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.

Ella Head


Come meet me on Saturday, July 4th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!


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


Oliver Head



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


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.

Alton Head

Come meet me on Saturday, July 4th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!


Alton is a tall, dark and handsome male approximately 12-18 months old. He weighs about 75 lbs, but could stand to put on about 10 lbs. He came from a Sacramento area shelter and nothing is known about his background.

The first foster home Alton went into had two German Shepherds and an intact male pointer. Alton was fine with the Shepherds, reactive with the pointer. It is not known if it was because the pointer is not neutered or because he was smaller than the other two dogs. He also was reactive w/a neighbor's small dog, therefore, we would recommend a home without small dogs for this boy.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 2015


Annika Head


Do you enjoy a challenge? If so, have we got the dog for you!

Annika is a sleek and lively, 1-2 year old solid black beauty. This happy and affectionate whirlwind loves to go-go-go all day long. Her favorite pastime is keeping the house and yard critter-free, particularly from cats and squirrels, and doing anything else at full speed. She loves to play in mud puddles and thinks swimming pools are great fun.

She's housebroken, sleeps quietly through the night, and can settle in the house when there's nothing going on. She has decent house-manners and corrects fairly easily at home. She hasn't met a person she doesn't like yet, and she loves to play with other dogs once she knows them.

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

Added August 2014


Argon Head

Come meet me on Saturday, July 4th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!


Argon is a handsome, large-framed, 3 - 4 year old boy weighing around 90lbs. He came out of a local shelter so nothing is known about his background.

Argon doesn't appear to have any training. He will jump up on people, but accepts correction by dropping to the ground. He rides nicely in a car, and loves hugs and belly rubs.

He will need continued socialization and training.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added July 2015


Black Jack Head

Come meet me on Saturday, July 4th 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


Cindy-Lou Head


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.


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

Added January 2014


Laney Head

Come meet me on Saturday, July 4th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!


Laney is a beautiful black and Tan, small-framed, 1 to 1 1/2 year old girl weighing around 55lbs. She has light colored eyes. She came out of a local shelter so nothing is known about her background.

Laney is a very busy little girl. She likes to run in circles, and doesn't care much for being on a leash. She rides nicely in the car, and likes to nuzzle your ear every now and then, just to let you know that she is still there.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added July 2015


Lila Head


Lila is a pretty 2-3 year old black and tan female. She was a stray from a Sacramento area shelter so nothing is known of her background. She came out of the shelter with a bit of demodectic mange (non-contagious), which caused a little hair loss. She has been getting special baths and medication and is getting looking and feeling much better.

Lila is doing well in her foster home. She sleeps quietly in crate, is housebroken, easy on leash, knows some basic commands such as sit and down. Lila is animated and playful around the house and in the yard, friendly to all family members, including three respectful children. With the exception of moving her foster mom's shoes to curl up with in her crate, she is respectful of personal property and easy on the yard

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added April 2015


Magic Head

Come meet me on Saturday, July 4th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!


Magic is a sweet one year old, black and tan female weighing about 70 lbs. She was an unclaimed stray from a Sacramento area shelter, so nothing is known about her background.

What we do know is that she is affectionate and has moderate energy. She rides very well in the car, walks well on leash, and is sleeping through the night in a crate. She knows some basic commands, but is still learning house manners. Out in public, Magic behaves very well and will lie down at your feet if instructed to do so.

One of the resident dogs does not like to play and Magic doesn't seem to understand his signals to be left alone.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added May 2015


Mario Head


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


Renault Head

Come meet me on Saturday, July 4th from 11am to 2pm at the Modesto Adoption Day at Petsmart on McHenry Avenue!


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


Rubio Head


Rubio is a very striking black and red male about three years old. He is very distinctive with four patches of white fur across the top of his big block head. The shelter staff nicknamed him "Quad Hawk" because of these markings. Rubio is a nice sized boy weighing in at 85lbs. He was surrendered to the shelter by his prior owner, but no reason was given.

Rubio originally passed his shelter evaluation, but quickly became kennel stressed and was made available to rescue. This boy is affectionate, but isn't pushy about it.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 2015


Savannah May Head

Come meet me on Saturday, July 4th 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



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.

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