in the same evolution line) tend to produce eggs more quickly.

From Generation III onward, speaking to the Day Care guy outside before an egg is produced will prompt him to let you know how the Pokémon are getting along. To see exactly what the things he says mean, see the table below. (Note: These chances are significantly increased if you have the Oval Charm in Generation V or VI.)

Conditions Met

Day Care Person's Speech

Likelihood of Egg after 256 steps

Same species, Different OT "The two seem to get along very well!"
"Those two seem to get along like a house on fire." / "They really seem to like hanging out!" ORAS
High (70%)
Same species, Same OT
or
Different species, Different OT
"The two seem to get along."
"Those two seem peaceable enough toward each other." / "The two seem to get along all right." ORAS
Moderate (50%)
Different species, Same OT "The two don't really seem to like each other very much."
"But I have to say, those two don't seem to like each other all that much." / "But they don't seem to like each other very much..." ORAS
Low (20%)
Not Compatible "The two prefer to play with other Pokémon more than with each other."
"Those two would really rather play with other Pokémon, though, and not each other." / "Seems they'd rather play with other Pokémon—not so much with each other." ORAS
Will not produce an egg (0%)


When an egg has been produced, the Day Care guy outside will let you know:

  • Gold, Silver, and Crystal: He will leave the house and stand with the Pokémon.
  • Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald: He will step away from the fence.
  • Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum: He will face the road.
  • HeartGold and SoulSilver: He will face left or right (he will also call you on the Pokégear).
  • Black, White, Black 2, and White 2: He will call to you if you ride/walk/run in front of the Day Care. (In Black and White, he won't do this if your party is full.)
  • X and Y: He will face the road.
  • Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: Both the Day Care Man (Route 117) and the Day Care Lad (Battle Resort) face the road.

Hatching

Once you've got your egg, the amount of steps it will take to hatch depends on the species inside. Some Pokémon hatch faster than others. For example, Magikarp has the least amount of steps needed, and most baby Pokémon hatch relatively quickly – but many rare Pokémon, such as Dratini or Larvesta, take much longer to hatch.

This process can be sped up using the following methods:

  • Ride a bike, of course! This is a lot faster than walking or running.
  • Having a Pokémon on your team with the Flame Body or Magma Armor ability cuts the amount of steps needed in half. (This does not apply to games released before Emerald.) This benefit cannot be stacked if you have more than one Pokémon on your team with these abilities.
  • In Generation VI, you can use the Hatching O-Power to temporarily speed up the hatching process. You can level it up to make it more effective (up to level 3) by using it many times (tip: using it on friends/acquaintances requires less power).
    • XY: In order to get the Hatching O-Power, you must have high style, obtain all other O-Powers, and speak to Mr. Bonding in Café Introversion (located in Lumiose City).
    • ORAS: You must defeat the Elite Four and Champion before being able to get the Hatching O-Power. Keep speaking to the odd men in the top right corner of Mauville's Pokémon Center, until the Storyteller exits. Then, visit Apartment 3 in Mauville Hills.

Conclusion

Whew, well that should about cover everything there is to know about the very basics of breeding. It's not too complicated at all once you get the hang of it. Advanced Breeding, on the other hand, can get rather complex – but it allows you to breed the best of the best, which is a must if you plan on battling competitively. If learning about the more advanced aspects of breeding is something that interests you, be sure you've mastered the basics of breeding, and head on over to our Advanced Breeding Guide next.

Note: For those interested in competitive battling, you'll want to make sure you've mastered the concept of EV training as well.

Either way, have fun and happy breeding!

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