Pokémon HGSS Happiness Guide: How It Works + Tips to Increase It

Chansey about to evolve into Blissey through happiness (Pokémon HGSS)

Happiness (which is also sometimes referred to as friendship) is a somewhat hidden mechanic that’s mostly well-known as a required way to evolve several Pokémon species.

Each Pokémon that you encounter has a happiness level. This level represents how happy the Pokémon is at that moment, and it can be affected positively or negatively depending on the actions of its Trainer.

A Pokémon’s happiness can be increased by:

  • Walking with the Pokémon
  • Grooming the Pokémon
  • Leveling up the Pokémon
  • Having the Pokémon in your party during Important Battles
  • Using certain vitamins, berries, and items

In this guide we’ll cover every aspect of the Happiness mechanic in HeartGold & SoulSilver.

How Does Happiness Work?

All Pokémon have a minimum happiness level of 0 and a maximum happiness level of 255.

This is a hidden value that can be influenced by the Trainer’s actions. For most Pokémon in HeartGold and SoulSilver, it is only used to increase the power of the moves Frustration (which is stronger with a lower happiness level) and Return (which is stronger with a higher happiness level).

There are, however, some Pokémon species that require a certain happiness level to trigger their evolution.

This is done by positively affecting their base happiness up past a certain number, then leveling them up to evolve.

Base Happiness

A Pokémon usually has a base happiness level of 70 when caught, and a base happiness of 120 when hatched. (There are several exceptions to this rule, such as Mewtwo having a base happiness of 0).

If a Pokémon is traded, its base happiness will be reset.

TIP: When caught with a Friend Ball, the happiness of that Pokémon will be increased to 200.

In HeartGold and SoulSilver, a Pokémon’s happiness must reach at least 220 before it levels up for it to evolve.

Pokémon That Evolve with Happiness

A handful of Pokémon species evolve using the happiness mechanic. In HeartGold and SoulSilver, these include:

Pokémon to Evolve Evolution
Eevee Espeon (Daytime)
Umbreon (Nighttime)
Golbat Crobat
Chansey Blissey
Togepi Togetic
Pichu Pikachu
Cleffa Clefairy
Igglybuff Jigglypuff
Azurill Marill
Budew Roselia (Daytime)
Buneary Lopunny
Chingling Chimecho (Nighttime)
Munchlax Snorlax
Riolu Lucario (Daytime)

Increasing a Pokémon’s Happiness

There are several methods to increase your Pokémon’s happiness level, and the amount of happiness gained will vary from method to method.

A Pokémon’s current happiness level may also affect the amount of happiness gained. In other words: the happier your Pokémon is, the less happiness may be gained from a certain method.

Method #1: Walking with the Pokémon

Walking with Togepi in Goldenrod City / Pokemon HGSS
Walking with Togepi in Goldenrod City

Walking with the Pokémon in your party will increase its happiness level by +1 for every 256 steps taken.

This also applies to riding your bicycle and running.

The Pokémon you’re trying to evolve does not need to be in the first slot of your party for happiness to be gained this way, but this would help, since sending it out into battles lets it gain experience points.

Method #2: Grooming the Pokémon

There are two locations where you can groom your Pokémon in HeartGold and SoulSilver:

  1. The Haircut Brothers in Goldenrod City
  2. Daisy Oak in Pallet Town

The Haircut Brothers

The Haircut Brothers can be found in the Goldenrod Tunnel. They only give haircuts once a day and are closed on Mondays.

Visiting The Haircut Brothers / Pokemon HGSS
Visiting The Haircut Brothers

The brothers alternate shifts each day, starting on Tuesday with the Older Brother and ending on Sunday with the Younger Brother. They are closed on Mondays.

Day of the Week Brother
Monday None
Tuesday Older Brother
Wednesday Younger Brother
Thursday Older Brother
Friday Younger Brother
Saturday Older Brother
Sunday Younger Brother

The Older Brother is usually more reliable in ensuring a satisfying result, but he’s also more expensive.

The happiness gained from a haircut depends on the Pokémon’s reaction to it. The reaction can be inferred through the dialogue given by one of the brothers, and this mechanic is determined at random for each haircut.

Here’s a chart of haircut happiness gains for each dialogue:

Haircut Happiness Increases
Happiness Gained Dialogue
+1 The Pokémon “looks a little happier.”
+5 The Pokémon “looks happy!”
+10 The Pokémon “looks delighted!”

Daisy Oak Grooming

Outside Blue’s House in Pallet Town / Pokemon HGSS
Outside Blue’s House in Pallet Town

Daisy Oak is Blue’s sister, and she can be found in his house in Pallet Town.

She will groom your Pokémon once a day, if you visit her between 3PM and 4PM.

This will increase happiness by +10, regardless of the current happiness level of your Pokémon.

Method #3: Leveling Up

Experience points can be gained through battling with your Pokémon, feeding it Rare Candies, or leaving it in the Pokémon Daycare on the route between Goldenrod City and Ilex Forest.

By leveling up your Pokémon, its happiness will increase by an amount dependent on its current happiness level:

Level-Up Happiness Increases
Current Happiness Level Happiness Gained
0-99 +5
100-199 +3
200-255 +2

Leveling via Battling

Cleffa in battle / Pokemon HGSS
Cleffa in battle

A Pokémon will only earn experience points through battling if it is sent out during that battle (excepting the use of an EXP Share).

It would be beneficial to have the Pokémon in the first slot of your party, sending it into battle first and then switching it out with a stronger Pokémon.

If you give your Pokémon an EXP Share to hold, it will earn experience points regardless of whether it was sent out or not.

TIP: You can obtain an EXP Share from Mr. Pokémon by trading him the Red Scale obtained by defeating the Red Gyarados in the Lake of Rage.

Leveling via Rare Candies and the Daycare

Rare Candies can be found in the overworld, won at the Pokéathlon Dome or the Goldenrod Radio Tower, or purchased with Battle Points at the Battle Frontier.

Rare Candies are used to raise a Pokémon’s level by +1.

Alternatively, the Daycare also levels up your Pokémon – but this is a significantly slower process, and happiness would not be gained from other methods while it is left there.

Method #4: Battling in Important Battles

About to fight against Will from the Elite Four / Pokemon HGSS
About to fight against Will from the Elite Four

Your Pokémon will gain happiness if it is in your party when you battle a Gym Leader, the Elite Four, or the Champion.

This effect applies to the whole party after the battle has taken place. The Pokémon does not need to be sent out into battle for happiness to be gained in this way.

Once again, the happiness level gained by this method is dependent on the current happiness of each Pokémon:

Happiness Gains from Battle Wins
Current Happiness Level Happiness Gained
0-99 +3
100-199 +2
200-255 +1

Method #5: Using Certain Vitamins, Berries, and Items

Giving your Pokémon vitamins and certain berries will raise its happiness level, but also affect the Pokémon’s base stats.

Additionally, there are a few items, namely a couple of Poké Balls and the Soothe Bell, that can be used to affect happiness positively.


Vitamins for sale at the Goldenrod Department Store / Pokemon HGSS
Vitamins for sale at the Goldenrod Department Store

If you feed your Pokémon a vitamin, it will not only raise the happiness level, but it has the additional effect of increasing one of the Pokémon’s base stats.

Vitamin Effect on Base Stat
HP Up Increases the base HP stat
Protein Increase the base Attack stat
Iron Increases the base Defence stat
Carbos Increases the base Speed stat
Calcium Increases the base Sp. Atk stat
Zinc Increases the base Sp. Def stat
PP Up Slightly increases the PP of a selected move
PP Max Maximally increases the PP of a selected move

Vitamins can be found in the overworld or purchased at several Department Stores (including the Goldenrod Department Store, on the fourth floor).

The happiness gained from feeding a Pokémon a vitamin is dependent on the current happiness level of the Pokémon:

Vitamin Happiness Increases
Current Happiness Level Happiness Gained
0-99 +5
100-199 +3
200-255 +2


In Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, there are certain berries that increase the happiness of your Pokémon, but will negatively impact your Pokémon’s base stats:

Berry Effect on Base Stat
Grepa Berry Lowers the base Sp. Def stat
Hondew Berry Lowers the base Sp. Atk stat
Kelpsy Berry Lowers the base Attack stat
Pomeg Berry Lowers the base HP
Qualot Berry Lowers the base Defence stat
Tamato Berry Lowers the base Speed stat

The happiness gained from feeding your Pokémon one of these berries correlates to your Pokémon’s current happiness level:

Berry Happiness Increases
Current Happiness Level Happiness Gained
0-99 +10
100-199 +5
200-255 +2

Poké Balls and the Soothe Bell

Outside Kurt’s house in Azalea Town / Pokemon HGSS
Outside Kurt’s house in Azalea Town

There are a few items in the game that allow you to affect happiness positively. These items are:

Item Effect Location
Friend Ball When used to catch a Pokémon, the base happiness is set to 200 Made from Green Apricorns by Kurt, the Poké Ball smith in Azalea Town
Luxury Ball When used to catch a Pokémon, happiness is gained at twice the normal rate for the critter inside On Sundays it’s the second prize when playing the lottery at the Goldenrod Department Store
Soothe Bell When held by a Pokémon it increases the happiness gained by 50% One can be found behind the fence at the top of the National Park

These items make it much easier for a Pokémon to reach the required happiness level for their evolution.

Decreasing a Pokémon’s Happiness

A Pokémon’s happiness level can also decrease if you are not careful.

Having your Pokémon faint or feeding it something bitter will decrease its happiness level quite drastically in certain situations.

Fainting and Poison

The amount of happiness lost when fainting depends on the current happiness level of the Pokémon, and the level difference between the battling Pokémon.

Your Pokémon will also lose happiness if it survives being poisoned with 1 HP outside of battle. Here’s a quick table to help you visualize the harm to happiness:

Condition Current Happiness Level
Effect Level Difference 0-199 200-255
Fainting If the level difference is less than 30 -1
Fainting If level difference is at least 30 or higher -5 -10
Surviving poison with 1 HP N/A -5 -10

Powders, Roots, and Herbs

Unlike vitamins and berries, if you feed your Pokémon certain bitter substances to heal them, their happiness level will be negatively affected depending on how happy they are currently.

Note that all of these medicines will reduce happiness, even if their healing effects are beneficial.

Consumable Effect Current Happiness Level
0-199 200-255
Energy Powder Restores HP by 50 -5 -10
Heal Powder Heals all the status conditions of a Pokémon -5 -10
Energy Root Restores the HP of a Pokémon by 200 -10 -15
Revival Herb Revives a fainted Pokémon and fully restores its HP -15 -20

How To Check a Pokémon’s Happiness Level

There is a lady that checks a Pokémon’s happiness in Goldenrod City, located just north of the Bike Shop.

If you’re not sure how happy your Pokémon is, you can visit her and she’ll give you an indication.

Outside the Happiness Checker’s House in Goldenrod City / Pokemon HGSS
Outside the Happiness Checker’s House in Goldenrod City

She will check the happiness level of the first Pokémon in your party if you speak to her. So if your Pokémon isn’t already walking beside you, make sure to move it to the first slot in your party.

Her dialogue changes based on the happiness level of your Pokémon.

Each unique dialogue correlates with a happiness range, so it’s not an exactly measurable number. But this is still very helpful to get an idea of how happy your Pokémon is.

Happiness Checker Dialogue Meanings
Current Happiness Level Dialogue
0-49 “It doesn’t seem to like you at all. It looks mean.”
50-99 “You should treat it better. It’s not used to you.”
100-149 “It’s quite cute.”
150-199 “It’s friendly toward you. It looks sort of happy.”
200-249 “I get the feeling that it really trusts you.”
250-255 “It looks really happy! It must love you a lot.”

Shaun van Rensburg

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Shaun van Rensburg lives in South Africa and holds a BA in creative writing. He primarily writes fiction, but when he was a child, he wanted to be a cryptozoologist--hence his fondness for the monster-taming genre. Equine-inspired Pokémon are his favourite.

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