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.




Ely Head
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Ely

Special Needs

Ely is a handsome black and tan male about 5 years old, and currently weighs in at about 70 pounds. He is an owner surrender to the Turlock shelter for medical reasons.

He came to rescue and upon our regular vet check up, he was found to have Canine Megaesophagus. Megaesophagus is where the muscles of the esophagus fail and it cannot propel food or water into the stomach. The result is that ingested food sits in the esophagus within the chest cavity and never makes it to the stomach. Canine Megaesophagus can be managed and most dogs may lead a relatively normal life.

For more information on Megaesophagus please visit www.caninemegaesophagus.org.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added January 2014 2013

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Ernie Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, April 19th from 11am to 2pm at the Rancho Cordova Adoption Day at Petsmart on Olson Drive!

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.




Anita Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, April 19th from 11am to 2pm at the Rancho Cordova Adoption Day at Petsmart on Olson Drive!

Anita

Anita was a very pregnant unclaimed stray from the Modesto area so nothing is known about her background. However we have made a few educated guesses.

She shows signs of having had several litters of puppies, and was very self sufficient when she had her final litter shortly after coming into rescue. She is an excellent and very competent mama dog, rarely leaving her puppies during their early weeks.

We and our vet have estimated her age at around 7 years old. She weighs an ideal 67 lbs with substantial bones. Our vet says she is incredibly healthy other than well-worn teeth.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added February 2014

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Asta Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, April 19th from 11am to 2pm at the Rancho Cordova Adoption Day at Petsmart on Olson Drive!

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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Breeze Head
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Breeze

Breeze is an adorable black and red long coat. At approximately 10 months old, this petite girl weighs in at about 50 pounds. Although she will grow some, she will probably remain a fairly small girl. Breeze was an unclaimed stray from the Sacramento area so nothing is known about her background.

Breeze is currently in a foster home with several large male and female dogs. She gets along with all of them, and although the smallest one still likes to play and usually gives as good as she gets. She doesn't hesitate to tell the other dogs if they are getting to rough for her.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added April 2014

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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 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.

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

NO CATS OR SMALL FURRY CRITTERS

Added January 2014

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Coco Head
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Coco

Coco is a sweet 4 year old female weighing about 75 lbs. She came from a shelter in Butte County so nothing is known of her background.

Coco has a back leg that is not fully formed, but she doesn't seem to know it. She loves going for car rides, walks and getting her caretaker to engage in play, although overall she has a calm disposition. It appears she may have lived as a house dog in the past, as she likes being inside and will cry at the door when she needs to go out.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added December 2013

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Davey Head
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Davey

Davey is a 2 year old white male. He was surrendered when his owners lost their home.

He's friendly when greeting people, yet still alarm barks at home. He gets along well with other dogs and kids in his foster home. He has not been tested with cats.

He quietly sleeps in a crate with the door open at night. He has good house manners. He gets bored outside and picks a spot or two as a digging spot, but otherwise is content to be outside while his people are away for the day.

Sometimes he is quite determined to get his way, so he needs an owner that will give him firm guidelines and follow through with him. He is a sweet, charming boy that will take advantage if allowed.

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

Added August 2013

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Iggy Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, April 19th from 11am to 2pm at the Rancho Cordova Adoption Day at Petsmart on Olson Drive!

Iggy

Iggy is a 4-5 year old female from the Grass Valley area. A smaller, compact female, she may have a touch of cattle dog or something else in her. Originally she was rescued from the streets of L.A. by an owner who could give her the love, but not the attention she needed.

Iggy is very smart, eager, and quick to learn. She has moderate energy, and likes to play with the other dogs in her foster home. She is housebroken, will sleep in a crate quietly, rides nicely in the car, and walks nicely on a leash. She knows sit and down, and is anxious to learn more. Unknown with small dogs.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added January 2014

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Jess Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, April 19th from 11am to 2pm at the Rancho Cordova Adoption Day at Petsmart on Olson Drive!

Jess

Jess is a very handsome 2 year old, weighing about 90 lbs. He is an owner surrender who can be mouthy at times and rather than spend time teaching him, his family gave him up. Jess had been left in the back yard by his previous family for the last several months they had him, so he is relearning house manners. He knows some basic commands, rides well in the car, walks beautifully on the leash, and is a good jogging partner. He still has the energy of a young dog, but settles down nicely.

Preferring to be with his human, he gets a little anxious if left outside alone. This is a smart boy who will open doors with flipper handles if they are not locked. The previous owners had a cat and Jess ignored the cat he met at a volunteer's home.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added April 2014

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Jodine Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, April 19th from 11am to 2pm at the Rancho Cordova Adoption Day at Petsmart on Olson Drive!

Jodine

Jodine is a gorgeous 1 year old shepherd/husky mix. She has a thick sable coat and is a substantial girl weighing in at 70 lbs. Jodine was an unclaimed stray from a Sacramento area shelter so nothing is known about her background. She was probably an outdoor only dog as many experiences in the house seem very new to her.

Jodine is a high energy girl that likes to play play play. She would love a large male to rough and tumble with. Due to her energy level and exuberance, she should probably not go to a home with children under 10 years. Oh and no cats or small furry critters either.

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

Added March 2014

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Judge Head
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Judge

Judge is an extra-large 4-5 year old male, he is currently tipping the scale at 105 pounds and thinks he is a lap dog. He was an unclaimed stray from the Modesto area, so nothing is known of his background.

He is a friendly, affectionate, boy who walks fairly well on leash, rides well in the car, is house trained and uses a dog door to go outside. He is crate trained but will also sleep quietly on the floor all night.

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

Added September 2013

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Kymani Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, April 19th from 11am to 2pm at the Rancho Cordova Adoption Day at Petsmart on Olson Drive!

Kymani

Kymani is a 6 month old female Shepherd mix of some sort. She is very petite (weighing 38 lbs as of December '13) and probably won't get much bigger.

She currently lives in her foster home with 2 dogs and 2 cats. She likes to play quite rough with the resident shepherd, and they play for hours on end. She would definitely benefit from having a friend to play with. She may be small, but she can hold her own with the big dogs!

She has shown little interest in the resident cats, only wanting to chase them a little when they run, but she calls off easily and has learned not to. So she would be fine in a home with cats.

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

Added September 2013

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Mario Head
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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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Merlin Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, April 19th from 11am to 2pm at the Rancho Cordova Adoption Day at Petsmart on Olson Drive!

Merlin

Merlin is a stunning dark sable male. At about 18-24 months old, Merlin weighs in at approximately 70 lbs. He was an unclaimed stray at a local area shelter, so nothing is known about his background.

Merlin currently gets along with all of the large male and female dogs in his foster home. Like any untrained adolescent, Merlin still jumps up, paws you, and is mouthy, so might be too much for small children. He is learning house manners, but was probably an outdoor only dog in his previous home.

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

Added April 2014

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Porsche Head
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Porsche

Porsche aka Momma is a sweet 18-24 mo female who recently raised the five luxury speedster pups, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, DeLoreon, and Maserati. She was surrendered to a Sacramento shelter, almost ready to give birth, and nothing was known of her background. At 64 lbs., Porsche is still underweight from having the puppies and can stand to gain about 5-6 pounds.

Although asymptomatic, she tested positive for heartworms and is scheduled to be treated. She is our Rainbow Fund dog and donations to help with her treatment are always welcome and sorely needed.

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

Added February 2014

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Ramona Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, April 19th from 11am to 2pm at the Rancho Cordova Adoption Day at Petsmart on Olson Drive!

Ramona

Ramona is a very sweet 10-12 month old sable female with adorable airplane ears. She was an unclaimed stray from the Sacramento area so nothing is known about her background.

Every day is an adventure for Ramona, she is always enthusiastic to see what there is to see. She adjusts fairly well to new situations and is learning house manners. After proper introductions, Ramona gets along with most of the dogs she has met. Currently at her foster home, she lives with 2 dog savvy cats and she gets along great with the resident male GSD.

This is a High Level 2 Dog!

Added March 2014

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Rhonda Jo Head
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Rhonda Jo

Rhonda Jo is a beautiful Black and Cream female GSD. She was very pregnant when she came into our Foster Program. She was a stray from the Modesto area along with Rivera, who appears to have been the father of her 8 puppies, so nothing is known about her background. We have estimated her age to be about 2 years old. She weighs approximately 60 lbs. but could still use a few pounds.

She gave birth to 8 puppies on February 9th, who will be available in May. She did a good job raising them, for a first-time mama. Now that the puppies have been weaned, she is enjoying the leisure life.

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

Added April 2014

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Rohan Head
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Rohan

Rohan is a beautiful Black & Tan male GSD approximately 3 to 4 years old. He is an unclaimed stray rescued from the Modesto area, so nothing is known about his background. He has a good sized frame, but was extremely skinny. He has started to put on weight and should be about 75lbs. when he fills out completely.

He is the sweetest most lovable dog. He has been friendly to everyone he meets on outings. Rohan appears to have been an inside dog, as he has great house manners. He is house broken, rides great in the car, and heels nicely on a leash. He is learning to stay off of the furniture. He is difficult to get into a crate, and does not like sleeping in it.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added April 2014

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GSD Head
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Come meet me on Saturday, April 19th from 11am to 2pm at the Rancho Cordova Adoption Day at Petsmart on Olson Drive!

Ryan

Ryan is a large handsome bicolor male. He is about 2 years old, he came out of the shelter at about 70 lbs, but is on the thin side and probably should weigh 80 or 85 lbs. Ryan was surrendered to a Sacramento area shelter when his owners determined they did not have any time for him. According to the information left by the owners, Ryan was kept exclusively outside/in the garage.

Ryan has decided that indoor living is for him. He likes the soft beds, after a couple nights even knows his crate, and goes right in at bedtime. He has not had any accidents in the house, but has been watched very closely. Ryan is learning to settle in a bed in living room in the evenings.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added March 2014

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Shar Head
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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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Sidney Head
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Sidney

Sidney is an 18 month old petite black and tan female, who was an unclaimed stray from Modesto Shelter.

She is a busy girl, always on the move when she is outside at her foster home. Sidney displays herding behavior in a group of dogs, always out front of the group and weaving back and forth to control their movements. This little girl is always on alert, and watching all the goings on when outside with the pack, which consists currently of 8 dogs. She settles down nicely in the house, preferring to be in the security of her crate, or laying at the feet of her person. Sidney has not had an accident in the house, so appears to be house trained.

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

Added September 2013

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Zane Head
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Zane

Zane is 2 to 3 year old Malinois who weighs about 70 pounds. He is a higher energy boy who settles down in the house after a day of running and playing outside.

He has too much prey drive to go to a home with cats or birds. He has been friendly with everyone he has met thus far, and after proper introduction, has got along with other dogs.

He can be a bit clingy to his person, demanding attention by pushing his head into your lap, and not stopping without a firm correction.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added March 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.




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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Special Adoption Day!

From 11 am to 2 pm on April 5, 2013

Pet Food Express
2531 Fair Oaks Blvd.
Loehmann's Plaza
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 487-9999

 

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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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