This is inspired by some discussions in chat. In the Harry Potter universe, how are Dementors born? Or are they artificially created by some magical means?

  • You might want to have a look at some facts about dementors : thefactsite.com/2011/10/13-facts-about-dementors.html :) Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 17:27
  • 4
    The usual way: a little wine... a little dinner...
    – djm
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 20:17
  • Its funny how in the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Dementors aren't mentioned...
    – Mr Pie
    Commented Feb 25, 2018 at 17:15
  • Just as speculation, but I think it's because they aren't Fantastic, they're dreary, depressing and terrifying arbiters of wizarding justice (among other things). As such they don't capture Newt Scamander's whimsy in the same way as the other, more fantastical inhabitants of the wizarding world.
    – Orgmo
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 13:46

6 Answers 6


Dementors do not breed (No, there'll be no sweet sweet love in Azkaban tonight!) but rather grow like fungi under certain conditions. They multiply by feeding off human despair, unhappiness, hopelessness, and are akin to depression. They are pretty insidious creatures. Dementors have no soul themselves, thus their constant drive to suck the souls from others.

According to J.K. Rowling:

You cannot destroy Dementors, though you can limit their numbers if you eradicate the conditions in which they multiply, ie, despair and degradation.

Dementors are JKR's representation of depression:

JKR (Rowling is asked about dementors being “a description of depression”): “Yes. That is exactly what they are. It was entirely conscious. And entirely from my own experience. Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It’s a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different. I think [dementors] are the scariest things I’ve written.”

Leaky Lounge Web Chat Transcript with J.K. Rowling

Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Dementors

The Dementor at the Harry Potter Companion

  • 8
    As though fungi don't breed?
    – Lexible
    Commented Apr 11, 2015 at 16:33
  • @Lexible correct, most Fungi reproduce asexually.
    – flq
    Commented Apr 11, 2015 at 22:33
  • 3
    @flq Breeding does not require sexual reproduction.
    – Lexible
    Commented Apr 11, 2015 at 22:53
  • 20
    "That's right. And they're breeding. That's what's causing all this mist." (HBP1). They technically DO breed, as stated by Fudge. +1 any way. Commented May 31, 2015 at 10:20
  • 6
    So, they can be created, but not destroyed. Eventually, Dementors will rule the world, then. Eventually, they will be so numerous that they cannot be contained, even by patronuses. Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 13:37

The claim that dementors [don't] breed but grow like a fungus where there is decay has been canonically disproven, at least if you can trust Fudge's knowledge. It seems to be an early idea by JKR, but has since evolved or been forgotten. That quote by JKR was from an interview that happened in October, 2000, soon after the release of GoF.

Later, however, we learn from Fudge in the Half Blood Prince that dementors do breed:

"I thought dementors guard the prisoners in Azkaban," he said cautiously.

"They did," said Fudge wearily. "But not anymore. They've deserted the prison and joined He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. I won't pretend that wasn't a blow."

"But," said the Prime Minister, with a sense of dawning horror, "didn't you tell me they're the creatures that drain hope and happiness out of people?"

"That's right. And they're breeding. That's what's causing all this mist."

So while we thankfully do not know the specific details about how dementors breed, we know that:

  • Dementors do, in fact, breed

  • It happens when dementors are "all over the place" [Fudge]

  • It seems to generate a lot of mist. We do not know if the mist is a byproduct or instrument of their breeding processes, but the mist is at least associated with it.

  • 1
    An example of them breeding was when they collectively rebelled against their employers to join Lord Voldemort, where they suck the peace, hope, and joy out of many victims whilst having free reign across the country.
    – Mr Pie
    Commented Feb 25, 2018 at 17:31
  • 2
    It's possible that Fudge is speaking figuratively - the general mood being one that tends to form/create/hatch/"breed" dementors.
    – RDFozz
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 17:54
  • @RDFozz, of course that is possible, but there is no evidence that Fudge is being figurative or unreliable on this subject.
    – BlackThorn
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 17:58
  • @BlackThorn he was wizard-splaining to a muggle though Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 11:09

I don't think it's answered in canon, but Rowling has been quoted as explaining that they "don't breed but grow like a fungus where there is decay."


  • 3
    I can't get to the source page at the moment but I double checked it through Google Cache. The exact quote is One young Canadian boy earlier asked her how Dementers breed. "I was just so pleased that he thought about it and pleased that I had the answer," Rowling told The Canadian Press. These evil creatures don't, by the way, breed but grow like a fungus where there is decay.
    – dlanod
    Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 3:19

Spontaneous Generation

Dementors form spontaneously from an excess of despair, fear, and depression.

The Pottermore article on Boggarts states:

Like a poltergeist, a Boggart is not and never has been truly alive. It is one of the strange non-beings that populate the magical world, for which there is no equivalent in the Muggle realm. Boggarts can be made to disappear, but more Boggarts will inevitably arise to take their place. Like poltergeists and the more sinister Dementors, they seem to be generated and sustained by human emotions.

I stole the quote from ThruGog's answer to Did Ekrizdis create the Dementors?


Given the information, I'd say this mist acts as a spore-like cloud similar to what mushrooms and other Fungi release. Thus I think what Fudge means by 'breeding' is that they are releasing their clouds of spores near places where hundreds and thousands of people are feeling depressed all at once.

Honestly, I don't think Fudge knows enough about science and biology to comprehend that a living creature could multiply in any way other than 'the human way' and some fellow nerds from the Dep. of Mysteries decided 'just tell him they are breeding, it's sort of true anyway'. And it is. breeding implies they are making more of their kind... it's just not breeding like most creatures do.


This is more of a comment as opposed to an answer

Going over to Fandom.com over here, there is some early history on Dementors:

The history of Dementors in relation to Wizarding society in Britain is inextricably tied up with one location: Azkaban. The island in the North Sea on which the wizard prison is built has never appeared on any map, wizard or Muggle. Perhaps its first resident, or even creator, Ekrizdis, practised the worst kinds of Dark magic and constructed a fortress on the island, luring Muggle sailors there to torture and murder them. After his death, the various concealment charms placed on the island faded, and the Ministry became aware of the mysterious site's existence.

Those who entered the deserted fortress to investigate discovered, among other horrors, an infestation of Dementors. Fearing the reprisal of these dark entities should anyone try to evict them, the Ministry decided to let the sizeable colony remain, unmolested and unchecked.

"Those who entered to investigate refused afterwards to talk of what they had found inside, but the least frightening part of it was that the place was infested with dementors."

— J. K. Rowling on the early history of Azkaban.

Perhaps the so-called creator of Azkaban, Ekrizdis, might have created Dementors, but this is just a mere speculation. And supposedly, Dementors led the Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort into the Ministry of Magic, which might partly explain Harry Potter's link with Voldemort and Dementors:

"When they get near me — I can hear Voldemort murdering my mum."

— Harry Potter on the Dementors' effect on him.

Nonetheless, this is his worst memory to relive.

  • @sumelic ok. I will delete that part of the post then. Thank you :)
    – Mr Pie
    Commented Feb 25, 2018 at 21:03
  • 2
    I don't see what this adds that isn't already in the accepted answers other than a chunk of speculative text out of the wikpedia article (which you've incidentally mis-attributed).
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 25, 2018 at 22:02
  • 1
    @Valorum there was originally a theory on how the Dementors were created, but I deleted that part because the theory was not well accepted.
    – Mr Pie
    Commented Feb 25, 2018 at 22:31