Basic Breeding

Before you start...

You don't need to have read any other guides to understand any of this; a basic knowledge of Pokemon in itself is however required. There is a follow-up to this guide, which is much more complex and much more of a learning curve, located here. I will note that you must have rescued the Day-Care Man in Nimbasa City (don't worry, you can't miss it) before you can breed at all (at the Day-Care center which is conveniently located above Striaton City on Route 3). That's it for right now; let's get started! (Playing an older version of Pokemon? Here's where to find the Day-Care in each of the different versions where it is available.)
DPPt: You can find the Day-Care in Solaceon Town.
HGSS (or GSC): You can find the Day-Care on Route 34, south of Goldenrod City.

RSE: You can find the Day-Care on Route 117, west of Mauville City.
FRLG: You can find the Day-Care on Four Island, available after beating the game. The one on Route 5 is for one Pokemon only and is unsuitable for breeding.

A Basic Knowledge of Breeding

Pokemon that are of the same Egg Group or of the same species that are left together at the Day-Care center may produce an egg; if they do, a baby (usually the first stage) Pokemon of the mother's species will proceed to hatch from it. Only a compatible male (Male) and female (Female) Pokemon will produce an egg. Pokemon are considered to be compatible if they share at least one Egg Group with each other. You can find out what Egg Group a Pokemon is in on the Pokemon.Marriland.com Pokedex. A quick warning: for those of you who think that if you just leave your DS on a Pokemon will hatch in due time, you are sadly mistaken. When your Pokemon eggs hatch depends on the steps you take (which you can quickly increase on a bike). Same goes for the time it takes to produce an egg.
Pokemon 1 + Pokemon 2 = Offspring
MarillMale
Male Marill
+ MarillFemale
Female Marill
= Marill
Baby Marill
ScraggyMale
Male Scraggy
+ ScraftyFemale
Female Scrafty
= Scraggy
Baby Scraggy
Why: Even though the mother is a Scrafty, the offspring will always be of the lowest stage of a Pokemon, unless it is special (like Azurill is).
SkittyMale
Male Skitty
+ WailordFemale
Female Wailord
= Wailmer
Baby Wailmer
Why: Odd as it seems, both Skitty and Wailord share the Field Egg Group, meaning they are compatible.
PikachuMale
Male Pikachu
+ PikachuFemale
Female Pikachu
= Pichu
Baby Pichu
Why: Pichu is the lowest in the evolution line (a "baby" Pokemon) and doesn't require incense like Azurill does.

What Breeds With What?

Types of Pokemon that can breed together are classified under Egg Groups. The Egg Groups are as follows:
Egg Group Examples
Monster CharizardTyranitarLickitungTropiusMarshtomp
Typically tougher Pokemon, often times reptilian, hard-scaled, or fierce-looking.
Field TyphlosionLinooneSmeargleWoobatBibarel
Referred to as Ground in Stadium 2. Field Pokemon are very common and typically mammals or other ground-dwelling creatures.
Dragon CharizardSalamenceMagikarpGrovyleMilotic
Almost always either dragon-like or serpent-like. Sometimes reptiles and scaled Pokemon end up here. Not to be confused with Dragon-type.
Fairy ClefairyMarillSkittyPikachuPlusle
Typically very cute, fluffy, and pink in demeanor. Most cutesy Pokemon fall under this group.
Flying PidgeotXatuWoobatTogeticPidove
Usually bird-like or avian Pokemon, but also includes bats and the Togetic family. Not to be confused with Flying-type.
Bug ButterfreeAriadosVibravaDrapionVolbeat
Bugs, insects, or arachnids. Several bug-like Pokemon are included as well. Not to be confused with Bug-type.
Grass VenusaurRoseliaVileplumeSunfloraSerperior
Referred to as Plant in Stadium 2. These are all plant-like, leafy, or flowery Pokemon. Not to be confused with Grass-type.
Water 1 BlastoisePoliwrathGolduckCroconawMasquerain
This watery group consists of mostly amphibious Pokemon capable of walking and swimming, although there are some exceptions.
Water 2 GoldeenRemoraidAlomomolaSharpedoQwilfish
Another watery group, but this one is for Pokemon that are exclusively fish-like or sea-creature-like in appearance.
Water 3 TentacoolCradilyKabutoTirtougaCorphish
The final watery group. This one is for invertibrates and the funkiest of funky ocean dwellers. A few other exceptions are strangely included.
Human-Like MachampLucarioInfernapeLopunnyMagmortar
All Pokemon in this group are bipedal, standing on two legs. They and their evolution lines also generally resemble humans. Referred to as Humanshape in Stadium 2.
Mineral GolemVanillishBronzongSudowoodoGolett
These Pokemon have bodies generally comprised of rock, metal, or some other material.
Amorphous GastlyDrifloonSlugmaReuniclusGastrodon
These Pokemon tend to be inconsistent in form, either because they are ghosts, gas, slime or lava, balloons, or just extra squishy. Referred to as Indeterminate in Stadium 2.
Ditto Ditto
Ditto can breed with any Pokemon of any gender (even genderless) in any group except for No Eggs and with other Ditto. The offspring will be the species of the other Pokemon.
No Eggs ZapdosUnownNidorinaMagbyReshiram
All legendary Pokemon (except Manaphy and Phione) and most all baby stage Pokemon (i.e., Pichu, etc.) are in here, as well as a few others. They cannot produce eggs, no matter how hard they try.

A Pokemon's egg group usually corresponds with it's general shape. For example, Aerodactyl is in the Flying group and Banette is in the Amorphous group. A Pokemon in the Human-Like group (such as Machop) could not breed with a Pokemon in the Pokemon in the Dragon egg group (such as Charizard). However, Pokemon in the same egg group can breed together as long as they are different genders. If you don't know what egg group a Pokemon is, just look at their Pokedex page on the site to find out what group they're in. Some Pokemon are in two egg groups; this merely means that they can breed with both egg groups and vice versa. As a side note, genderless Pokemon (Pokemon that don't have either a Male or Female next to their name) can't breed with anything, even Pokemon of the same species, except for Ditto. Ditto is exceptional in the fact that it can breed with anything besides itself (no matter what gender the other Pokemon is) and Pokemon that can't breed at all — the No Eggs group. This means Ditto is the only way to go for Pokemon like Staryu and Porygon, who do not have genders, but are still in an Egg Group. It is also the only way for male-only Pokemon to create offspring of their species, such as Hitmonchan and Braviary. The No Eggs group consists mostly of legendary Pokemon. These Pokemon may not breed at all, with the exception of Manaphy. There are also a few non-legendary Pokemon that cannot breed at all: Nidorina, Nidoqueen, Pichu, Cleffa, Igglybuff, Togepi, Elekid, Magby, Smoochum, Tyrogue, Wynaut, Azurill, Happiny, Mime Jr., Munchlax, Bonsly, Mantyke, Chingling, Budew, Riolu, and Unown can and will not breed with anything, even another Pokemon of the same species. Never fear, however; these Pokemon gain the ability to breed once they evolve (with the exception of Unown, Nidorina, and Nidoqueen), so don't worry about that. Also, some of these Pokemon can only be obtained by letting their parents hold an incense, as shown by the table below:
Parent Incense
Held
Offspring
Produced
Sudowoodo
Sudowoodo
+ Rock Incense
Rock Incense
= Bonsly
Bonsly
Chimecho
Chimecho
+ Pure Incense
Pure Incense
= Chingling
Chingling
RoseliaRoserade
Roselia or Roserade
+ Rose Incense
Rose Incense
= Budew
Budew
Mr. Mime
Mr. Mime
+ Odd Incense
Odd Incense
= Mime Jr.
Mime Jr.
ChanseyBlissey
Chansey or Blissey
+ Luck Incense
Luck Incense
= Happiny
Happiny
Mantine
Mantine
+ Wave Incense
Wave Incense
= Mantyke
Mantyke
MarillAzumarill
Marill or Azumarill
+ Sea Incense
Sea Incense
= Azurill
Azurill
Snorlax
Snorlax
+ Full Incense
Full Incense
= Munchlax
Munchlax
Wobbuffet
Wobbuffet
+ Lax Incense
Lax Incense
= Wynaut
Wynaut

Hopefully the above table is self-explanatory. If something cannot breed, is not legendary or Ditto, and is not in the above table, then simply breed the parents without an incense and you should get the baby Pokemon (for example, to get Pichu simply breed Pikachu or Raichu).

Manaphy?

Manaphy is the only known legendary to appear in an egg (through Pokemon Ranger Shadows of Almia). You will recieve said egg from a man in a blue uniform in the Pokemart, and like all eggs will hatch at level 1. Manaphy is also unique in the fact it can breed with Ditto (the only one who can) to produce Phione. Phione does not evolve into Manaphy, but it does look similar.

What moves will my Pokemon know?

Almost always, the Pokemon you hatch will be the mother's first evolution form. For example, if you were to breed a female Pansage and a male Panpour, the resulting baby would be a Pansage. You can also pass down moves onto a baby, illustrated by the following list:

Moves that a baby Pokemon will know:

  • Moves that they learn at level 1. (Level 5 in any 2nd or 3rd Generation game.)
  • Moves that the father knows through TMs/HMs and the baby Pokemon can also learn through TM/HM.
    • If the father learned a move by leveling up that is also a TM move, it will still be passed down; basically, any move that is of a TM or HM will be passed down if the father knows it and the offspring can learn it.
  • Moves it learns through leveling up that both parents know.
    • This won't work for a baby Pokemon that evolves and then learns a move, such as Tympole not gaining Drain Punch, something which only Seismitoad can learn. These are usually pretty easy to determine without help of a Pokedex; strong moves that don't quite work with the Pokemon's design usually won't be learned. For instance, can Tympole drain the life out of you with a powerful punch? Obviously not. He doesn't even have arms.
  • Moves that the father knows that the baby could not otherwise know, also known as Egg Moves.
Now let's look at this list. If there is more than four moves that meet at least one of these requirements, some have to be forgotten. The moves that fall under the bullet at the top will be forgotten first, then the second bullet, and so on. Obviously you don't see this process; it occurs when you obtain the egg from the Daycare Man. Let's look at an example: Let's have that Tympole. His parents are a Male Piplup and a Female Seismitoad with the following moves:
  Piplup
Male Piplup
Seismitoad
Female Seismitoad
= Tympole
Baby Tympole
Move 1 Bubblebeam Bubblebeam = Bubblebeam
Move 2 Water Pulse Hyper Voice Water Pulse
Move 3 Scald Hydro Pump Scald
Move 4 Pound Drain Punch Growl

Alright, so the baby Tympole would learn the moves in this order:
  • Level 1 moves: Bubble, Growl
  • Level-up moves both parents know: Bubblebeam
  • Moves the father knows through TM: Scald
  • Egg moves: Water Pulse
So the baby Tympole would know Growl, Bubblebeam, Scald, and Water Pulse, in that order. Bubble is the first learned move, so it is naturally the first forgotten. Complicated? I didn't think so. Egg moves, in a bit more detail, are moves that the baby could not usually learn, obtained when the father is not the same species as the mother and the father knows that move. For instance, Tympole can learn Earth Power when a male Corsola that knows Earth Power breeds with a female Tympole/Palpitoad/Seismitoad. Obviously this only applies to a select group of moves, found in the Pokedex.

How soon will my Pokemon produce an egg?

You may have noticed that the Day-Care Man will give you different statements when asked about your Pokemon in the daycare. Well, those statements do mean something. For example, if the Day-Care Man says, "The two prefer to play with other Pokemon than each other.", then your Pokemon won't breed with each other no matter what. Here are the other statements, and what they mean:
Daycare Man's statement Chance that your Pokemon
produce an egg (per 256 steps)
"The two seem to get along very well." 70%
"The two seem to get along." 50%
"The two don't seem to like each other." 20%

Now that we've established that you should probably know what decides the Day-Care Man's statement.
  • 70% – Same species of Pokemon, but different ID numbers.
  • 50% – Same species of Pokemon, and same ID numbers. Or, different species and different ID numbers.
  • 20% – Different species of Pokemon, but same ID numbers.
This isn't overly complicated. Pretty straightforward, actually. You should probably refer back to this table when breeding to know how soon to expect an egg.

Natures

Natures are found on your Pokemon's stat page, depending on which game you're playing, usually called Pokemon Info (Status should be displayed in the upper-right bar if you're playing Black/White if you're on the right page). Natures can really just be explained as a Pokemon's personality, such as Rash, Bashful, Naive, etc. However, Natures have a rather significant effect on your stats. Depending on which Nature you have, one stat is raised by 10% and another is decreased by 10% (HP is not affected). This can be a major difference if your Pokemon is level 100 and has stats in the 300's, raising it a good deal. Here's a list of natures and what stats they raise/drop:
  Lowers this stat by 10%:
  -Attack -Defense -Speed -Sp. Atk -Sp. Def
R
a
i
s
e
s

b
y

1
0
%
+Attack -- Lonely Brave Adamant Naughty
+Defense Bold -- Relaxed Impish Lax
+Speed Timid Hasty -- Jolly Naive
+Sp. Atk Modest Mild Quiet -- Rash
+Sp. Def Calm Gentle Sassy Careful --
Neutral Natures: Hardy Docile Serious Bashful Quirky
The table is again self-explanatory. The natures that have –'s on them don't affect your stats at all; there is no difference between them. Getting natures onto your baby Pokemon is really quite easy; simply make the parent who's nature you want to inherit hold an Everstone, and that nature will be passed down to the baby. Back in DPPt/HGSS, if you have a Pokemon from a different country, this method won't work, but said problem is fixed in Black/White.

Conclusion

That's the basics of breeding in a nutshell. Using this knowledge, you should be able to figure out how to get the moves you want on your batch of bred Pokemon. However, this is just the beginning of all you can do with breeding. After you've mastered EV Training as well as this guide, you should check out the Advanced Breeding Guide with more advanced topics, such as IV breeding and passing natures down! Thanks for reading!
This awesome breeding guide was written by Chris V.!