Side View Ranchu

Ranchu Side View Ranchu (SVR, Buffalo Head, Boxer Head, Lionchu, Chinese or Thai Ranchu)

Side View Ranchu, © Merlin Cunliffe 2016

History: The traditional Ranchu goldfish was developed in Japan and was bred to be viewed from the top, as they are typically kept in shallow ponds. However, with the advent of glass aquariums, some goldfish breeders and enthusiasts began selecting for Ranchu-like fish that had shorter, deeper bodies and showed better from the side view. As side-view Ranchu fanciers’ tastes diverged from the strict Japanese top-view standards, the newer side view style Ranchu has emerged as a separate breed altogether. By creating a separate exhibition class for side view Ranchu, we allow for greater variation in the breed standard to include all color and scale types, and greater exaggeration of head growth as nature permits. With this broad standard we hope to provide a general framework for the continued development of this breed and its many subtypes.

Schedule of Points: An excellent fish may score 100, maximum deduction per segment is limited to possible (+) points allotted.

Overall balance and deportment 25

Fault Description Point Deduction
Listing to one side while swimming -5
Twisted spine DQ
Swimming with head tilted up or down -5


Tail 20

Fault Description Point Deduction
Undivided tail (only a small split is required) -5
Kinked tail rays/twisted or upturned tail lobes -5
Thickened, raised tail core -5
Tail angle to peduncle too small or too large (should be approx. 45 degrees) -5
Tail is too flat (Top view type) -5
Tip of tail is higher than highest point on back DQ
Tail too rigid/inflexible -5
Tail is excessively large or small, disproportionate -5
Webbing between tail and peduncle or tripod tail DQ

Head 20

Fault Descripton Point Deduction
Underdeveloped head growth -5
Curled or open gill covers -5
Total head length < 1/3 of total body length -10

Back/Body 25

Fault Descripton Point Deduction
Irregular contour—bumps, dips, humps, asymmetrical arch, or highest point of back is not aligned with center of body -3 to -5 depending upon severity
Arch of back is too flat -5
Lacking body depth (belly contour) to match arch of back (should be egg shaped, and not rectangular) -5
Dorsal spines, dorsal fin, adipose fin DQ

Eyes (when visible) 5

Fault Description Point Deduction
Uneven eye placement (top view perspective) -5
Uneven size of eyes or pupils -5
Protruding eyes (but not telescope) -5
Eyes too large or small for size of fish -5
Missing eye, telescope eyes, upturned eyes, pinhead small eyes, or pupils, sacs under eyes. (Exceptions. Some black Ranchu strains have small or wen-covered eyes “Thai Boxer head”. Also, wen covered eyes are allowable in a side view Ranchu class) DQ

Scales (novel scale types are allowable in this class if they contribute positively to the appearance. e.g. pearl scale, batik scale) 5

Fault Description Point Deduction
Scales too large, or irregularly sized -5
Very irregular pattern (non-batik) -5
Multiple missing scales, Raised scales (non pearlscale) -5

Total Points 100

General Type: To appear strong, thick and egg-shaped and able to swim powerfully and with ease. Head size should be approximately 1/3 of total body length. Back is smoothly arched from head to tail, and the body is deep with the belly contour to mirror the back.

Tail- The twin tail should be set at approximately a 45 degree angle to the slope of the peduncle. The lower lobes of the caudals should be angled downward and slightly outward, and be fully visible from the side. The movement of tail should allow the fish to move through the water with ease and maintain proper balance. The tail should be partially divided, but the split need only be between 30% – 50% complete. The tail core, or connection between the two caudals, should not appear raised or thickened, which would suggest fusion of more than the two adjacent rays. The size of the tail should be in balance with the size of the head and body.

Head- The head should be broad and large and show impressive headgrowth. The size of the head should represent approximately one third of the total body length. The side view Ranchu headgrowth need not be neat and refined as in the top view type. The Wen may vary from round, as seen in many Chinese lines, or it may be the Thai “Buffalo head”, “Dragon head”, or “Boxer head” variants. The side view Ranchu has more pronounced head growth than they top view Ranchu, and the wen may cover the eyes without any point deduction.

Back/Body- The back should be smoothly arched from head to tail and should appear egg-shaped. The body should be deep and the belly contour should mirror the line of the back. Any partial dorsal fins or spines are a disqualification.

Peduncle- The peduncle is the distal portion of the spine where the caudal fins are attached. The peduncle should appear as a natural continuation of the line of the back, however it does not need to be as thick and rounded as with the TVR, as such thickness is not needed to support the more vertical position of the side view tail. The peduncle should be neither too short nor too long. If the peduncle is too short, the tail angle will be too small and the fish will not swim properly. If the peduncle is too long, the fish will appear narrower at the hind end, detracting from the compact shape. The Oza or “bracelet” as described in the TVR standard does not apply to the side view Ranchu.

Eyes- If not covered by the wen, the eyes should be of normal size, and symmetrical. Protruding eyes are a fault and fully telescoped, or upturned eyes are a disqualification. Many black Ranchu, such as Thai Boxer heads, may be blind or have undersized eyes that are covered by headgrowth. Since this trait develops as the black fry get older and is fixed in this strain, it is important for the maintenance of the jet black color, it is not considered a fault for that variety. Recently developed telescope eyed Ranchu are typically not accepted for showing at this time.

Scales- Scales are to be small and neatly arranged and should not be missing in patches. Some irregularly placed, larger scales along the back are not uncommon, but these are not preferred. An allowable exception would be any fish that could genuinely be considered a Pearl Scale or Batik scaled variety. A few very appealing examples of these have been seen, however they are not yet common.