A screenshot of shiny Galarian Farfetch'd in front of a physical Poké Stop in Pokémon GO.
Image by Prima Games

Top 10 Rarest Shiny Pokemon in Pokemon GO

Which shiny Pokémon is the very rarest, like no shiny ever was?

Pokémon with alternate colors from their usual appearance, known as shiny Pokémon, are rare in any Pokémon game, Pokémon GO included. In this list, we’ve listed out the rarest shiny Pokemon in GO, both currently available and previously available through limited-time events.

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Top 10 Rarest Shiny Pokémon in Pokémon GO

While every shiny Pokémon is rare enough to celebrate encountering, various factors lead to some being more rare than others. Below are the top 10 rarest shiny Pokémon in Pokémon GO based on their availability through the game’s lifespan and how elusive the shiny coloration is—or was—during those availability periods.

10: Shiny Halloween Costume Kanto Starters

An image of Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Pikachu, and Charmander in Halloween costumes in Pokémon GO.
Image via Pokémon GO official website

The Kantonian starter Pokémon—Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle—clad in Halloween costumes based on Shedinja, Cubone, and Yamask, respectively, have only been available during 2019 and 2020’s Halloween Pokémon GO events. In 2019, players could only find these Pokémon in raids, making them a little trickier than the Mimikyu-dressed Pikachu. On Halloween of 2020, Pikachu returned as a wild encounter, but the traditional starter Pokémon were only obtainable through hatching 5km Eggs. That already made them incredibly rare, but hatching other, non-event Pokémon was possible, making them especially tough to find and making their shiny forms particularly scarce. 

9: Shiny Smeargle

A screenshot of shiny Smeargle in Pokémon GO.
Screenshot by Prima Games

Smeargle is hardly the rarest special-encounter Pokémon in Pokémon GO: the painterly pup photobombs players year-round. In combination with the easy “Take a snapshot” daily heart to earn for your Buddy Pokémon, players generally aren’t scrambling to find more Smeargle than they already do. But it’s a different matter entirely when talking about its red-tipped tail shiny form: shiny Smeargle is only available during select events, such as 2023’s Festival of Colors. During such events, however, the number of Smeargle players can find is limited, keeping the coloration elusive. 

8: Shiny Spinda

An image of shiny and regular colored heart-patterned Spinda in the Pokémon GO Pokédex.
Image via u/BrawlerBuddy (Reddit)

Spinda is a Pokémon well-known for its unique gimmick of having unique spot patterns on its face. The mechanics behind these patterns are somewhat complex in the mainline Pokémon video games, resulting in billions of possible appearances. Thankfully, this is simplified quite a bit in Pokémon GO, where there are only eight Spinda spot patterns (plus one heart-shaped pattern for Valentine’s events).

While the number is significantly reduced in GO, they’re still rather remarkable for a different reason: only one pattern is available each month, and they can only be caught as a reward for a single specific field research task. Catching shiny Spinda requires luck not only as all shiny Pokémon do, but luck in finding the right field research task and a lot of patience waiting for the correct month for your desired pattern. 

7: Shiny Furfrou

An image of Heart Trim Furfrou in both its normal and shiny coloration.
Image by Prima Games

Furfrou may be a reasonably standard Pokémon in the mainline video game series, but it’s pretty special in Pokémon GO. In the mobile game, Furfrou isn’t generally available in the wild—instead, it’s made available only during special events, such as during Fashion Week 2022, when its shiny coloration was first added to the game. This makes shiny Furfrou rare enough, but things only get more remarkable from there. 

For this fashionable poodle, Pokémon’s gimmick is that players can give their fur different trims at the cost of 25 Furfrou Candy and 10,000 Stardust. One specific hairstyle, the Heart Trim, has only been an available trim option during the Valentine’s Day events in 2022 and 2023. Since shiny Furfrou wasn’t available until September 2022, lucky players with the black poodle have only had one opportunity to give it this heartfelt ‘do. 

Other Furfrou trims are available year-round but not worldwide. Aside from its Natural Form, the Matron Trim and Dandy Trim are the only ‘dos available globally. The Debutante Trim is limited to the Americas; the Star Trim is limited to Asia-Pacific; and the Diamond Trim is limited to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. These cuts encompass large areas, but three more are confined to individual countries: La Reine Trim can only be assigned in France, the Kabuki Trim is limited to Japan, and the Pharaoh Trim is obtainable only in Egypt. Getting just a Natural Form shiny Furfrou is a feat in itself, but the limited nature of its trims only makes it rare.

6: Shiny World Championship 2023 Pikachu

A screenshot of a shiny Pikachu in a World Championship 2023 shirt in Pokémon GO.
Screenshot by Prima Games

For the 2023 Pokémon World Championships held in Yokohama, Japan, Pokémon GO released a special World Championship 2023 Pikachu. This Pikachu dons a colorful shirt with an image of itself indulging in some tasty ramen, which was used as part of the championship’s marketing materials. Like the Beefeater-wearing 2022 World Championships Pikachu, it was only available through timed research, field research, and raids during the week of the championship competition, but 2023’s event was one day shorter, giving players less time to find an elusive shiny. 

5: Shiny Unown

A screenshot of a shiny Unown N in Pokémon GO.
Screenshot by Prima Games

Unown is so rarely found in the wild that it might as well be available only during specific events. Its sheer elusiveness makes it rare even in its standard coloring, with its blue shiny forms being all the more considerable. Add that Unown comes in 28 different shapes—the 26 letters of the English alphabet plus two punctuation marks—and you have a slew of exceptionally rare shiny Pokémon. Unown may not be impressive in battle, but it’s certainly an impressively rare addition to any shiny collection. 

4: Shiny Special Hat Pichu

A picture of Pichu in a party hat in Pokémon GO.
Image via Pokémon GO official website

With each new Pokémon GO event almost always comes a new event Pikachu—but its evolutions aren’t always so lucky. When Pikachu’s evolutionary line does get in on the fun, Pichu is by far the rarest, both in its standard coloration and especially as a shiny. Pichu is only obtained through hatching Eggs, making it much tougher to get than Pikachu, even in its regular coloration. Of all the special hat Pichu, the Summer Hat and Witch Hat varieties are the rarest, but they’re all spectacularly rare in their own right. 

3: Shiny Pikachu Libre

An image of Pikachu Libre with the Pokémon GO logo.
Image via Pokémon GO official Twitter

Getting Pikachu Libre at all is one of the toughest feats to accomplish in Pokémon GO. Players have to dive into the GO Battle League and make it all the way to Legend Rank, the highest possible rank in the league with a rating of at least 3000. Afterward, players must win three matches to unlock their wild Pokémon encounter, which will be the masked mascot. On top of this once-a-season encounter, the already extremely rare luchador has a slight chance of being shiny—something that isn’t even possible in the games it originates from, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. 

The grind for Pikachu Libre is lessened during Interlude Seasons, where the league caps at Rank 20 rather than at Legend, and the wild encounter is after the players’ first win rather than three. But as a consequence, Pikachu Libre’s shiny is unavailable during these seasons, making the coloration all the more elusive. Getting any shiny Pokémon comes down to luck, but for Pikachu Libre, a lot of skill is required, too.

2: Shiny Detective Hat Pikachu

An image of Detective Pikachu, Detective Raichu, and Cowboy Hat Slowpoke in Pokémon GO.
Image via Niantic

Detective Hat Pikachu is already a rare Pokémon in and of itself. This particular cap Pikachu was originally only available from May 7 to May 17, 2019, to coincide with the release date of the Detective Pikachu movie. Players could only get one Detective Hat Pikachu per day through a photobomb, which would already make the chances of finding a shiny pretty low… except Detective Hat Pikachu wasn’t available in a shiny coloration at all. The shiny color existed in the game’s data, but it wasn’t made available to encounter. 

So how can a non-shiny Pokémon be one of the rarest? It turns out, by complete accident. Some players got the Detective Hat Pikachu photobomb right at the end of the event and thus started the wild encounter after the event ended. Fortunate players who did this found themselves face-to-face with a shiny Detective Hat Pikachu. It’s speculated that the lock on this Pikachu’s shininess was removed when the event ended, so it was possible to find a shiny only after the event. As a result, players had exactly one chance to get this shiny Pokémon by using this accidental after-event encounter. 

Detective Hat Pikachu finally returned once again more than four years later, and its shiny coloration was finally made available properly, but it’s still a rare—and infamous—Pokémon GO shiny.

1: Shiny Team Leader Pokémon

An image of Spark's Elekid from Pokémon GO beside the Team Instinct logo.
Image via Pokémon GO official website

During April and May of 2023, Pokémon GO held events for each of the three team leaders: A Mystic Hero from April 13 to 17, An Instinctive Hero from May 2 to 8, and A Valorous Hero from May 11 to 17. Completing the events’ associated special research gave players exactly one encounter with a Lapras, Elekid, and Ponyta, respectively. They were already special since each wore an accessory with their team’s logo, but they had a slim chance of being even more special in their shiny form. 

With only one encounter each, players had to be lucky to get any of these Pokémon in their alternate color schemes. While they’re all among the rarest shiny Pokémon in Pokémon GO, the rarest has to be Spark’s Elekid… or Electabuzz… or Electivire. With three evolutions but only one encounter per player, the shiny Spark Accessory Pokémon is even rarer as players have to choose between keeping it an Elekid or evolving it into either Electabuzz or Electivire. 

Rarest Shiny Pokémon in Pokémon GO: Honorable Mentions

The following shiny Pokemon aren’t quite in the top 10, but their exclusivity still places them among the rarest shiny Pokemon in GO. You may see more of these shiny Pokemon around in the community than the ones listed above, but their time constraints and difficulty in obtaining them deserve an honorable shoutout.

Shiny Spooky Festival Gourgeist

A Pokémon GO screenshot of a shiny Spooky Festival Gourgeist evolving.
Screenshot by Prima Games

Spooky Festival Gourgeist is a relatively new special event Pokémon in Pokémon GO, but that’s not the only reasoning that factors into its rarity. Evolving a decked-out Pumpkaboo into this dapper gourd takes a whopping 200 Pumpkaboo Candies if you don’t want to go through the hassle of trading it and risking it losing its star rating. What’s more, Spooky Festival Gourgeist, like all members of the Pumpkaboo family, hat-adorned or not, comes in four different sizes. When considered all together, you may find more shiny Spooky Festival Gourgeist around, but getting one of each size is no easy task.

Shiny Party Hat Nidorino

An image of Party Hat Nidorino preparing to battle Gengar in Pokémon GO.
Image via Niantic

What makes shiny Party Hat Nidorino one of the more elusive shiny Pokémon is its overall availability. This celebratory Nidorino was originally released during the Special Raid Challenge event on March 1, 2020; however, the event was canceled in Japan, South Korea, and Italy due to safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Party Hat Nidorino and its Nidorina-colored shiny counterpart wouldn’t return for almost two years. It finally returned as a 3-tier raid Pokémon for the 2022 New Year’s special event. Shiny Party Hat Nidorino was also available in raids during the 2023 New Year’s festivities, but its future availability is unknown. Whether it returns or not, shiny Party Hat Nidorino is still one of the rarer of the already rare shiny Pokémon.

Shiny Spooky Festival Ninetales

An image of a Spooky Festival Ninetales in Pokémon GO.
Image via Niantic

Ninetales doesn’t have as many different sizes as Gourgeist, nor does it cost as many candies to evolve from Vulpix. But the shiny Spooky Festival Ninetales is still a fairly rare shiny because of what it does have in common with the shiny Spooky Festival Gourgeist: neither can be obtained without evolution. Anyone interested in collecting the gorgeous shiny Halloween-themed Ninetales for themselves had to catch a shiny Spooky Festival Vulpix during the 2022 Halloween Event, then evolve it. As of yet, there’s no other way to get a shiny Ninetales dressed to the nines for Halloween.

Those are all the rarest shiny Pokemon in Pokemon GO! New Pokemon are constantly being added to Pokemon GO, with one of the most recent being Nymble. But not all of them can be caught shiny yet. If any of them turn out to be particularly rare, you can bet we’ll add them to this list, so be sure to check back regularly.

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Image of Niki Fakhoori
Niki Fakhoori
Niki’s love for video games encompasses a wide range of genres, but she is especially fond of RPGs, adventure games, visual novels, simulation games, and fighting games. Her favorite video game-related pastime is asking her unwieldy backlog why she doesn’t have any new games to play. When she isn’t playing or writing about video games, she’s playing with cats, journaling, painting, or obsessing over the latest news in the world of stationery and planners.