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Is it 'Body - Skin - Pattern' or...


An often debated topic in koi appreciation is that of what comes first; skin/quality, body shape or pattern?


There is no 'official' guideline on the best way to appraise/assess a potential purchase yet, I often see people giving advice prioritising ‘Body - Skin - Pattern’ as if it had been written in stone somewhere. In some cases this will be appropriate, others it won't. You see, the people offering the advice are missing something...


The truth is, no matter what order is prescribed or who prescribes it, if a very simple question hasn’t been asked/answered, the advice will be somewhat useless.


“What do I want from the koi?”


You see, the order of priority will depend entirely upon what you’re buying the koi for.

  • Is the Koi going to be shown?

  • Is the Koi needed to grow jumbo?

  • Is the koi being purchased for brood-stock?

  • Is the koi ‘just another koi purchase?’ and so on..


What one intends to do with a koi will dictate how one must assess/appraise it. Therefore, no one can say definitively that when buying a koi you should look for X, Y and Z in that order, or that any one factor is always more important than another, because it’s all relevant to the end goal.


In truth, our final decision is usually based on a combination of factors that best suit our aspirations for the koi. We look for a compromise, a koi that ticks as many of our boxes as possible, as most of us can’t afford a koi that ticks every box!


Make your own rules, based on your own needs and always ask yourself the question -


“What do I want from the koi?”

Side Note:

Something to consider, most koi purchased worldwide will come under the requirement of ‘just another koi purchase’ - which probably means that pattern was an important factor.


This is because more often than not, it is the pattern that initially draws us to any given koi. Pattern is an immediate visual that appeals to our personal taste and commands our attention. It is also easily appreciated by simply looking in the pond, the finer points of skin quality and body conformation usually require the koi to be bowled - even then one needs to know what to look for.


Proof? When I was a koi dealer I noticed that most koi went into the bowl based on pattern, other qualities were often ignored entirely. Some koi can get completely overlooked if their pattern doesn't immediately jump out.


Even hobbyists trying to prioritise other attributes will find it very hard to look past pattern as an initial 'attention-grabber!' Of course once the koi is bowled things change, but what gets the koi in the bowl to start with?


Probably Pattern.


I bet I can guess which koi in the photo at the top of the article jump out first...

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