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.




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Drake

Special Needs

Drake is a handsome, large, 100 pound, black and tan 5 year old male. He originally was an owner surrender when his family lost their home. He was adopted out about 18 months ago, and was recently returned when his family could no longer care for him. Drake loves getting attention and being around his people. He is very loving and friendly to everyone he meets, but could use consistent socialization.

Drake has epilepsy. His 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. Drake's previous family reports about one seizure a month, we are working with the vet to see if any medication changes need to be made to see if this can be reduced. His current follow-up blood work looks good.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 2014

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Ernie

Senior

Ernie is an unclaimed stray rescued from a shelter in the Turlock area. Although the shelter estimated his age at 7, we are guessing his age is closer to 9 years old. He has a good sized frame, but weighed only 62 pounds at intake, and has enjoyed putting on a little much needed weight. Ernie came to us with some dental problems and an ear infection, but he has been to the dentist, and his ears are responding well to medication. He may have slight long-term hearing loss because of it, but hears commands and normal conversation just fine. He also responds nicely to hand signals.

Ernie has been friendly and affectionate with every one he has met. He likes and enjoys interacting with people, and usually has a smile and a wagging tail. He is calm and easy going. He shadows his foster dad closely, and his favorite place is on a cushy dog bed near him, or lying on dad's feet.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added March 2014

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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.




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Asta

Asta is a gorgeous four year old female with a plush white coat. She was surrendered by her owners when she and the other female in the home matured and no longer could get along, and separating them constantly became too much for the owners.

Asta lived inside in her previous home, so is housebroken, crate trained, rides nicely in the car, walks well on leash, and knows her basic commands, and listens fairly well. She previously lived with children, but due to her energy level, probably a home with children over age 8 would be best. Asta is a high energy, high drive girl. While she gets along with the three large male shepherds in her foster home, she needs to go to a home as an only dog, or another large male.

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

Added February 2014

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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 42lbs. 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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Ella

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. Ella likes all of the large male and female dogs in her foster home. She loves to play with the boys, and is quite active. She has had one opportunity to be introduced to a cat, and she was a little unsure about it. With supervision and training, Ella might be able to live with a cat.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 2014

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Fendi

Fendi is an all black 3-4 year old girl that came into Rescue from the Modesto Shelter. She was severely overweight, weighing in at over 90 pounds on a significantly smaller frame. She has lost some pounds and is now fairly close to her ideal weight of 75 pounds. She was picked up as a stray, so nothing is known of her background, although she was obviously cared for and free fed.

Fendi can be a little reactive to unknown or unfamiliar dogs, but corrects easily, and is very affectionate and attentive to her person. She readily jumps up into the cab of a vehicle, and travels very nicely in a car. She walks on leash, with just a little bit of pulling, but again, corrects nicely.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added July 2014

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Fischer

Fischer is a 2-3 year old White German Shepherd. He was a stray from the Sacramento SPCA, so nothing is known of his background.

Fischer is a charming dog that loves people. Don't let his charm fool you though, he is quite the stubborn young adult at times. He is new (again) to our program, and is still learning house manners & how to treat others. He guards his toys and food, and barks at other dogs when he's on leash. He needs a strong-willed, experienced owner that will be consistent in teaching him appropriate behavior and turning him into the gem of a dog we know he can be.

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

Added July 2014

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Mario

Mario is a 5-6 year old German Shepherd/Lab mix with a short, dark brown coat. He lived for several years in a no-kill shelter and came to us when they could no longer house dogs.

He is friendly and enjoys meeting people. He is now in a foster home and is happily learning house rules. He gets along well with other dogs. He can learn to live with cats. He has an old injury to a back leg, but does fine on walks. He is low energy in the house and happily sleeps in a crate at night.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added March 2014

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Rowe

Rowe is a 3-4 year old gorgeous longcoat male. He was an owner surrender to a local shelter when his owners could no longer care for him.

Rowe is a very friendly boy. He appears to be housebroken. He knows a few basic commands including sit, down, and shake. He is brushing up on his leash manners, and is learning not to jump up quite so much. Rowe loves the water and loves to play fetch. He is actually pretty good at returning the item he would like you to throw again.

Rowe is currently in a foster home with other large male and female dogs. He gets along with the others in his foster home, but is unlikely to be successful with small furry critters or livestock.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 2014

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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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Shar

Shar is a 4 year old female who was an owner surrender from the Modesto Shelter.

She seems to be housebroken and has awesome house manners. Shar is eager to please her people and she knows basic commands. Shar meets new people with confidence and she enjoys getting pets and belly massage. New dogs are met with caution, as she will tend to be dominate by growling.

She has been living with a resident German Shepherd that is now her playmate. Even though Shar has three legs, she doesn't let that slow her down.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added April 2014

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Simba

Simba is a handsome 4-5 year old longcoat male. His previous owners only had him three months and surrendered him to a local shelter when they could no longer care for him. They left him out during the day, inside in the evening for a little bit, and he slept in the garage at night. His coat is in pretty good shape, but will take a little work for him to become the stunning dog he could be. He is also underweight at 75 lbs., and could probably use another 10 pounds on his thin frame.

Simba has gotten along with all of the large male and female dogs in his foster home. In his first few days there, he hasn't played much yet, but certainly seems to like hanging out with the crowd. Simba has liked all the people he has met so far. At the shelter, he passed a uniformed officer, he immediately stopped, sat right in front of him and made eye contact. Once the officer greeted him, Simba jumped up on him very excited like he just ran into a long lost friend.

NO CATS SMALL DOGS OR SMALL FURRY CRITTERS

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 2014

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Skye

Skye is a cute and adorable Blue female German Shepherd Dog. At approximately 1 year old, this moderately sized girl weighs in at about 58 pounds. Skye was an owner surrender - her owners had her only 1 week - to a Sacramento area shelter, so very little is known about her background.

Skye is currently in a foster home with two large male GSDs and a medium sized male 6-month-old puppy. She gets along with all of them, and she can keep up with the big boys when it comes to rough and tumble playtime. She has a bit of a bossy nature about her and will tell the boys what to do and when to do it, as she tries to entice them into a rough-housing game of chase. The puppy gets a "pass", but this little girl will be to bossy, pushy and snarky (dominant) for any dog (male or female) her size or smaller.

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

Added July 2014

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Spice

Spice is a 5-6 year old all black female that currently weights about 65 pounds. She has a beautiful thick coat, and is a shorter type Shepherd. She come into Rescue from the Modesto Shelter, picked up as a stray, so nothing is known of her background. She has had puppies, and was likely used as a breeding dog. Spice is very friendly and affectionate, and loves to give kisses.

She has had little or no leash training, and loves to show you her impression of a freight train while on leash. With the use of a prong collar, she is learning not to pull and that she must pay attention to the person holding the leash.

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

Added July 2014

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Vetzer

Vetzer is a Black and Tan male GSD, approximately 1 to 2 years old, weighing around 65lbs. He came to us from a local shelter, so nothing is known about his background. He is a very happy boy, who loves attention.

He appears to have been an outdoor only dog. Everything inside the house is met with a cautious curiosity. He is learning to stay off the counters and furniture.

Vetzer is a high-energy boy. He loves to play, play, play. He loves to go for rides in the car. He does pull on the leash, but is easy to correct.

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

Added July 2014

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Zane

Zane is a 3 year old Belgian Malinois who weighs about 70 pounds. He is a higher energy boy who easily settles down in the house after his time running, playing, and chasing outside. He is friendly with people, leans in for affection, and is housebroken. Handling him on a leash is easy, plus he understands basic commands and knows how to use a dog door.

He likes to be a part of the action, whether car rides, neighborhood walks, the beach, hikes of any length, or just relaxing at your feet after his morning walk. He sometimes tries to jump up for attention but is quite gentle about it. His ears fold back when he is happy or anticipating that something good is about to happen, which is often.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added March 2014

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Zalinka

Zalinka is an 18-24 month old malinois mix. She was an unclaimed stray from a Modesto shelter so nothing is known of her background. At less than 30 lbs, she resembles a mini or toy Malinois.

It appears she may have been a couch queen in her prior home as she is housebroken (although has not mastered the use of a doggy door) but not used to strenuous play at the moment. Regular exercise and conditioning should help her with her stamina and muscle tone. In her current foster home, she is living with two large dogs and one small dog about her size. She plays well with the small dog in the house.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added April 2014

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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.




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Rafe

Rafe and two of his litter mates were pulled from the Modesto shelter so nothing is known of their background, or their exact breed. We rescued them from the shelter at around 8 to 10 weeks old, so they are now about 4 months old. Based on his current size and weight, we believe Rafe will mature to a mid-sized boy at around 60 lbs.

Rafe has a uniquely calm and quiet disposition for a young puppy. He rarely jumps up for attention. Instead he will amble over and sit in front of you, then look up at you with his soft chocolate eyes and wait for you to pet him. He loves to have his belly rubbed and get as close to your chest with his body as possible. He will put his paws around your neck and nuzzle your ear if you let him.

Rafe has been good with all the dogs he's met and enjoys puppy play time, but he mostly prefers the company of people.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added July 2014

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Rika

Rika and two of her litter mates were pulled from the Modesto shelter so nothing is known of their background, or their exact breed. We rescued them from the shelter at around 8 to 10 weeks old, so they are now about 4 months old. Based on her current size and weight, we believe Rika will mature to a mid-sized girl at around 50 lbs.

Rika has a happy, outgoing Lab-like personality. Her tail is always wagging, and she is always up for an adventure.

Rika LOVES water and absolutely must go to a home where she will get plenty of water play. The first time she saw a pool she jumped in and started swimming laps. We'd point her to the steps, but she wanted to keep swimming.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added July 2014

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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

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

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