Shubunkin are incredibly popular, but how do you spot a good example? Paul Green advises.
The Shubunkin comes in different forms and the more popular ones we see in the shops are not generally those kept by specialist breeders.
The three types are the Bristol (pictured above), London and Comet, with the latter most often seen for sale, having been bred and imported for the pet trade.
The Bristol was developed by breeders in that area of the UK many years ago and is probably the most popular with specialist breeders today; really great examples are often seen on the show bench here.
The most striking feature about this strain is its beautiful tail which should be large with rounded lobes and it should be carried high with no overlapping or drooping.
The London Shubunkin has seen an increase in popularity at club level over the last few years and again some lovely examples crop up. These fish have the body and finnage of a Common goldfish, but with the added benefit of calico coloration.
The Comet is really the original fish developed in Japan, but these are not as common on the show bench in the UK. Despite this you often see some gorgeous examples in the shops and these fish are frequently seen in garden ponds along with Common goldfish.
For all three types you should be looking for well balanced, strong active fish with a base colour of vibrant blue and also violet, red, orange, yellow, brown and ideally spotted with black. You can then identify the differences in finnage, for example.
This article was first published in the December 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.