Inheritance in Python

Inheritance is a fundamental concept in object-oriented programming (OOP) that allows you to create a new class (subclass) based on an existing class (superclass). The subclass inherits attributes and methods from the superclass, allowing you to reuse and extend the existing functionality. In Python, inheritance is achieved by defining a new class that specifies its parent class inside parentheses.

How inheritance works in Python?

Inheritance in Python is a mechanism that allows one class (the subclass or derived class) to inherit attributes and methods from another class (the superclass or base class). This facilitates code reuse and the creation of a hierarchy of related classes.

class Animal: def __init__(self, name): = name def speak(self): pass class Dog(Animal): # Dog is a subclass of Animal def speak(self): return f"{} barks" class Cat(Animal): # Cat is a subclass of Animal def speak(self): return f"{} meows" dog = Dog("Buddy") cat = Cat("Whiskers") print(dog.speak()) # Output: Buddy barks print(cat.speak()) # Output: Whiskers meows
In this example:
  1. Animal is the superclass, and Dog and Cat are subclasses.
  2. Both Dog and Cat inherit the __init__() constructor from Animal, which allows them to set the name attribute.
  3. The speak() method is overridden in both Dog and Cat, providing different implementations specific to each subclass.

Key points about inheritance

  1. Code Reusability: Inheritance allows you to reuse the attributes and methods of an existing class in a new class, avoiding code duplication.
  2. Method Overriding: Subclasses can provide their own implementations for methods defined in the superclass. This is achieved by redefining the method in the subclass.
  3. Access to Superclass Methods: Subclasses can access and call methods of the superclass using the super() function.
  4. Inheritance Hierarchy: Subclasses can further be used as base classes for other subclasses, creating an inheritance hierarchy.
  5. Single Inheritance: Python supports single inheritance, which means a subclass can inherit from only one superclass. However, multiple levels of inheritance are possible.
  6. Base Class: The class from which other classes are derived is known as the base class or superclass.
  7. Derived Class: A class that is derived from another class is called the derived class or subclass.


Inheritance is a powerful mechanism in Python that allows you to create classes with shared characteristics while enabling customization and extension through subclassing. It promotes code organization, reusability, and the principle of "is-a" relationships.