Greater California
German Shepherd Rescue
~ It's all about the dogs ~

Our Wonderful Dogs

Axel We find most of our dogs in local shelters and pounds where they have run out of time to be reclaimed or adopted, and are in danger of being euthanized. We will occasionally take in dogs from the legal owner (see Giving Us A Dog), but our primary purpose is to save dogs that have run out of time in kill shelters.

We look for purebred German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) who have a good temperament, are reasonably healthy, and would make a good family pet. Occasionally we take in a dog with special needs, but for the most part our dogs need only basic care, attention, training, and love to be adopted.

Spayed/Neutered
All of our dogs are spayed or neutered, as California state law mandates that dogs must be spayed or neutered before being adopted out by a rescue or shelter. See California Food & Agriculture Code Section 30503.




Meeting Our Dogs
We are not a shelter, we have no facility. All of our dogs are in volunteer foster homes spread throughout the Modesto/Merced, Greater Sacramento, and South Lake Tahoe, and occasionally parts of the North and East SF Bay areas. The best way to see many of our dogs at once is to come to one of our regular monthly Adoption Days in Modesto, Rancho Cordova (Sacramento area) & Roseville. Not all dogs come to all Adoption Days, potential adopters may have to travel to meet a dog they are interested in.

Adoption Policies
Please read our Adoption Policies and send in an Adoption Questionnaire before contacting us about an individual dog.

Puppies
Please read our special Requirements for Adopting a Puppy and note that we have an additional Puppy Questionnaire for puppies under 7 months old.

Foster-to-Adopt
We have a 30-day Foster-to-Adopt program that gives prospective adopters a month to foster the dog in their home before adopting. We want to know that the match is a good one! We actively encourage Foster-to-Adopt, and may require it with some dogs. Please read our Foster-to-Adopt Agreement if you're interested in our program.

Dogs currently in Foster-to-Adopt homes are considered Adoption Pending and are no longer available.

Living Creatures
Dogs are living, breathing, sentient creatures that each come with their own personality and set of characteristics, just like people. Because we rarely know the backgrounds of the dogs in our program, we can't make definitive statements about their health or temperaments. We can only provide information about our observations of the dog while it is in our program with our volunteers.

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"German Shepherds have great instincts and fertile minds. Lots of activity and exercise will make them happy, but tracking, obedience and agility games—or any task-oriented activity—will make them even happier. A bored or neglected German Shepherd may resort to chewing furniture, digging up flowers and other mischief."
- Dogster.com 




Special Needs & Senior Dogs

Most of our dogs are healthy and only require normal care. Sometimes we'll find that one of our dogs has special needs or ongoing medical issues, or is a very nice senior dog with some manageable health issues. Because these dogs will have ongoing, generally reasonable expenses, the adoption fee is reduced.

Senior dogs are 8-9 years old or more.

Adoption Fee for these Special or Senior Dogs is $100.




Augustus Head
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SENIOR

Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Augustus

Augustus is a very handsome Black & Tan GSD with some red in his coat. He is approximately 9 year old boy. He was a stray from a Modesto area shelter, so there is no background information on him.

He appears to have come out of rough situation, as all of his upper teeth between his canines are missing. He also has some skin infections that are being treated and healing nicely. Augustus initially showed some signs of stiffness in his hind legs, but with a good diet and medication, he has become pretty spry.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2015

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Dorothy Head
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SENIOR

Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Dorothy

Dorothy (aka Skinny girl) is a stunning and beautiful black and tan girl approximately 7 - 8 years old. She was abandoned at a local area shelter, so nothing is known of her background.

Dorothy came into the shelter emaciated at about 58 pounds and is slowly putting on weight. Her foster Dad doesn't cook, but has made an exception for this little girl and is cooking fat balls, chicken and rice dinners, oatmeal and other delicious doggy 'food'. Dorothy doesn't approve of everything he cooks, but when she does, she prefers that he stay with her while she eats.

Dorothy has a smile that will knock your socks off and has a personality to match. She has this soft bark, that will make you do almost anything for her. She is very easy to have in the house and will follow you from room-to-room, always resting on a rug or bed.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added July 2015

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Ella Head
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SPECIAL NEEDS

Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Ella

Ella has epilepsy. Her regimen is one pill twice a day, and liquid medicine once a day. Currently the cost of the medication is about $65.00 a month. Research could be done to determine if there is a less expensive place to purchase the medications.

Ella is a 5-6 year old beautiful redheaded female. Our best guess is that she is a German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix, and is medium size weighing in at about 70lbs. Ella was originally adopted out of a local shelter, but was returned for jumping the fence.

In her current foster home, Ella is outside during the day with two foster brothers while her people are at work, and she doesn't seem to have any interest in jumping the 6' horse fencing.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 2014

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Oliver Head
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SENIOR

Oliver

Oliver is a handsome 8-9 year old, 85 pound black and tan shepherd. He was an unclaimed stray from the Yolo County Animal Shelter so nothing is known about his background. When he came to us he had an ear infection and skin issues from fleas but with medication is recovering nicely.

Somewhere in the past, he was loved and appreciated and it shows in his sweet, gentle demeanor. He is friendly with people, intelligent, housebroken and responds to basic commands. He loves to go for walks and after a few minutes on leash will settle into a nice heel.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 2015

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Oswald Head
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SENIOR

Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Oswald

Oswald, (aka Oz) is a very handsome male, with black and tan coloring, who we think is approximately 6 - 8 years old. He was an owner surrender to a local area shelter, but even though he was surrendered, we know little about his background.

As is sometime the case with older GSDs, he seems to have rear end mobility issues. We are having his rear end and knees evaluated, so we can come up with a plan to keep him pain-free as he ages.

Oz is currently living in a house with 3 other GSDs and two medium sized dogs, with a mixture of male and female.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added July 2015

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Adult Dogs

Most of the dogs come into our program as adolescents or young adults between 1-2 years old. While they may have their adult size, German Shepherds are generally not fully mature until around 3 years old. This means young, adult-sized, dogs may still be very much puppies emotionally and menul y, and still need a lot of training and socialization.

The Adoption Fee for Adult Dogs is $300.




Bali Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Bali

Bali is black and tan colored female GSD between 12 & 18 months old. Bali was a stray from a local shelter so not much is known of her background. When Bali came into our program she tested positive for Heartworms. She has completed her treatment, and has received a clean bill of health from our Vet.

She has become very comfortable in her foster home being an only dog. She wasn't very familiar with being an indoor dog as she would not walk on vinyl flooring and not so sure about people. Given lots of love and attention Bali wants to please her people, nudging for a pet without being pushy.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added September 2015

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Black Jack Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Black Jack

Black Jack is an all-black approximately 5 year old Male GSD. He is a good sized boy weighing in at approximately 90 lbs. He was surrendered by his owner when she moved to a senior living complex that did not allow large dogs.

He is a very smart boy, who knows his basic commands. He is house broken and loves to ride in the car. He starts out like a freight train on a leash, but settles down and heals nicely after about 10 minutes of walking and corrections. He is friendly and affectionate towards humans, but due to his extremely high ball drive, he would be best in a home with adults and older children, or adults only. He will drop his ball in your lap and sits fixated until you throw the ball.fen

This is a Level 3 Dog. Please be sure you understand what this level of dog requires.

Added August 2014

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Celina Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Celina

Celina is a pretty two year black and tan female. On the larger size, Celina weighs in at 85lbs. Celina was surrendered to the shelter after six months of ownership for not getting along with small dogs. In her foster home, Celina lives with large male and female dogs successfully.

Celina is a sweetheart. She loves her people and really likes attention. According to her previous owners, Celina lived with children in her previous home. Celina has had some basic training. She has nice house manners and knows some basic commands. She rides nicely in the car, and sleeps quietly in her crate at night.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added July 2015

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Cindy-Lou Head
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Cindy-Lou

Cindy-Lou is an adorable petite Dutch shepherd mix. At about two years old she weighs in at about 70lbs. Cindy-Lou was found by a good Samaritan who kept her a couple weeks while trying to find the owner, then surrendered her to a local shelter so not much is known about her background.

Cindy-Lou is a bundle of energy and loves to play play play with a couple of her foster brothers. You would never know she is only half their size as she seems to get the best of them. After a proper introduction, Cindy-Lou has gotten along with all of the large dogs in her foster home, but no small dogs or other small furry critters for this girl. Cindy-Lou likes to play ball, but is easily distracted by flying insects or other more interesting things.

NO CATS OR SMALL FURRY CRITTERS

This is a Level 3 Dog. Please be sure you understand what this level of dog requires.

Added January 2014

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Dierks Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Dierks

Dierks is a handsome, 3 - 4 year old boy with a soft plush medium coat. He was a stray from a Modesto area shelter, so there is no background information on him.

He appears to have come out of rough situation, as half of his right ear is torn off. He also has some damage to his right eye. We won't know if the damage is permanent until he completes his treatment of eye drops in the next week. Despite all of this, he is a very friendly boy.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2015

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Gemma Head
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Gemma

Gemma is a very cute, very feisty GSD with a red, tan and black coat, who is on the smaller side at about 55 lbs. Although she is short of stature, she has a long bushy tail and classic Shepherd appearance. Gemma came to us as an unclaimed stray from the Sacramento SPCA, so nothing is known of her background. Although her exact age is unknown, but we estimate her to be approximately 15-18 months.

Gemma is a very high drive dog, who is quite vocal, and tends to be very bossy around her foster pack. Her demeanor indicates that she has not had much socialization around other dogs. While she clearly wants to engage, she has not yet learned how to play appropriately. She will think nothing of taking on a large Alpha male and sparring aggressively with him.

This is a Level 3 Dog. Please be sure you understand what this level of dog requires.

Added August 2015

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Nexus Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Nexus

Nexus is a nice 18 month old Black and Tan male out of the Turlock shelter, so not much is known of his background. He is a sweet boy and not high energy, but he is easily excitable so calm direction works very well for him.

He has good house manners, is okay on leash however needs continued work. He responds very well to corrections.

Nexus is good with kids but because of his size better he will be better suited for a family with older kids.

This is a Level 3 Dog!

Added August 2015

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Renault Head
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Renault

Renault is a handsome, 3 - 4 year old boy weighing around 90lbs. He was originally adopted out in June 2014. His owner is going through some personal issues, so Renault is returning to our group.

This GSD has high energy and will climb a fence to explore the neighborhood if left alone in the backyard.

Renault has some formal obedience training, and he is looking for a home where he can continue his obedience and agility training as he likes to work and show his skills.

This is a Level 3 Dog. Please be sure you understand what this level of dog requires.

Added July 2015

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Savannah May Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Savannah May

Savannah May is a 4-5 year old bicolored large female, weighing a solid 85 pounds. She was a confiscated dog from the Modesto Shelter, taken from a hoarding situation. Nothing else is known of her background.

Although she reportedly lived with other dogs, she is a very dominant female, who would not do well in a home with smaller dogs or cats. She would be fine in an only dog setting or with another larger male dog.

Savannah May is very people friendly and social and would make a super companion for an experienced handler. Since she has been in a boarding situation for a couple weeks, it is unknown if she is housebroken, or has house manners.

This is a Level 3 Dog. Please be sure you understand what this level of dog requires.

Added June 2014

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Sunshine Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Sunshine

Sunshine is an adorable white female shepherd with a nice coat. She is approximately 5 years old, a decent sized girl weighing in at 75lbs. Sunshine was an unclaimed stray so not much is known about her background.

Sunshine was originally on the adoption floor, but soon became stressed in her kennel, and was made available to rescue. She was a shelter favorite, known to be friendly with the dogs and people she met.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2015

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Trudy Head
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Trudy

Trudy is a petite 2 year old female GSD. She was a stray from a Modesto area shelter, so there is no background information on her. She came into our rescue with a really bad case of mange. She had almost no fur left. Now look at her, she is just stunning.

Trudy is very affectionate, and loves to give kisses. She is house-broken, crate trained, and knows her basic commands.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2015

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Zed Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Zed

Zed is a majestic Black & Tan male GSD approximately 4 - 5 years old. He is on the skinny side, and could stand to gain 10 - 15 lbs. He was a stray from a Modesto area shelter, so little is known about his background.

Zed appears to have had some formal training. He sits, down, and stays using verbal commands as well as hand signals. Once a command is given, he will comply, and then look up at you for the next command. Zed is very agile, and will catch a ball thrown over his shoulder with a high degree of accuracy. He has a high energy level when playing catch, but very quickly settles in the house when play time is over.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2015

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Puppies

We rarely get puppies (6 months and under) and when we do, we want to make sure they have the very best start in life. Please see our Requirements for Adopting a Puppy. We also have a Supplemental Puppy Questionnaire just for puppies. Yes, we are very picky about our puppy homes, since we see so many adolescent dogs in the shelters who have outgrown their cute little puppy stage and have been left at the shelter!

The Adoption Fee for our Puppies is $350.

We do not put holds on puppies. If you would like to meet one of our puppies, please send in your Adoption Questionnaire and Puppy Questionnaire! See Adoption Info.




Echo Head
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Echo

Echo is an adorable 6 month old female puppy. She was a stray from a Modesto area shelter, so there is no background information on her. Our best guess is that she is Shepherd and Lab mix.

Echo is your typical puppy, with a ton of puppy energy. She is house-broken and crate trained. She knows some of her basic commands such as sit, down, and stay. She has good recall as well.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2015

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Rumor Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, September 5th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!

Rumor

Rumor is an adorable 12 week old female puppy. She was a stray from a Modesto area shelter, so there is no background information on her.

Rumor is your typical puppy, with lots of puppy energy. She is working on her manners, and house-breaking. Rumor will need training and continued socialization.

Rumor likes to explore the yard, but when you call for her, she comes bounding back, puppy style.

This is a Level 3 Dog. Please be sure you understand what this level of dog requires.

Added July 2015

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Still Looking?

Can't find a dog you've been looking at? Check our Adoption Pending page to see if the dog has gone to a new Foster-to-Adopt home, or our Recent Adoptions page to see if the dog has been adopted.

Didn't find exactly the dog you'd like to adopt? Check out the Owner Referral Dogs for other dogs that aren't in our program.




Courtesy Listings

Owner Referrals & Independent Rescuers

We will list spayed/neutered and vaccinated German Shepherd Dogs or mostly-GSDs for owners or other smaller rescuers who wish to rehome their own dogs on our Owner Referral Dogs page. These dogs are not in our program and we can make no assurances about the accuracy of the listings.  

Lost Dogs

Nothing is more heartbreaking than losing a beloved companion. We will post your missing dog for you on our Lost Dogs page!

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GCGSR Dog Rating Levels

Please note there are no universal Rating Levels for dogs; this is how we rate OUR dogs. Other groups may use different rating levels for their dogs.

All German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) share certain traits, that's what makes them a German Shepherd. These dogs generally mature into serious individuals and tend to be more discriminating about their circle of friends. Most are not "dogpark" dogs as adults.

ALL German Shepherds:

  • Are intelligent, energetic, powerful, alert, bossy, noisy and mouthy (like to use their teeth)
  • Are protective, possessive and territorial, and usually won’t let strangers walk in the door
  • Are control freaks with strong herding drive (instincts), and usually have strong prey drive
  • Shed all year long, and will shed twice as heavily in the spring and fall
  • Need ongoing socialization, structure, leadership, exercise, training and affection
  • Need to be made a part of the family, and are not good as outside-only dogs
  • Need a purpose in life, or will find their own amusements by barking, chewing, digging and escaping

The Dog Rating Levels are based on the GSD’s inherent drives, confidence, attitude and personality. The higher the Rating Level, the more confident and demanding the dog is, and the more of everything the dog will require. Young dogs under 2 years old will probably mature up a Level. Don’t mistake a smaller size for an easier dog!
Note: Any dog can exhibit atypical behavior under stressful conditions.

Level 1 – Soft & Submissive

  • Very submissive, born followers not interested in taking a leadership role. Willing to go along and get along, and try to avoid trouble. Sweet, soft, mellow or timid, can easily be overwhelmed.
  • Usually Low to Moderate Energy. May need socializing, housebreaking, house manners. Suitable for senior or sedentary households, will enjoy occasional walks, trips in the car, or light play sessions.
  • If needs are not met, can become clingy, needy, fearful or overly-submissive. Can submissively urinate, can develop Separation Anxiety.
  • This level is rare for this breed.

Level 2 – Moderate & Adaptable

  • Balanced mix of confidence and submissiveness. Middle of the road dogs, fairly eager to please. Will occasionally test leadership abilities, but really don’t want to be the leader.
  • Usually Moderate Energy, can range from Low to High, which can be satisfied with daily walks and play or training time. Need some basic obedience lessons, then may need occasional refresher courses.
  • If needs are not met, can be insecure leaders and can become overly protective, possessive, and territorial. Can develop Separation Anxiety.
  • This level fits the widest variety of households.

Level 3 – Confident & Challenging

  • Confident with very little submissiveness, the standard breed temperament. Assertive and pushy, will challenge leadership status. Independent problem-solvers that will try to out-think their owners.
  • Usually Moderate to High Energy. Need a job, with physical and mental exercise regularly for life.
  • If needs are not met, can take over household in a hot second. Can become destructive or escapists.
  • This is the most common level in rescue.

Level 4 – Competitive & Intense

  • Very confident, very pushy, extremely competitive, adrenaline junkies. Usually ball, toy or prey obsessed. Very high drive and high focus, will often scream, whine and nip in frustration to DO SOMETHING, NOW!
  • Very High Energy, always in high gear. Need several hours of physical and mental challenge every day, live to outwit, outplay and outlast everyone else. Never slow down, never wear out, never shut up.
  • If needs are not met, can become obsessive and very destructive.
  • Ideal for working K9 dogs or for competitive dog sports such as agility, flyball, herding and Schutzhund.

Level 5 – Tough & Serious

  • Supremely confident, have high energy, high focus, and high fight drive. Love to fight, and willing to back everything up with their teeth. Serious dogs who measure everyone for weakness. True tough guys, will never give up and will go down fighting.
  • Very High Energy. Needs highly structured life with a full-time job. Not suitable for the family home.
  • If needs are not met, can bite and become dominantly aggressive.
  • We will never knowingly bring this dog into rescue.
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Adoption Days

From 11 am to 2 pm every month, rain or shine, at these locations! For directions, please see our Events Calendar page.

First Saturday of every month in Modesto:
Petsmart
2100 McHenry Ave
Modesto CA 95350
(209) 574-0441

Third Saturday of every month in Rancho Cordova (Sacramento):
Petsmart
10830 Olson Drive
Rancho Cordova CA 95670
(916) 851-1813

Fourth Saturday of every month in Roseville:
Pet Food Express

The Fountains
1009 Galleria Blvd
Roseville, CA 95678
(916) 780-5555

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