The Story of Epic Cane Corso
The journey for EPIC began in 2002 when Heather Vitcusky and John King purchased their first Cane Corso. John having done the extensive research found the breed and sparked both their interest and need to learn more with the hopes of acquiring one in the near future. They had no idea the amazing journey that would become EPIC Cane Corso and end up becoming an integral part of their life . Although their first Cane Corso was simply a companion, their second corso “GCH Gator Country Athena” was something entirely different and would take them on a much different path then they had ever imagined. Heather, as an owner/handler, took Athena to 2004 ICCF Puppy of the Year followed by 2005 ICCF Bitch of the Year, both learning together as they went. Heather has an extensive background in horses and spent her entire young life training and competing multiple horses in eventing and dressage. She was fortunate enough to be given a remarkable opportunity to be a working student/apprentice as the groom/assistant to Susanne Owen Hassler (renowned dressage trainer) for 6months just out of high school. This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and quite an education as well. Heather’s passion for competitive riding and training horses lasted well into her late 20’s and made her transition into showing dogs seamless.
Over the past 21+ years Heather has taken several classes, attended multiple diverse seminars and clinics and been instructed by many professional handlers, breeders, veterinarians, specialists and dog enthusiasts as her dogs continue to compete consistently in the conformation ring. She served 9 cumulative years as a board member of the CCAA (Cane Corso Association of America) in a few positions from director of events, to health and genetics director and club secretary. She was given the honor when corsos were competing in rare breed shows (up until AKC full acceptance in July 2010) to champion and grand champion several dogs from noteworthy kennels. As basically an amateur handler, showing for other accomplished kennels, she handled the Best of Breed in the 2004 Cane Corso National Specialty winner, 2005 National Specialty Best of Opposite Sex winner and 2007 National Specialty Best of Opposite Sex winner.
Heather’s feels one of her greatest accomplishments has been producing her own champions and grand champions and finishing some of them in the bred by exhibitor class. She apprenticed for many years under accomplished US breeders before ever breeding a litter and out of a limited number of breedings each year, has produced 28 AKC Champions, 12 AKC Grand Champions and two CCAA Reproduction Champions since the breeds’ full acceptance into the AKC Working Group in July of 2010. Epic went on to become the 2012 Cane Corso Association of America (The National Breed Club) Working Breeder of the Year, won the coveted 2015 Cane Corso Association of America(CCAA) Breeder’s Cup Invitational (Silver GCH Epic Diesel of CastleGuard), also winning the 2017 CCAA National Specialty Best of Opposite Sex as an owner/breeder/ handler with GCH Epic Déjà Vu and was the breeder/owner of the 2018 Westminster Best of Opposite Sex recipient GCH Epic Fuego En La Sangre, all amazing accomplishments for such a small breeding program.
The hard work and dedication of their clients has afforded Epic these prestigious awards, and without them, they would have never been possible. Heather was also recently honored to be one of the three breed club chosen judges at the 2018 CCAA Breeder’s Cup Invitational in Charlotte, NC. Although John King is no longer an owner or involved in the breeding program but his profound support for over a decade and contribution to the program does not go unrecognized. It truly does take a village!
In early 2014 Heather moved from Delaware to Massachusetts. After 4 years in Massachusetts with her boyfriend Jeffrey Durr, they made the exciting decision in the Spring of 2018, to move permanently to what was their second home on 24 beautiful mountain acres in Concord Township, Maine. Jeff has shown unwavering support of Heather and her breeding program and is an integral part of what takes place at Epic.
Heather is a strong believer in putting only her BEST examples in the conformation show ring. She strives to produce consistent, balanced, sound examples with exceptional breed type, structure and TEMPERAMENTS. No breeder is perfect, but she stands behind everything she produces and works to stay in regular contact with all of her puppy families. She is honest and forthright and has learned a lot from her vast experiences. She WILL NOT sell any of her puppies outright for breeding, meaning all puppies with breeding rights are sold with co-ownership contracts. All other puppies are sold as a COMPANION with a spay/neuter contract. EPIC is also an AKC BRED with H.E.A.R.T Participant and recognized as an AKC SILVER BREEDER OF MERIT. Heather is still employed full time as the administrative assistant to the chief of plastic surgery at Rhode Island Hospital, but works most days from home, traveling down to Rhode Island only a few times a year, so breeding and showing dogs is simply a hobby she’s incredibly passionate about.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of EPIC CANE CORSO!
“We truly believe in our motto here at Epic Cane Corso and our goal is to always be…. The difference between acceptable and exceptional”