Our Journey with Labradors.
From then to now - a history of Chava Labs.
Growing up we both have always had Labradors as family pets, with Denis especially being involved with working gundogs all his life and started Duck Hunting with his father when he was 11 years old and throughout the years had a number of different gundog breeds but kept coming back to Labradors.
Labradors in the early days in Australia were descended from Conformation / Bench Show lines predominately from the United Kingdom but with the advent of the internet a whole new world opened up to breeders in Australia and indeed the world.
Having also been involved in horse breeding for many years Denis started to take a keen interest in genetics and read a book Genetics Made Simple, which was anything but simple, but the knowledge he obtained during those years has crossed over into our dog breeding ethos.
Having always had working gundogs it was a natural progression when a friend mentioned competing in Retrieving Trials so Tessa and Denis ventured out to their very first retrieving trial on the 17/03/2013 and from there he had been bitten by the bug which re-ignited our quest for knowledge to improve the working lines within Australia.
We have always believed in having strong maternal lines or dogs from a strong maternal line and after a lot research on the internet we reached out to Steve Richardson from Wedgnock Gundogs and Philip Highfield from Featherfly Gundogs both in the UK and after many conversations and emails, we imported semen from FTCH Astraglen Hail (Ash) and FTCH Levenghyl Bee of Featherfly (Todd) in 2014 and were very fortunate to have a superb foundation bitch Tessa (Headland Cape Hillsborough) who became the matriarch of the Chava Labs kennel.
Tessa was inseminated to Ash on the 22/12/2014 by our wonderful reproduction specialist Dr Phil Thomas at Queensland Veterinary Specialists but alas it was found at the time of insemination that the semen hadn’t been handled well in the UK and was of very poor quality and the prognosis for a successful pregnancy was very guarded and to not get our hopes up.
We did Tessa’s pregnancy scan on the 19/01/2015 fully expecting to hear the words “she isn’t pregnant” but whilst not an ideal outcome she was pregnant with a singleton (one) puppy which resulted on our gorgeous Asha (Chava Ashas Serendipity) being born on 20/02/2015 which to this day we remember very clearly as there was a cyclone of the coast and it was bucketing down with rain and very windy, thus marked the start of our UK Working Lines.
Since then we have imported a re-collection of Todd but alas Ash (Astraglen Hail) had passed away in August 2015 to lymphoma at the very young age of 5 years old so were unable to re-collect him. At this point we decided to bring in additional semen from both Wedgnock and Featherfly and added FTCH Birdsgreen Cluedo of Wedgnock (Cluanie), FTCH Sothebys Choice of Wedgnock (Otto) and Mistigris Finn of Featherfly (Finn).
Asha was put to Todd and again we didn’t have a great outcome with yet another singleton puppy, Opal (Chava Black Opal).
Opal was put to Cluanie which resulted in 4 puppies, our best litter from imported semen yet giving us 3 pups to continue our lines with – Chava Time and Tide (Eddie), Chava Black Ash (Ash) and Chava Dash of Sass (Dash).
Our kennel name Chava came about after months of searching and of course something we both loved and agreed upon. Chava is from Hebrew origin “life” and is derived from Chavah or Havah, meaning “to give life” or “to live”.