Here’s Why Charizard Is Not Considered a Dragon-Type Pokémon

Why Is Charizard Not Considered to Be a Dragon-type Pokémon?
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When you look at the Charizard, you’ll first notice that he looks like a big dragon. If you add to that the fact that he can learn and use Dragon-type moves, you’ll probably think to yourselves – he must be a dual Fire/Dragon-type Pokémon, right? Well… he isn’t, actually. Charizard is a dual Fire/Flying-type Pokémon, one of the strangest facts in the Pokémon franchise. In the rest of the article, we are going to explain to you why that is.

Charizard

Charizard is a dual Fire/Flying-type Pokémon first introduced in Generation I. He is the final evolution of Charmander, evolving from Charmeleon starting at level 36. Since Charmander is a Starter Pokémon, Charizard is the final evolution form of one of the first three Starter Pokémon in the franchise.

Although he looks like a dragon, Charizard is actually not a Dragon-type Pokémon. One of his Mega Evolutions, Mega Charizard X, is a dual Fire/Dragon-type Pokémon, but the main Pokémon is not one.

The Pokémon can only be obtained once in the game by selecting Charmander as your starter Pokémon and evolving it to its highest level. Charizard is a very powerful Pokémon and one of the strongest Fire-type Pokémon in the series. If you add his Mega Evolutions and his Gigantamax Form, he is stronger than most Legendary Fire-type Pokémon, which is pretty impressive.

In the original Japanese games and anime, he is called Lizardon.

Like most final evolutions of Starter Pokémon, Charizard is very strong and can be a good pick for a starting Pokémon in video games. He can learn Fire-, Flying- and Dragon-based moves, along with a lot of other types of moves via TM’s and HM’s.

His base stat total is very high for a Pokémon that doesn’t belong to any special group, with the numbers additionally increasing through Mega Evolution. Let us see the numbers for Charizard and his Mega Evolutions:

StatCharizardMega Charizard XMega Charizard Y
HP:787878
Attack:84130104
Defense:7811178
Special Attack:109130159
Special Defence:8585115
Speed:100100100
Total534634634

Now that you know everything there is to know about Charizard in general, let us see why this dragon is actually not a Dragon-type.

The meta-game theory

The first and more notable of the two theories is the meta-game theory, which states that Charizard is not a Dragon-type Pokémon for balance reasons.

EP248
Final evolutions of the Generation I Starter Pokémon

Namely, Charizard is the final evolution stage of Charmander, one of the three Starter Pokémon in Generation I. In all of the generations, Starter Pokémon are always a Grass-, Water– and Fire-type, which means that they balance each other out: Fire beats Grass, which beats Water, which beats Fire.

So, each Starter Pokémon is strong against one and weak against the other Starter Pokémon in the generation. They also have roughly the same stats and a very similar weakness/resistance chart.

Charizard was designated as a Fire-type Pokémon to maintain balance, even though it resembles a Dragon-type. Its dual classification as a Flying/Fire-type doesn’t significantly alter this equilibrium.

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Dragon-type Pokémon are extremely powerful and have a much higher Defense than regular Starter Pokémon types. So, making Charizard a Dragon-type Pokémon would ultimately make him overpowered when compared to Venusaur and Blastoise, and that was not possible.

The developers wanted the Starter Pokémon to be equal in terms of power, meaning that you wouldn’t actually have the option of picking the strongest one since they are completely balanced out.

Had they made Charizard a Dragon-type Pokémon, he would have been more powerful than his peers in all aspects, meaning that Charmander would’ve been the best pick, and that just wasn’t possible.

Let us see how the defensive chart would look for Charizard had he been a Dragon-type:

Fire-typeDragon-type
4x: Rock4x: none
2x: Water, Electric2x: Ground, Rock, Dragon
1/2x: Fire1/2x: Bug, Steel, Electric
1/4x: Grass, Bug1/4x: Grass, Fire
0x: Ground0x: none

As you can see, the weakness/resistance chart changes significantly, with a Dragon-type Charizard also losing his base weakness to Water-type moves, which means that a Dragon-type Charizard would still keep his dominance over Venusaur, but would lose his weakness over Blastoise, which would make him more powerful than both of them and that wouldn’t be good balance-wise.

The in-universe theory

The second theory that explains why Charizard is not a Dragon-type Pokémon is the in-universe theory, which uses the anime and in-game biology to explain this fact. This theory has nothing to do with the meta-game theory related to in-game stats.

The Dragon-type doesn’t have a clear definition in the Pokémon universe. Unlike elemental types such as Fire or Grass or types with evident characteristics like Ghost-type, the “if it looks and acts like a dragon” reasoning doesn’t hold for Dragon-type Pokémon.

Charizard does look like a dragon, but that is definitely not among the criteria for being a Dragon-type Pokémon. Remember that while Altaria, Goomy, and its evolutions don’t necessarily resemble dragons, they are Dragon-type Pokémon.

Conversely, Milotic, Aerodactyl, and Gyarados, which have dragon-like appearances similar to Charizard, aren’t classified as Dragon-type Pokémon.

CharDrago
Charizard preparing to battle a Dragonite in the anime

Now that we know that a Pokémon’s physical appearance doesn’t determine its type let us see what we do know about the Dragon-type Pokémon. Well – very little, actually. We only know that Dragon-type Pokémon are “overflowing with life energy,” as Lance the Dragon Master, a member of the Elite Four, once said.

What that means is not exactly known, but since Charizard is not a Dragon-type Pokémon, we can assume that he is not “overflowing with life energy”.

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There is also an in-universe biological explanation that states that Charizard’s Dragon-type genes are just dormant until he reaches his Mega Evolution (Mega Charizard X), which is the case with some other Pokémon, like Sceptile.

There you have it. These are the reasons why Charizard is not a Dragon-type Pokémon, although he does look like a dragon.

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