Fish with a head growth or wen were developed more than a century ago. It is probable that the Oranda came about by crossing Lionhead with fish with dorsal fins. Even today it is confusing if all Oranda’s started in Japan or China. Writing a standard that has several body types, and wen growth pattern is difficult we attempt to recognize the hard work and diligence of these breeders by attempting to not eliminate varieties based on topical preferences that come and go. Since the start of the 21st century Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and others have built some exquisite new body and fin variations. The authors considered writing several standards for Orandas, for the 2016 edition, we have broken into only four divisions, metallic Orandas, Red Cap Metallic Orandas, Calico Orandas, and Azuma Nishiki (top view calico).

With the exception of the Red Cap Oranda (top of head only), head growth can either surround the face or just be on the top above the eyes (goosehead).

©Merlin Cunliffe 2016, Goosehead with pompoms

©Merlin Cunliffe 2016, Top head growth only.

© Merlin Cunliffe 2016, Head growth surrounds the face.

Breed Development

Orandas are different from other goldfish with dorsal fins because of their wen or head growth. The classic Oranda most often has big lobed tail fins. While the modern Asian Oranda has several tail forms that look like a Siamese Fighting Fish or Betta. This is one of the most popular breeds in North America, part of reason for this, is the unusual head as compared to other varieties, and it also is readily available from grade AAA to pet store quality. They are also available in various sizes from three months to breeder size. In several shows over the last few decades, pet store baby fish were raised to be grand champions due to excellent grooming by keeper hobbyist.

Key features include;

  • Balanced / symmetric head growth that is free from blemishes and underlying infection.
  • Matched tail, pectoral and anal fins.
  • Body depth is typically ½ to 2/3 the body length excluding the tail.
  • Metallic fin can be clear or colored.
  • Underlying colored saddles are acceptable, for example a blue fish with brown patches.
  • Slow to decolor fish, often result in colored bodies with black fins, a transient color, this is perfectly acceptable.

Key deductions / write downs include the following;

  • Turned down mouth (carp mouth) or crooked mouth.
  • Fused tail fins.
  • Clamped tail fins.
  • Enlarged veins in the tail.
  • Bottom Sitting.
  • Tail Standing.
  • Bodies that are too short or too long.

The judging of this variety is always exciting because it is often the biggest class in the show.

Maximum points awards are as follows;

Fin development and shape 20
Body Shape 20
Head shape and position 30
Fin and body color 10
Overall Condition 10
Deportment 10

Fin development and shape

Tail fins are matched, spread at least 200, and can be lobed, or squared off like a broadtail. Tail is not on the horizontal plane. 20
Tails fins are too short for the body, fins clamped, or tail is close to the horizontal plane so that the fish do not swim well 8-15
One anal fin or zero fin 10 or disqualified

Body Shape

Body Depth about ½ -2/3 the body excluding tail length 20
Body short in relation to depth 15
Body too long resulting in depth being less than ½ the depth 15

Head shape and position

Head growth large but in proportion to the fish, can be just on top or completely surrounding head 30
Head growth extremely large and disproportionate to rest of body 25
Head growth lop sided or not balanced 20
Tiny amount of head growth 15-20

Fin and body color

Fin and body color matches and not faded 10
Fin color does not match 6-8
Body color is fading as if the fish is decoloring or the specimen is aged 5

Overall Condition

Fins and body shows no abrasion of irritations, everything matches 10
Fish leans to one side or sits on the bottom 5
Head growth contains white/grey matter as if infected 5


Fish swims normally and shows no signs of stress 10
Head standing, head is at surface, fish is listless 5
Fins clamped