Winky states in Goblet of Fire that that her mother and grandmother served the Crouchs before her. In Grimmauld Place, the heads of the house elves on the wall all share the same nose as Kreacher, suggesting they are all his ancestors. And yet, we never see two house elves (a mother and father) serving a family, nor do we ever hear of any type of mating between elves.

There are also instances of very old house elves (Kreacher and Hokey) who do not seem to have any children to continue serving the family's new generation. How are new elves born? Do they reproduce asexually without another elf?

  • 2
    House elves have.. Powers, of which wizards know not.... And knowing might trigger a need for Brain-bleach. :)
    – K-H-W
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 8:43
  • Wasn't one of these questions enough?
    – b_jonas
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 8:45
  • 10
    I'd imagine they procreate more prolifically than humans do. After all, most wizards won't give their house elves a condom, cause they they'd be free.
    – krillgar
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 13:01
  • 1
    I'm sure there is a video online somewhere.
    – PStag
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 7:10
  • Rule 34. Not my thing, but it is surely someone's thing.
    – CaM
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 16:53

3 Answers 3


The only information I could find on House Elf breeding came from the Wombat Grade 2 Test which was originally published on J K Rowlings' website website now resides on the HP-Lexicon.

In the Wombat Grade 2 Test we come across this question:

  1. Which of the following statements on house-elves is FALSE?

a. House-elves have an average life-expectancy of 200 years

b. A house-elf's allegiance is foremost to its house (rather than to the inhabitants of the house)

c. House-elves cannot be ordered to kill themselves

d. House-elf magic is sufficiently powerful to override wizards' enchantments

e. House-elves breed infrequently and then only with their masters' permission

So from this we have to deduce which one is FALSE.

A is hard to tell but we do see many generations of House-Elves lining the wall of 12 grimmauld place the time line seems to be 150-250 years for these elves so a life expectancy of 200 years seems ill fitting but possible it could depend on external factors.

B is also tricky depending on how you determine it personally I think that their loyalty is primarily to the House-master that however could be due to their overiding loyalty to the House.

C we don't know if this is true they can and have been ordered to punish themselves in canon, so this is entirely possible although I think the reason we don't see any evidence of this in canon is due to the fact that wizarding families with house-elves generally want to keep their elves. We see one family disown their elf of their own accord (Barty Crouch Sr and Winky) this destroys Winky.

D well D is definitely true, we see it everywhere in canon. Hogwarts Anti-Apparation charms and also in Malfoy Manor Dungeon.

E With all the other information on House Elves in canon this fact seems to line up, they don't do anything without permission and you can imagine those pureblood families breeding with another pureblood familys' house elf for posterity.

The concensus on HP-Lexicon Commentary (When they did the test) is either A or B which I would also lend my (however limited) credibility to.

So it would seem that House Elves breed infrequently and with their masters permission, think of Purebreed dogs. Breed them once a generation for your next house elf, perhaps the babies stay with the mother or perhaps the baby just goes with the new master family and is raised by their current house elf.

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    Kreacher had no loyalty to the Order, and especially despised mud-bloods, but he DID begrudgingly have loyalty to Sirius, and after Sirius' death, he went to the Malfoys, who were close relatives. So B would be false. See: harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Kreacher Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 14:56
  • So a house-elf's loyalty is not to the house, nor to the inhabitants of it, but to its (his/her) master family. This is how I always understood the books.
    – 11684
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 19:42
  • @DavidWilkins Would seem to me, after reading that same link you provided, that B could be true, leaving A to be false. Kreacher comes to be with the Malfoys after liberally interpretting Sirius' order to "get out". After Sirius' death he leaves everything to Harry, including Kreacher. So House Elves loyal lies with the House-master.
    – JG in SD
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 1:44
  • Surely B is definitely false since Kreacher was (albeit grudgingly) forced to obey Harry simply because he was Sirius's heir, despite not even being a member of House Black? For that matter, he was forced to obey Sirius even though much of what he did went against everything House Black had stood for.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 20:43
  • Some people seem to be assuming "house" means a family, but the wording of B ("rather than to the inhabitants of the house") makes clear that in this case, "house" means a building.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 18:44

I think there is no canon answer for this question they may be breed by mating with each other.

According to WOMBAT Test the house-elves breed infrequently and only with their master's permission


You are all forgetting that Winky and Dobbie are at the very least friends. I think we can assume that the Crouch family and the Malfoy family are NOT spending time together. So, house elves must have a social network that can be accessed outside of family obligations. And if we assume that JKR is not advocating slavery, we can assume that the house elf relationships are ruled by house elf magic rather than wizzzard whims.

  • 1
    Do you mean a Facebook-style social network for house elves? How cool...All kidding aside, I always thought that Dobby met Winky at the Triwizard Tournament, and that they became friends at Hogwarts. I don't think a house-elf could disappear from the master's house and meet his friend without at least being punished.
    – A. Darwin
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 8:17
  • @A.Darwin I seem to recall that Winky says to Harry that she knows Dobby after Harry mistakes Winky for Dobby at the Quidditch World Cup (or is it 'World Quidditch Cup'? Can't recall). And Dobby helps her get a job at Hogwarts. Of course Winky is a basket case after being sacked but Dobby does try to help as much as he can.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 22:21

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