In the last article we discussed the most popular and readily available "big three" Koi varieties the Kohaku, Sanke and Showa. This time I would like to introduce you to three of my favorite varieties, The Shiro Utsuri, Shusui and Doitsu. Each of these Koi varieties has characteristics that are quite different from each other which make them stand out in the crowd of hundreds of Koi varieties.
The Shiro Utsuri is at times referred to as an honorary Go Sanke because it is almost as popular as the big three. Shiro Utsuri is a simple but stunning black Koi with white markings. It is one of three in the Utsurimono variety along with Hi Utsuri, a black Koi with red markings and Ki Utsuri, a black koi with yellow markings. Many times the Shiro Utsuri is confused with the Bekko. To the untrained eye, it may be difficult to distinguish them from one another. If you look close you will notice the Shiro Utsuri, a black koi with white markings is the opposite of the Bekko, a white koi with black markings. Shiro Utsuri is similar to Showa in that their pectoral fins contain motoguro pattern. In showing a Shiro Utsuri it is important that the white skin is a clear white and not yellowed as well the Sumi should be a glossy jet black.
Doitsu, which means German-scaled fish, is my all time favorite koi. The German carp was introduced to Japan in the early 1900's as an edible fish produced with little or no scales. The "scale-less" Doitsu have smooth skin with no scales at all are also called leather carp. Some Doitsu have one line of scale on each side of the dorsal fin or one row of enlarged, mirrored scales running along the lateral line and two lines of scales on either side of the dorsal fin. Their colors, especially the Doitsu Sanke & Doitsu Showa, appear brighter than those of scaled Koi do. The color, patterns and possibilities are endless when it comes to Doitsu, which can and are produced in every variety of Koi except Kin-Gin-Rin.
Finally, the Shusui, or "autumn water", is another unusual Koi variety with color and pattern characteristics similar to Asagi but scalation like the Doitsu. Shusui scale pattern consist of blue scales along the dorsal line of its back and evenly laid lateral scales, which may be the same color as its body. The color pattern consists of a solid color, usually red, from the belly to the lateral line or above and a bluish white head. The blue scales on the dorsal line are stunning, giving the appearance of a ladder along the back. They should have darker color on the edge of the scales with a paler blue towards the center. A Ki Shusui has yellow body color instead of red.
Hi Utsuri - Black Koi with red or orange markings
Magoi - Ancestral black carp
Menware - Showa head pattern
Motoguro - Solid black color in the base of the pectoral fins
Utsurimono - Black Koi with white, red or yellow markings
Hikariutsuri - metallic Utsuri and Showa
Kage - Shadow like black marking over white
Ki - yellow
Sumi - black
Asagi - Koi with bluish back and reticulated scale pattern
Doitsu - Scale less Koi with the exception of enlarged scales along lateral line and two lines that run either side of the dorsal fin
Shusui - Doitsu Asagi
Goshiki - Koi with five colors including red, white, black, light blue & dark blue