Following on from my previous article looking at what makes the Omosako Shiro Utsuri bloodline so special I’m now going to delve into some advice on how to select tosai for the future.
The advice offered here should be used as a guide as there are so many variables that can effect the development of Koi along their journey to adulthood. The environment they live in and the raising techniques that you implement play a massive part and if you get it wrong even the most promising young Koi can be ruined. This information is targeted at some the traits of Omosako Shiro Utsuri but much will also apply to Shiro Utsuri from other bloodlines.
At times I sound like a broken record when it comes to koi appreciation and body shape but without a good body shape and bone structure a Koi can never truly be classed as high quality. Body shape becomes even more important with Shiro Utsuri because genetically they tend to have poor bodies.
The body shape is one area where Omosako really dominates with Shiro Utsuri and the key elements that you need to be looking for are head shape / size and body length (key elements of the bone structure). At this moment in time the volume of the body is not important, they are tosai, they have plenty of time to gain volume. One thing you can never change is the bone structure that is why you must pay close attention to this area.
The 3 fish below from our open sale event are top quality examples of what to look for in the bone structure of the head and body.
The sumi quality of these young fish can be hard to gauge because with most examples there isn’t very much present. In this situation you have to make the best possible assessment from what you can see and in some cases you just have to take a chance knowing the quality of the bloodline.
Many Shiro Utsuri breeders use the motoguro in the fins to make an assessment of the potential future sumi quality, is it refined & glossy or is it wild and flat? As you can see it’s easy to paint a picture of what the sumi on the body might be like in future.
The Shiroji is yet another area that can be confusing especially with younger examples. When Koi are young the skin is a lot thinner and somewhat translucent especially on the head which is a very fleshy area. So the yellow or mucky looking heads that most young Shiro Utsuri exhibit in most cases is only due to the age. As they grow and the skin thickens the quality of the shiroji on the head will improve.
The same can be said for the body, some fish do show superb quality Shiroji at this early stage but some of the best quality shiroji that forms later in life will tend to start off creamier in colour. The only variable which can heavily influence this is the gender as male Shiro Utsuri do tend to carry more yellow throughout the shiroji although I am seeing more and more examples especially at Omosako where this is no longer the case!
Over the years we have been conditioned into thinking that top Shiro Utsuri must have the traditional checkerboard pattern, this is not the case. In fact at Japanese koi shows those types of patterns rarely win awards, the Japanese are looking for something more informal and unusual where the pattern simply compliments the body and overall quality of the fish.
It would be hard to predict the overall pattern of 90% of the Omosako tosai available in our event. In a way this is good because it leaves you to focus on the more important elements being the body shape and skin quality. Some of the fish have a style of sumi that can be seen under the skin and is a little easier to predict the outcome. Others have a sumi style where only a few spots of sumi are present, this sumi can change dramatically and is typically quite unpredictable.
Ultimately pattern does come down to personal preference but in the case of these tosai and young Omosako Shiro Utsuri in general I would urge you to ignore this element and focus on the quality. Watching the pattern form over the years is all part of the fun of owning a Koi from this incredible bloodline.
Don't forget our Open Sale event begins at 10:00am on 24/07/19. These Koi will only be offered for sale at this special event price for 1 week.
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