Donphan was received as an egg in Extreme Pokémon after Ash and Bayleef won a race held by an old couple who bred and cared for numerous Pokémon eggs.
The egg later hatched into Donphan as a Phanpy in Hatching A Plan and was a playful Pokémon yet refused to obey Ash's commands. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worst when Team Rocket arrived to capture Pikachu. In the process, Phanpy was shocked by Pikachu's ThunderShock despite Ground-types being immune to all kinds of Electric attacks. Despite this, its trust for Ash was destroyed and the second it got hit and heartbroken, it ran away, leaving Ash, Brock, Misty and Pikachu searching for it.
Phanpy fell into Team Rocket's clutches who manipulated the little baby Pokémon into thinking they actually cared for it but once Pikachu had been captured, Team Rocket showed their true colors and dumped Phanpy in the cage with Pikachu.
Luckily, though, Pikachu, having seen through Team Rocket's scheme hatched an escape plan and the two managed to get away although Phanpy was swept away after falling into a river. Ash saved the little Pokémon and regained its trust for him, realizing that he cared more about its well-being than Team Rocket ever would. Phanpy later grew to resent Team Rocket and used Rollout to weaken the enemy's Pokémon before Pikachu used Thunderbolt to send the bad guys blasting off again. After that, Phanpy and Ash formed a strong bond that continues to this day.
Phanpy was unable to replicate this success in the next episode where Team Rocket used their new Delibird who launched a Blizzard which managed to knock out Phanpy in a single blow due to the fact that Ground-type Pokémon are weak against Ice-type attacks.
In As Cold as Pryce, Ash, arrogantly misjudged the situation and sent Phanpy out to fight Pryce's Dewgong but due to Dewgong holding the type advantage, Phanpy lost and was encased in ice as a result.
In Reversing the Charges!, Phanpy solely fought against Team Rocket and one of their many mecha machines but could not beat it. However, just when it looked hopeless, Phanpy evolved into Donphan and learned Hyper Beam before using it to defeat Team Rocket.
Ash used Donphan in the battle against Pike Queen Lucy and defeated her Seviper, before getting knocked out by her Milotic.
Donphan returned to Ash in the Sinnoh League where it lost to Conway's Dusknoir.
Donphan is set to reappear along with all of Ash's Pokémon in an upcoming episode of Best Wishes Season 2.
|Tackle||Hatching A Plan|
|Rollout +||Hatching A Plan|
|Take Down||Dues and Don'ts|
|Defense Curl||Entei at Your Own Risk|
|Earthquake||Love, Pokémon Style|
|Hidden Power||Hooked On Onix|
|Hyper Beam||Reversing the Charges|
|+ indicates this Pokémon used this move recently.*|
- indicates this Pokémon normally can't use this move.
- As a Phanpy, Donphan was voiced by Megumi Hayashibara in the Japanese version of the anime while in the English-language version, four different voice actors Tara Jayne, Lindsey Warner, Michele Knotz, Jamie Peacock- (Kayzie Rogers's alias) provided vocals for Phanpy. Upon its evolution into Donphan, Kenta Miyake who plays Giovanni in the Japanese version of the series took over the voice duties for Donphan in both the Japanese and English-language versions.
- Donphan is Ash's first Ground type Pokémon, and his only pure Ground type.