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  • French Bulldog

    French Bulldog

    French Bulldog French Bulldog

    It's official! The French Bulldog has overtaken the Labrador retriever as Britain's most popular breed of dog. The steady, reliable, loyal Labrador, family pet and esteemed gun dog that once usurped the Yorkshire Terrier as most popular breed in 1990, has lost the crown to the study celebrity favourite - the French Bulldog.

    The French Bulldog is often referred to as Frenchie. These dogs were the result of crossing the British Bulldog with a Parisian ratter/terrier in the 1800s. During the time of the Industrial Revolution unemployed lace workers from Nottingham began to settle in Normandy, france and they brought with them their miniature bulldogs. Bulldogs in England after 1835, when dog fighting was banned, were becoming smaller in size and treated as family pets. The miniature bulldogs became popular and Britain began exporting these appealing dogs to France - often sending the undersized pups with faults such as those with large upright ears.

    By 1860 there were very few miniature bulldogs in England, such was their popularity in France. In time these smaller dogs with the larger ears were bred with terriers and pugs which resulted in the distinguishable facial features of the French Bulldog today.

    The French Bulldog or French is not an easy dog to  keep. They require close contact with their humans and can suffer easily from separation anxiety disorder causing them to be destructive in the home if left unattended for a few hours. French Bulldogs have a single layer short coat so they must be kept warm in the winter during exercise. It also means that they are prone to heatstroke and so must be kept cool in the summer too. Breathing issues are quite common with this bulldog breed, due to their flat face (brachycephalic head) as can cleft palates and a split lip. Back problems can arise in pups with shorter backs. Having said that they require very little exercise, have a calm temperament and are not to concerned with barking and so they make ideal pets for those who live in apartments or flats. French Bulldogs are highly intelligent dogs and respond well to firm training. They can be very wilful so it is important that they know who is boss, in the nicest way possible! They do not respond well to being shouted at.

    French Bulldog French Bulldog


    Because these little Bulldogs are extremely popular it is important to check very carefully when buying a pup. Frenchies are often imported illegally without the necessary health checks.

    A fully grown French Bulldog will reach 30cm in height from floor to shoulder, at full maturity they will weigh around 12.5 kg, 11kg for a female. They will live over 10 years if treated well.

    French Bulldogs, at the moment, are taking centre stage, being the companion for the Beckhams, Hugh Jackman and Lady Gaga, to name but a few. But shop around, do your research to check that these cute, unusual looking dogs are for you and your family. There are so many breeds of dog out there, all with their personalities and characteristics. Your dog will be with you for many years - it is important to make sure that you are well suited.

  • Silver Bulls

    Silver Bulls


    At the Silver Basket we have three Silver Bulls for you -  our largest stands at a chunky 30 cm in height. He has a wonderful sheen and is polished to perfection. This bull has a rectangular sterling silver base and makes a stunning agricultural trophy for a country show, awarding Best in Show or Best Breed.

    Large Silver Bull Large Silver Bull

    Not being from a farming background it is hard for me to acertain, with confidence, which breeds our fine bulls portray. Our smallest bull, standing 8.5cm in height is our most ‘wild’ and most popular. He is often bought to celebrate an important birthday for men and is frequently chosen to celebrate a Taurean’s birthday. This chap is full of character and testosterone.

    Small Silver Bull Small Silver Bull

    Our two other bulls are a little more sedate. The largest and toughest in appearance 30.5cm in height and our middle sized chap looks quite quiet and peaceful, he is 10cm in height.

    Medium Silver Bull Medium Silver Bull

    Whilst not knowing an awful lot about bulls I do enjoy following farmers and breeders on instagram. Thomasparry19

    Thomas Parry Thomas Parry

    has the most stunning bull photographs – this being my favourite. Thisbiodynamicfarminglife also has some fantastic images and information; their bull is called Elvis!

    I have been doing my research and come across a list of ten native British bulls – I didn’t know there were so many.

    The Longhorn originates from Craven in the North of England and is easily recognized by its long, curved, rather menacing looking horns. There is, infact a Longhorn cattle society which tells you everything you need to know about this breed down to how much pink there should be on the horns and the exact silkiness of the coat. Fascinating reading.

    I am wondering if my middle sized bull is a White Park – suggestions welcome! They are described as  a long bodied, medium large bovine. The horns can vary in shape but generally grow forwards. The White Parks are attractive beasts being porcelain white all over with black points around the nose, eyes, ears and horn tips.

    I am guessing that my largest bull is a Hereford Bull but apparently it is difficult sometimes to tell a Hereford from an Angus say or a Brahman. Herefords are always a combination of red and white, usually being white from the face to the belly. The shade of red doesn’t matter and varies from beast to beast. Herefords are typically a little smaller than other breeds.

    Unfortunately the only breeds that I really recognize are Friesians, Jerseys, shorthorns and of course the Highland breed. Who does not recognize this breed?!

    Highland Cattle Highland Cattle
  • West Highland Terrier


    So, a Westie won Crufts this year! We are cheering for little Devon who is so perfect but oh so white!

    Our West Highland terrier is not quite so impressed.Scout-Westie  She refuses to watch the show and is hiding her ginger beard. Ginger beard? She likes nothing better than to grub around on the moors, pushing her face into tight rabbit holes.  But more than anything she tells me that she just doesn’t have time to train for such a show.  She is too busy watching the birds in the heather.

    West Highland terriers make fabulous little pets.  I wonder about using the term ‘little’ for they appear small but are, in actual fact, quite broad and stocky with a large, independent streak.  They are certainly large dogs in small bodies and make excellent watch dogs.

    These plucky white dogs were bred from sandy coloured Scottish terriers.  Edward Donald Malcolm, 16th Laird of Poltalloch  began positively breeding white terriers in early 1900 after his reddish-brown terrier was mistaken for a fox and shot.  The first breed club of West Highland White Terriers was set up in 1904.

    Once a Westie lover, always a Westie lover! We find ourselves saying hello to every West Highland terrier we meet.

    West Highland terrier

    This photograph taken by Rick Stein totally reveals the true personality of a West Highland terrier.

  • Harris Tweed Exhibition -Rheged




    Harris tweed ramAs a result of being ‘bowled over’ by the Harris Tweed Exhibition Rheged Centre, Penrith we are giving our fabulous sterling silver sheep an inviting Spring price of £150.00.  He deserves a little attention too! Ok, so he's not a Cheviot or Scottish Black face sheep used for the Harris Tweed but he could pass for a Herdwick.  They too make good tweed.


    If you are a lover of all things woolly and wild then this exhibition is a must.  The photographs are inspiring and certainly moving.  I never knew a sheep could have so many facial expressions until I opened the hefty book, From The Land, that accompanies the show. The colours on view are both rich and nostalgic; well presented displays show the deep connection between flora and fauna and the dyeing of the wool.



     I bought myself a metre of Harris Tweed from the shop and have set my heart on the book for a future celebration.

    The exhibition is on until Sunday 15th May 2016.

  • Silver Pheasant Table Decoration

    Silver Pheasant Table Decoration as the perfect gift

    Our handcrafted silver animals make   fabulous and original table decorations to make your wedding the country wedding of the year! It certainly is a good idea to have a wedding centerpiece that will have sentimental appeal – a daily reminder of the special day.  These silver animals and birds sit well in any enviroment, transferring easily from centre stage at the wedding to occasional table or dining table in the marital home.  The pheasants and grouse are particular favourites, coming in a variety of sizes.

    Silver Pheasant Table Decoration Cock and Hen Silver Pheasant Table Decorations
    Silver Partridge Table Decoration Cock and Hen Sterling Silver Partridge Table Decoration

    These two are just perfect for a wedding centerpiece – they look like they have been married twenty years already! These pheasants stand an impressive 42cm in height. They look splendid surrounded by winter greenery.  The partridges have a more ‘cosy’ appearance – certainly a cuddly couple and the perfect gift for a 25th wedding anniversary.

    The stags are also particularly stunning.  Our largest comes in at 38cm in height and 51cm in length and our magnificent bulls have been purchased by prominent cattle breeding families to celebrate weddings and silver wedding anniversaries alike.

    Each animal looks sumptuous and luxurious surrounded by accompanying floral decorations; their high sheen adds more than a touch of glamour to a beautiful country wedding.

    The smaller stags make a more original gift from groom to best man; they range in size from 38cm down to 20cm, 15cm and the miniature stag at 6cm.


    Silver Stag Table Decoration Our magnificent sterling silver stag table decoration

    All our animals are handcrafted from English sterling silver and all are hallmarked.

  • Easter Bunnies


    Our Easter bunnies!  So sweet! Ok, so they are not chocolate but they will stay around for far longer!  This gorgeous little pair of sterling silver rabbits make the perfect Easter gift for adult or child.  These Easter bunnies are made from English sterling silver and are hallmarked.  They are miniature in size, 5cm in height, making them an ideal size for the post.  Send your loved ones a gift to treasure this Easter.

  • The Mart







    Here he is!  Our new hero at Silver Basket, Colin Slessor.

    Colin-Slessor-The Mart Colin Slessor

    We are really enjoying watching the ‘behind the scenes’ at Thainstone Acution Mart.  All staff are highly skilled, not just the auctioneer with an eye for a wink and a nod but the men and women who herd and mark the frisky beasts.

    “The cattle can be a wee bit wild at times so they have to be very careful but our guys are very experienced at handling them. A lot of them work part-time but they do long hours, stick in and don’t moan about the job which doesn’t suit everyone. Without them we are nothing,” said Colin.


    We love watching Colin Slessor at work and bet he could sell ice to Eskimos! He says his real passion is sheep and we wonder what he would make of our silver version.


    All the animals at the Mart have been polished and preened to look their absolute best.  It is in everyone’s interest to get the highest price for a beast.  Farming is hard work and it must be a relief to get the price that you deserve. Sit down with a cup of coffee and enjoy the beauty of the beasts!



  • Pheasant

    We took an early morning hillside walk this morning with the Westie before work.  The world was cocooned in mist and sticks and dead bracken crackled under our feet.  All was quiet and still until we happened upon a bouquet of pheasants gossiping behind a wall.  They squawked with such bustle and great indignation at being over heard and ran off like clockwork toys, all of a fluster.  They were quite comical – males and females together – putting the world to rights in the shelter of a drystone wall.


    There is something altogether quite human about the indignant glint in the eye of a pheasant.  They can certainly give you quite a hard stare!

    Our Sterling Silver Pheasant couple remind me of a long enduring married pair, slightly over critical of each other but certainly loyal and fearlessly protective of their mate.

    Sterling silver pheasent figures, made in the UK

    This couple stand 11.5cm in height and make a fabulous wedding or silver wedding gift. Our lone, cock pheasant is also a striking bird, full of character.

    Take care when driving the country roads for our pheasant friends seem to have no road sense whatsoever!


  • Famous Jack Russells

    Jack Russells are very bright, lively and appealing little dogs.  They are full of energy and never seem to tire so it is not suprising that quite a few Jack Russells have made it to super star status.

    Perhaps the most instantly recognizable Jack Russell is this one.

    HMV famous Jack Russell

    A dog called Nipper was the inspiration behind this painting by Francis Barraud.  The painting was originally titled Dog looking at and listening to a phonograph and was later changes to His master’s voice.  We know it better as the logo for HMV.


    The next famous Jack Russell that springs to mind is Eddie in the sitcom Frasier.  He was indeed a major star in that long running series and was played by a dog called Moose and his son Enzo.  He actually got far more fan mail than any of the other actors!



    A plucky Jack Russell named Bothy was the first dog to put his paws on both the North and South pole.  His owners were Ranulph and Ginny Fienne.



    One of our favourite Jack Russell stars is Uggie, the cute and very talented chap who stared in the 2011 film The Artist The-Artist-Jack-Russellbut equally amusing was Rick Stein’s Chalky who had quite an independent spirit to say the least.  He took on cameramen and postmen alike (literally), hunted down rats and yet was adored by all children.


    But here at the Silver Basket we adore our little Jack Russell.  He is a very determined cheeky chap and we believe he gets up to all sorts of mischief when our backs are turned!


  • Setter Dog

    The Setter dog is a very elegant breed with a long, smooth coat and a head held high.  They are classed as gun dogs and were specifically bred to hunt out quarry, particularly birds.  They carry their head high as they catch the scent of the bird on the air.  Once a bird has been located the Setter dog will freeze or crouch,or set, allowing the bird to be flushed and subsequently shot.

    These days the dogs are more popular as family pets.  They are friendly and warm animals but do require quite a bit of attention.  They can get a little bored when left alone and do require quite a bit of exercise to satiate their endless supply of energy.

    If your working life or home cannot accommodate such a bright creature we suggest you follow through with your desire for a Setter dog and purchase our gorgeous chap. He is incredibly easy and he looks fabulous in any setting. Ours stands on the kitchen dresser surrounded by dog leads, gloves and newspapers still to be read!



    There are four breeds of Setter, the English, the Gordon, the Red and the Irish Red and White Setter.


    The Gordon Setter dog is the largest, reaching up to about 27” and is certainly the heaviest at about 80 lbs.  His coat is black and tan.  He has dense bone mass and is built for strength and stamina rather than speed.



    The English Setter is a little smaller at between 24 – 27 inches tall.  Like the Gordon Setter it has a long and flowing coat but with a slightly different colouring.  The English Setter has a ‘ticked’ pattern with white flecks and a contrasting coat.



    The Red Setter, often called the Irish Setter, is probably the most recognizable of the breed.  The coat is a beautiful red and long and silky, hanging in feathers around the legs.  This really is an elegant dog, standing up to 27” in height and being between 50 and 70 lbs in weight.  He is probably the healthiest of the breed with no significant health problems.  Gordon Setters are prone to retinal atrophy and English Setters have a tendency towards congenital deafness.



    The Red and White Setter dog is very similar to the Red Setter, as the name implies, but he is rather more stocky and less trim with two tone coat.



    The first description of a Setter dog in history seems to be in the ‘Hunting Book of Gaston Phoebus’ of France in 1387 and these Setting Spaniels described, or Setters as they are now known, were introduced to Britain in the later 1400’s.  Although these days we have the four breeds, there can be no doubt that their common origin was part old Spanish Pointer.

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