Everything You Need to Know About Pokemon Genders

Updated on July 24, 2018
Jeremy Gill profile image

In-between Pokemon journeys, Jeremy enjoys working as a chemical analyst and campus manager.

Pokemon and Genders

Discounting the Nidoran♂ and Nidoran♀ lines from generation 1 (which are considered separate species anyway), genders weren't introduced to Pokemon until the generation 2 games, Gold and Silver. With the exception of most legendaries and a few special cases like Magnemite and Ditto, Pokemon can now be either male or female.

But other than adding a bit more detail to the Pokemon world, will your team's sex affect their battle stats or any other gameplay elements? Are males stronger than females, or vice versa? Find out as we review everything you need to know about Pokemon genders!

Gardevoir and Gallade
Gardevoir and Gallade

Do Pokemon Genders Affect Stats?

Quite the opposite in the generation 2's Gold and Silver—a Pokemon's Attack IV (Individual Value) determined whether it was male or female. Individual values are fixed scores the games randomly assign Pokemon when they're generated and are basically luck of the draw; for each stat, your companion could either veer higher or lower than average depending on the IV for that stat. For this generation only, male Pokemon had higher Attack IVs, meaning they tended to be very slightly stronger than their female counterparts. Score one for the guys (don't worry girls, your revenge is coming).

However, in all subsequent games, genders are determined independently of stats and have no correlation with IVs, a nice alteration that prevents us from having to hound out a specific gender when hunting for the strongest new allies.

Whitney and her Miltank
Whitney and her Miltank

Gender's Relation to Moves, Abilities, and Catching Pokemon

Moves
Although Pokemon genders don't affect your creature's growth, they can still play a significant role in battle. Gold and Silver fans likely remember the Attract move made famous by Gym Leader Whitney's Miltank. Attract only works on targets of the opposite gender, but it inflicts a devastating infatuation condition that makes each of your attacks have a 50% chance to fail! As a volatile status, you can remove Attract by switching your Pokemon out, but multiple volatile conditions can stack; you can be confused, infatuated, and Leech Seeded, and more all at once if you're not careful!

Abilities
Gender can also determine the effectiveness of certain abilities. For instance, Cute Charm may inflict infatuation when an opposite-gendered opponent strikes with a direct-contact move, and the Rivalry ability increases or decreases a Pokemon's power based on whether it faces a same or different-gendered opponent.

Catching Pokemon
The Love Ball, introduced in generation 2, heavily boosts the chances of capturing wild Pokemon of the opposite gender to your active Pokemon...or at least it was supposed to. Due to a bug, it actually boosted the chances of catching the same gender until the glitch was fixed in HeartGold/SoulSilver and following games.

Yep, Skitty and Wailord can have a baby
Yep, Skitty and Wailord can have a baby

Gender and Breeding

While a Pokemon Day Care existed in Red and Blue, the mechanic was expanded in Gold and Silver. Leaving Pokemon at the Day Care has them gain levels as you traverse the world, but leaving two Pokemon of related Egg Groups (not necessarily of the same specific species) can have the two produce an egg—if they're of opposite genders.

The mother's species will determine the baby's species, and the father can potentially pass down learned TM and HM moves, but the exact mechanics on breeding changes between each generation; click here for an in-depth Bulbapedia explanation. A helpful tip: Ditto can substitute for a Pokemon of either gender and for any Egg Group, making it a useful breeding tool.

Male and Female Meowstic
Male and Female Meowstic

Meowstic and Gender

The infamously-apathetic looking Espurr evolves into Meowstic at level 25. Like other Pokemon we'll soon see, Meowstic's appearances changes based on its gender, but unlike most creatures, this is more than an aesthetic difference. Meowstic learns vastly different moves based on sex, and while both genders can have the Keen Eye or Infiltrator abilities, only males can possess the Prankster trait and only females can bear Competitive. Check the list below to see Meowstic's gender-reliant attacks.

Meowstic's Gender-Dependent Moves

Level Obtained
Male
Female
1
Quick Guard
Stored Power
1
Mean Look
Me First
1
Helping Hand
Magical Leaf
28
Charm
Charge Beam
28
Miracle Eye
Shadow Ball
28
Reflect
Extrasensory
45
Imprison
Signal Beam
50
Misty Terrain
Future Sight
55
Quick Guard (2nd chance)
Stored Power (2nd chance)
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Shiny Nidoking and NidoqueenNidoqueen and Nidoking
Shiny Nidoking and Nidoqueen
Shiny Nidoking and Nidoqueen
Nidoqueen and Nidoking
Nidoqueen and Nidoking

Nidoking and Nidoqueen's family lines

Nidoran♂ and Nidoran♀ are a unique pair of Pokemon who are technically considered separate species and carry different movesets and stats. However, they're clearly intended to belong to the same family, and only have different types because they were introduced before the gender mechanic was fully implemented.

While they're technically two different species, both Nidoran pairs share the same evolution charts (evolving first at level 16, then with a Moon Stone), Poison-Ground typing, and possible abilities. Final forms Nidoking and Nidoqueen also reverse the typical color-pairing of genders, with Nidoking being pink and Nidoqueen being blue. However, a shiny Nidoking becomes mostly blue and a shiny Nidoqueen (while mostly green) gains a pink undertone; either way, gender seems to play a significant part in their hues.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Snorunt, Glalie, and FroslassBurmy, Wormadam and MothimCombee and VespiquenSalandit and Salazzle
Snorunt, Glalie, and Froslass
Snorunt, Glalie, and Froslass
Burmy, Wormadam and Mothim
Burmy, Wormadam and Mothim
Combee and Vespiquen
Combee and Vespiquen
Salandit and Salazzle
Salandit and Salazzle

Evolution-Based Gender Differences

Several Pokemon can start out as either sex, but will follow different evolutionary forms based on their gender. Consult the table below for a full list.

Pre-Evolution
Male Evolution
Female Evolution
Kirlia
Gardevoir
Gallade
Snorunt
Glalie
Glalie, Frosslass
Burmy
Mothim
Wormadam
Combee
N/A
Vespiquen
Salandit
N/A
Salazzle
Dang, girls have all the fun.
Latias and Latios
Latias and Latios

Single-Gender Pokemon

Many Pokemon can only be obtained as a single gender, like Mr. Mime—wait, you can have female Mr. Mimes? The Pokemon world is a strange place indeed. Craziness aside, the monsters detailed below (excluding the entries we've already covered above) only come in one gender.

Single-Gender Pokemon

Male
Female
Latios
Latias
Volbeat
Illumise
Tyrogue, Hitmochan, Hitmonlee, Hitmontop
Happiny, Chansey, Blissey
Tauros
Miltank
Throh
Kangaskhan
Sawk
Smoochum, Jynx
Rufflet, Braviary
Cresselia
Tornadus
Petilil, Lilligant
Thundurus
Vullaby, Mandibuzz
Landorus
Flabébé, Floette, Florges
N/A
Bounsweet, Steenee, Tsareena
You gals have us outnumbered once more.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pyroar male and femaleHippowdon male and femaleUnfezant male and femaleJellicent male and female
Pyroar male and female
Pyroar male and female
Hippowdon male and female
Hippowdon male and female
Unfezant male and female
Unfezant male and female
Jellicent male and female
Jellicent male and female

Notable Gender Appearance Changes

Several Pokemon have minuscule changes to their form based on their gender, but some visual gender phenotypes are more prominent, although these differences won't affect stats, abilities, or other attributes. Pokemon with pronounced alterations include Pyroar, Hippowdon, Unfezant, and Frillish/Jellicent, which you can view in the thumbnails above.

Pokemon Gender Fun Facts

  • Mr. Mime's odd name is simply a result of a poor translation from its original Japenese name, which doesn't imply a gender, explaining why it can be both male and female
  • Most Pokemon have different male-to-female appearance rates; for instance, only one in eight Pyroars will be male, while only one in eight starter Pokemon (like Charmander) will be female
  • Prior to generation 6, one-third of female Azurill become male upon evolving since they had different male-to-female ratios than their evolutions
  • Despite having no gender, Lugia has been shown to raise its young in the anime
  • Text in the Diamond and Pearl video games reveals that people and Pokemon used to marry each other, and some Pokemon in the anime (like Ash's female Chikorita) become infatuated with their trainers
  • The Japanese text of a trainer in the Battle Maison of X and Y heavily implies she used to be male and transitioned "due to the powers of medical science"
  • A popular fan theory states that Elite Four Members Lorelei (supposedly female) and Will (supposedly male) are in fact the same cross-dressing individual

Which gender do you prefer your Pokemon to have?

See results

Gender's Place in Pokemon

Even though it's long stopped affecting stats, we can see how gender still plays a role in our Pokemon adventures, from impacting moves in battle to controlling evolutionary lines to simple aesthetic differences. Gender remains yet another detail to bear in mind when raising your ultimate team, and when you consider chromosomes, gives a whole new meaning to the titles Pokemon X and Y. However, casual fans shouldn't fuss to much over Pokemon gender, because on the surface, it has no bearing in your squad's base abilities and rarely comes into play for battles.

But for now, as we await Nintendo's next batch of gender-specific monsters, vote for your preferred gender and I'll see you at our next Pokemon countdown!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Jeremy Gill

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