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.

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.

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

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.


"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."

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.

Maggie Head



Maggie is a lovely female German Shepherd who is a VERY young 9 years old. She has a stunning gold and white colored coat, which is extremely soft, and weighs about 62 pounds. Her previous owner surrendered her to rescue when she became ill and could no longer care for her.

Maggie has easily blended into her foster home's pack, and lives with three large German Shepherds and two medium sized dogs that are a mix of ages and sexes. She has acted appropriately with all dogs - small and large - that she has met and could possibly be ok living with cats.

She is a smart girl with medium energy, who has amazing house manners.

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

Added July 2016


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 mentally, and still need a lot of training and socialization.

The Adoption Fee for Adult Dogs is $300.

Astro Head


Astro is a sable 2 - 3 year old male German Shepherd with helicopter ears. He weighs about 90 lbs. He was returned by his owners when they could no longer give him the attention and exercise he needs, after the birth of their baby.

He was living with a Female GSD in his previous home, and got along well with her. He is slow to accept other dogs, and care will need to be taken when introducing him to other dogs, as he is quite dominant. He is currently being fostered in a home with a female GSD and 2 adult male GSDs. He prefers the company of the female GSD.

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

Re-Introduced June 2016


Chloe May

Chloe May

Chloe May is a 5-6 year old girl who was found in a rural area of Merced County, so nothing is known of his background. It appears she has had several litters and was kept outdoors for most of her life. Chloe has had a long time skin condition, and evidence of her skin irritations, and worn down teeth says she has been scratching and itching for a long time. Now that she is on good food and in a healthy home, she is thriving and her skin and coat look great.

Chloe May is living with 2 other dogs and loves being part of a family.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2016


Cindy-Lou Head


Cindy-Lou is an adorable petite Dutch shepherd mix. At about 3 - 4 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.


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

Added January 2014


Deschutes Head


Deschutes is a large 2 year old sable male. He was pulled from a local shelter when his owners failed to reclaim him. He is an escape artist, who will climb a 6 foot fence to find his people or other dogs. At the shelter he required a kennel with a roof on it to keep him contained. He does not appear to have the desire to run away, or walk about the neighborhood, just a strong desire to be with his family. Once he knows he cannot escape the kennel, he settles, and quietly waits for his people to return.

Deschutes walks very nicely on a leash, loves car rides, and has nice house manners. He can be a little submissive when meeting new people, dropping to the ground and rolling over for a belly rub.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added October 2016


GSD Head


Nadia is an approximately 2 years old, petite black and tan female, weighing 48.5 lbs. She was an unclaimed stray from a Sacramento area shelter, so nothing is known of her background. It appears she's had a litter of puppies in the past. She had a fractured pelvis when she came into the shelter, but has healed nicely and is on no restricted activities. She must be making up for the time she was on limited activity, as she is one busy girl but settles when inside.

Nadia is affectionate and loves going on walks. She has proven to be housebroken, although she needs a crate or a secure yard with high fences (can easily clear a 4' fence) while you are gone since she is still learning what not to chew. Nadia enjoys something to chew on in her crate. Currently in a home with two male German Shepherds and one young female German Shepherd.

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

Added October 2015



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.

Nixon Head


Nixon is a 6 month old bi-color medium energy busy boy. He was pulled from a local shelter, so nothing is known of his background. It appears he will be a large boy once he matures, as he already weighs over 50 pounds. He is very mouthy, but learning manners, and has a desire to please his person. Nixon loves to play with other dogs, and has a strong desire to be with people.

Nixon would not be happy left alone for long periods of time, as he currently lives on a ranch with someone home most of the day. He runs about 3 miles a day around the ranch and stays close to his person doing daily chores. He is quick to jump in the truck to go for a ride, and likes to be in the house during his "down time".

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

Added October 2016


Zabrina Head


Zabrina is a petite female 6 month old Malinois. She was an owner surrender to rescue when the family quickly realized they were not ready to handle the energy of this breed.

Zabrina"s current foster home is a ranch setting where she is kept very active and busy most of the day. She loves running alongside the ATV, swimming in the pond, and playing chase with at least 6 other dogs. Her best buddy is her foster brother Nixon, a large 6 month old GSD, who she chases and wrestles with constantly.

Typical of a Malinois puppy, Zabrina is very mouthy and would not be appropriate for a family with small children. She has some ball drive, but not enough for a serious working dog.

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

Added October 2016


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!


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 szaatary 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.

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:
2100 McHenry Ave
Modesto CA 95350
(209) 574-0441

Third Saturday of every month in Rancho Cordova (Sacramento):
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