|Country of origin|
Shubunkins are similar to the common goldfish and comet goldfish in appearance. They were first bred in Japan, from mutations in telescope eye goldfish (Demekins) c. 1900. They have streamlined bodies with well-developed and even fins. However, the shubunkins are calico goldfish; they possess nacreous scales (a mix of metallic and transparent scales that are pearly in appearance). The overlapping patches of red, white, blue, grey and black (along with dark speckles) normally extend to the finnage of shubunkins. Blue is the most prized colour in shubunkins. Calico originally denoted three coloured varieties of goldfish that did not include blue. The best blues are produced from line breeding of good blue specimens of shubunkins. Sometimes good blues may be obtained by breeding bronze (metallic) with pink (matte) goldfish, but a grey slate colour may result instead.Some Calico fish tend to have a pointy mouth.
It may take several months for the nacreous coloration to develop on a young fry (baby fish). Shubunkins are excellent pond fish because they reach a length of 9 to 18 inches (23 to 41 centimeters) at adulthood. A shubunkin goldfish is considered an adult at 2 to 3 years of age, even though they live much longer.
- London shubunkins have stout bodies and also short, rounded finnage that is similar to the common goldfish.
- American shubunkins (pictured in infobox) have a slimmer body shape than the london shubunkin with deeply forked, pointed tail fins, and longer finnage all around.
- Bristol shubunkins are slim bodied goldfish with well-developed finnage possessing a tail that is large, moderately forked, and rounded at the end making a shape similar to that of the capitalized letter "B".