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

Our Wonderful Dogs

Grizzly 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.

Please contact us about our adoptable adoptable dogs!

GCGSR is holding safe, social distancing, private
Meet & Greets with potential adopters.

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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

A new online Adoption Questionnaire and Supplemental Puppy Questionnaire is now available on the Adoption Info page.

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.

The Adoption Fee for a Special Needs or Senior Dog is $100.

Annabelle Head

Annabelle's adoption fee of $100.00 has been sponsored.

Special Needs


Annabelle is a beautiful six year old that spent her first years chained outside to a tree. When she came to us, she had needed an embedded collar removed and treatment for flea allergies, malnutrition and 2 very painful ear infections. She has had her two lower canine teeth and one other front tooth removed because she broke them off trying to get off of the chain. Even with all this happening, she is a wonderfully affectionate and gentle girl.

She has helped in the raising of four different puppies that were being fostered in the home. She has gotten along with the smaller terrier mix that is in the home. Upon first introduction to new people she is appropriately cautious but warms up quickly. She has been subjected to the attention of a two-year-old toddler and was very calm and tolerant.

Annabelle will be a special-needs dog due to the issues with her spine and hips. These issues are being treated with a nerve pain medication and she is very stable. She will do best in a home where she is not required to climb any stairs and has carpeted floor areas so that her legs don't slip. She is hoping for a family that can give her light to moderate daily exercise to keep her joints loose. She's very much enjoys car rides but needs help getting in the vehicle.

She will be happiest when she is around her humans.

Cats and small critters unknown.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Darlin Head

Special Needs


Darlin is a sweet, black & red long-haired female shepherd. She is a lovely companion and aims to be with her people and checks in on all the members of her foster family. She enjoys car rides, road trips, and short walks. Darlin needs a home that enjoys her company and affection and that reliably give her daily medication.

This lovely girl enjoys being inside and is well suited to the work-at-home lifestyle. She uses dog doors to enter the house from the yard, and is learning to use them to go outside. Because she doesn't want to miss out on anything going on indoors, she needs her person to periodically take her out to relieve. She is overall house clean and well-mannered indoors, and her foster family is able to leave her with access to the house unsupervised. If she does need to go out, she walks in circles to signal.

Originally a stray, her estimated age was 6 years, although she is now feeling better and acting younger. Darlin is well-managed on medication for her thyroid and arthritis and had images taken at the vet that showed moderate hip dysplasia, arthritis, and spondylosis. She wags her tail when she greets people, even though a closer look shows that it is broken. She may do better in a household without many stairs required for daily use. She can climb two steps in her foster home and a flight on a road trip, and would do well with an environment that is easy to navigate. She can independently climb into a small car and climb up to sit in the back seat, and cooperates and helps when being loaded into a larger vehicle.

To help clear skin issues, for now she is on medication, a prescription diet, and was recently professionally groomed and had her coat trimmed to its current short length. Note the attached photos show how she appears before and after grooming. She is becoming more active and fit, and although she weighs in at 93 lbs., her weight loss journey may show that she is closer to a 75-80 lbs. dog.

She gets along with a well-behaved older male shepherd in her foster home and at another volunteer's home. She can manage to walk well in a group of shepherds, and can also be grumbly around puppies and animated, unpredictable dogs. A small verbal correction or slight tug on the leash helps her settle if she alert barks when meeting new people, new animals, and unusual things in her environment. (She has had limited experience with cats and children in her initial foster home, and lived with caged birds and goats at one time.)

Unlike some shepherds, she is a fairly low activity dog that only needs short daily walks and that can be managed with a pleasant voice and flat collar. If you are looking for a sweet companion, Darlin could be your girl.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Momma Mia Head

Special Needs

Momma Mia

Momma Mia, aka Mia, is a black and tan female who is approximately 10 years old weighing about 65 lbs. She came into rescue from a local area shelter so little is known of her background.

Mia was found at the shelter curled up on a bed in the corner of her run. She had just arrived at the shelter about 12 hours earlier and the shelter thought she was 13+ years old due to her poor body condition. She would not approach the volunteer calling to her from the gate of the run, so he went in to meet her and was greeted with a roll over for a belly rub. He complied and Mia gladly accepted the lead and went to the play yard. Under evaluation in the play yard, she was in very poor body condition with a wobbly back end, two-to three-inch-long nails and mammary tumors which had to weigh 5-10 pounds. She was so sweet and nice the volunteer couldn't leave her at the shelter, so he asked to foster her for the shelter until her stray hold was up. No one came to claim Mia, so she is now in rescue.

Mia has had her mammary tumors removed, which were benign, she's had all four feet nail trimmed to get her nails back to a normal length and is now a perfect weight. Mia does have arthritis and takes anti-inflammatory meds and still has a bit of a wobbly back end. Her wobbly back end is much improved with daily walks and playtime with the two puppies she's been fostered with.

Mia is an absolute doll and house princess with impeccable house manners and is an amazing companion pet. She will be your shadow and follow you everywhere, then plop on a bed and curl up for a nap. At some point in her life, someone worked with her as she knows all the basic commands and will work for treats and she loves to be trained!

She might be a house princess, but she wants to go, go, go. She wants out of the house and to be part of the world. She loves her walks and to be taken to pet friendly establishments. Everyone who has met Mia loves her and she just eats up the attention.

Mia is being fostered with a bunch of GSDs, resident and foster, and gets along with all, but she has a special affinity for puppies. Her foster dad has had two puppies since Mia came to his house and she's become best friends with both. She loves to play with them and you would think this girl is six years old when she's playing with the puppies.

The ideal home for Mia would be a home who wants a turn key, lovely companion pet who wants to go everywhere with you and when done, snuggle up in the nearest bed. She seems to enjoy the company of the resident dogs and playful young dogs, but we believe she could be an only dog.

Even though Mia is older, you would be missing out if you don't look at this girl!

Cats and small critters unknown.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Tarko Head



Tarko is a German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix and has the energy to prove it! He came to us when his neglectful owner was pressured by dog-lovers and PETA to surrender him to a shelter. We estimate him to be 8 years old.

From his torn ear to his partially amputated tail, his body shows the rough life he has had. He doesn't let his past affect his love for people though! He loves belly rubs and is friends with anyone that will play fetch with him.

Tarko is an energetic, determined boy. He can get easily frustrated and becomes mouthy, especially towards hands. He needs consistent leadership and strict rules, and works well with praise or treats.

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


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.

Amos Head


Amos is an active 8-month old pup. He was a stray at a local shelter, so nothing is known of his background.

Amos is happy to play chase and wrestle with other dogs outside. Indoors, he is learning to relax on a dog bed and chew dog toys. He is quite the goofy puppy at times, chasing the cat just for fun or prancing around with a ball.

He loves to be with his people, and jumps up to get attention or to be let indoors. He is learning to sit to get what he wants, but still needs to work on his manners. Because of this, older kids and people steady on their feet will be a better match for him. He walks on a loose leash, but isn't sure how to heel correctly yet. He goes to bed when told in his crate.

While Amos is still working on his manners, he's making progress and will be a great companion for a home ready to invest in continuing his training.

Cats and small critters unknown.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Felipe Head


Felipe is a 2 year old Black and Tan boy. He came out of a local shelter so nothing is known about his background.

Felipe has nice house manners and is house broken with the use of a dog door. He sleeps nicely in a crate in his foster mom’s room at night but can also sleep freely as well.

Felipe does best when he is getting regular exercise such as daily walks. He walks nicely on a leash and responds quickly to corrections as needed.

Felipe currently lives with an 8 year old female shepherd and loves to try and entice her to play. If she doesn’t want to play he will take the hint and go find a nice place to lay down near her or his humans.

Cats and small critters unknown.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Gent Head


Gent is a one year old silver shepherd. He is very affectionate and loves to play. Like most young dogs, he often forgets his own size when playing with people and other dogs.

Gent is housebroken with the use of a dog door to the yard and sleeps nicely in a crate at night. He might be able to sleep freely at night but he has a harder time understanding when it's still bed time for everyone else if he is allowed to sleep loose.

Gent is working on learning the rest of his manners for inside the house and for playing or hanging out with his human companions. He is a happy boy who wants to be loved and please his people so he corrects pretty easily but he requires structure and needs reminders when the puppy brain starts to take over.

Gent loves to go out for walks to explore what's out in the world. He can be a little nervous with new experiences but quickly adapts and is ready to try the next thing. He walks fairly well on leash but still has a little trouble with cars passing by while out on walks. As long as you keep on moving he will slowly keep trekking along and catch back up as soon as the car has passed. Regular walks and continued structure and exposure should help him adjust as he does with most other experiences.

While Gent is a happy and playful boy, he can be a bit of a bull in a china shop and knock just about anything over when excited. For this reason he may not be a great match for young kids. He has not be tested with cats or other small animals.

Gent will make a great addition to a lucky family that is willing to provide him with the training and structure to bring out the best in him while also including him in their daily lives and activities.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Grace Head


Grace is a 1-2 year old Black and Tan female with a somewhat freckled face. She is on the small side at around 55 lbs. She is underweight. She came from a local shelter, so nothing is known of her past. She appears to have had at least one litter of puppies.

Grace was extremely timid when she arrived. It doesn't appear she was ever let out of a crate as everything was new for her: floors, stairs, pools, bushes…you name it. The first time she went on a walk she spent the whole time trying to cower under parked cars. However, with time, this little girl is really blossoming. She loves playing with her big brother, Jett, and is learning how to navigate life.

She walks well on leash, but can still be scared by loud noises. She is housebroken and has learned how to use a dog door.

She knows come, sit and is working on down.

This little girl promises to be a really great dog.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Huck Head


Huck is a small Black and Tan male, 7.5 months old and up to 34 lbs. He was a stray from a local shelter so we have no details of his past.

Huck is a nervous boy and slow to warm up to new dogs and people. Once he does, he's affectionate and loves to play. He's a bit of a drama queen if he thinks he's going to be hurt and doesn't tolerate a prong collar for that reason. He's mostly housebroken and will use a dog door. He would do best in a home with another confident, playful dog to provide him security when in public. He's curious about the resident cat, but shows no sign of aggression toward her. Nylabones and toys are necessary to redirect any unacceptable chewing.

Huck sits for his meal and will lay down when told if you're eating or don't want to be pestered by him. Formal obedience training and socialization are needed to make this young boy into a great dog.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Miss Daisy Head

Miss Daisy

Miss Daisy is 6-7 year-old black and tan female Shepherd weighing 68lbs. She came into rescue with an 11 lbs. tumor hanging from her abdomen. The tumor was not cancerous and has been removed. She has healed from the surgery and is ready to find her forever home.

When she first came into rescue, she suffered from separation anxiety. When left alone at home, she would whine and occasionally becomes destructive. Miss Daisy would do well in a home where someone is home most of the time, and a slow transition into a daily routine of time away from her humans.

Miss Daisy loves human affection and would love nothing more than to be in the company of her people. She is learning to wait her turn when other dogs are receiving attention.

She is currently fostered in a home with another adult female GSD and 2 adult male GSDs. She gets along well with all of the dogs, and loves to play with the other female in the home. She is crate trained, but is allowed to sleep on a dog bed in her foster mom's bedroom at night with the other dogs, without any incidents.

She knows basic commands, such as sit, off, and leave it. We are still working on leash manners as she has a tendency to pull on the leash. Gentle corrections are needed as she has a tendency to pancake to the floor if a raised voiced is used.

She will look at you with her soulful eyes as she tries to sneak onto the couch, but will happily choose the dog bed when corrected. She is housebroken with the use of a dog door.

Miss Daisy does exhibit some prey drive, so a home without cats or small dogs is a must.

She is looking for a home that will continue her socialization, training, and help her to build her confidence.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Shane Head


Shane is over a year old, half German Shepherd, the rest Border Collie & Australian Shepherd. He came into our program as a small, fearful puppy. He wasfound in a dumpster as a small, timid puppy.

He is still untrusting of people. He will come to his foster mom for attention, but any sudden movements startle him. He adores other dogs though! His ears perk & his tail wags when he's in their company. He runs & plays & has a smile on his face!

Positive reinforcement will help him learn what is expected of him and help him become less fearful. He's a great dog to have around as a pal for another dog. He's crate trained & housebroken and settles nicely in the house. He walks well on leash and he enjoys his walks once he becomes familiar with the route. He lives with cats and ignores them when they don't run. When they do run, it's sometimes a playful game of chase that can be quickly ended with a stern "Shane..." or swat from the cat.

Shane is looking for a special person or family that will take the time to go slow, has a playful dog, and will give him a happy home like every dog deserves.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Scar Head


Scar Is an all black, 5 year-old male German Shepherd who weighs 75 pounds. He was surrendered to a local shelter so nothing is known of his past. He had a mass removed from his face at the shelter, the same time he was neutered recently. The mass was tested and was benign, so there are no concerns, except to make sure the wound heals properly.

He has a good appetite, knows some basic commands and heals well on walks. Scar is friendly to his foster and is a good alarm barker with a nice deep voice. He jumps in the car with enthusiasm and rides well. He currently sleeps quietly in a crate at night in a large room where all the dogs are crated all night. He is currently in a home with two other male German shepherds and one female German shepherd. He did get into an altercation over a toy. He really loves all toys but his favorite is a ball. He will set the ball at your feet and stand back and wait for you to throw it for him. The only problem is he is quite possessive of toys and balls so if he goes to a home with another dog there can’t be anything he perceives as a toy. With a dog that resource guards additional care is needed if he's around other dogs. We are uncertain how he'd respond toward children, so older children only in his forever home. Some people choose to not allow toys at all if they have a multiple dog household in order to maintain order.

Regular exercise and a formal obedience class will help him bond to his new people.

Cats and small critters unknown

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


Shaeffer Head


Shaeffer is a 3 yo Black and Tan male with an impressive stature. He is currently underweight at 75 lbs, but he is making good progress on rebuilding strength and stamina. Although the story of his youth is unknown, he has puppy-curiosity and is responding remarkably well to human partnership.

While he was in the loud shelter environment, Shaeffer displayed constant high-energy with rough play behaviors. Once he adapted to the comforts of a quiet indoor life, however, he is showing quite the opposite. He enjoys being with his human in the home where lounging on his extra-large dog bed has become his favorite pass time. Add a belly-rub and he is your best friend! Daily walks with short intervals of play (monitored for assertiveness) with his foster-mate appear to satisfy his exercise needs. This may expand, of course, as he builds more muscle and strength.

Given his puppy-nature, he uses his height to his advantage by occasionally searching the counters for any unattended goodies, or to greet his humans face-to-face (in case you didn't notice him) to give you kisses. This is diminishing with consistent corrections and discovering that food and affection are no longer scarcities in his world. Even at ground-level, there are no shortages of kisses from this boy.

Shaeffer walks well on a leash and is becoming more eager for his car rides. He sleeps in a crate at night and is housebroken with a dog door. If you are searching for a new family member, this guy has the characteristics that make him a wonderful loving companion.

Cats and small critters unknown.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Tig Head


Tig is a 2 year old Belgian Malinois, possibly with a little German shepherd mixed in. Tig came to us from the local shelter so little is known of his background. Tig say on the shelters adoption floor for nearly 2 months being over looked, no clue why as this boy is very sweet and loves people. As soon as the GCGSR evaluator took him out of his kennel, he flopped on the floor and asked for belly rubs.

Tig greets other dogs appropriately and has great leash manners. He can be a little fearful of new things such as a quad or riding in the car but he recovers quickly. Tig is working on his potty training and is learning the luxuries of being able to be inside the home. He loves going into his crate and sleeps quietly in there. Tig is very people oriented and wants to spend every second of his life with them or touching them. When he first comes out of his kennel, he grabs your hands with his mouth. Even though it's a very soft grab, he is learning this behavior isn't acceptable along with jumping or climbing up in your lap when you sit down. Typical to most Malinois, he often likes to have a toy or something in his mouth. He enjoys munching on a chew or a chew toy, if he doesn't have one he will try to make a toy out of other objects such as shoes or food bowls. Tig does haven't any ball drive but he does have a pretty good energy level, so physical exercise is necessary to keep him happy. Tig will do just about anything for food and is pretty good about not wandering too far off while on off leash walks with his foster mom.

Tig can be a little unsure when a more pushy, dominate dog approaches. He would do best with a dog with similar play styles and not with one that is overly pushy.

It is unknown how Tig would do with cats or small furry critters. Due to his excessive mouthy behavior, Tig is considered a level 3 dog.

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


Tito Head


Tito is a 2 year old Belgian Malinois with rather unique markings. He is a tall and lean boy, weighing at about 70 lbs. Tito came to us sick and underweight, but with good food and some vet care he has filled out and feels much better. Even when he wasn't feeling well, he was sweet as sugar.

Tito came to us from a very crowded local shelter where he spent 2 months on the adoption floor. We have no idea how he was not adopted as he is great — looks and personality wise! Tito is currently fostered on a ranch type setting with multiple other dogs. The neighbors do have livestock and Tito shows some prey drive towards them through the fence. He likes to say hi to his foster brother through the kennel every chance he gets and enjoys taking walks around the property or running next to the quad. When he runs, he has the biggest smile on his face with a goofy full stride run. As much as he loves his runs, he's actually a pretty mellow boy for a Malinois. Tito is very person oriented and wants to be with his human as much as possible. A home where he is included in the family and daily activities is a must.

Tito loves the car. He tries to get in every chance he gets and go for a ride. He is potty trained, crate trained and working on his leash manners. Tito does not have any ball drive or drive for any other tug toys. He enjoys a bully stick on a dog bed where he can see his person. Tito is learning that jumping is an inappropriate form of saying hello or I missed you to his foster mom, when he jumps up or stands on his back legs he's nearly 6 ft tall.

No cats, small furry critters, or poultry.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Vegas Head


Vegas is a lean and tall 1.5 year old German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix who came to us after spending nearly 3 months at the local shelter. Vegas was surrendered to the shelter after his owner passed away where due to shelter overcrowding, he was constantly overlooked. Vegas was said to have lived with two little dogs prior to coming to the shelter.

Vegas is an active boy who is just jazzed to be alive. He loves people and other dogs, so much he is getting some help from his foster mom, who is a dog trainer, to learn what personal space is. He is being taught that all four paws belong on the ground and jumping up to give kisses isn't always appropriate. He is crate trained and learning 'place', or a go to your bed command which has helped him settle down in the home. He is also learning not to pull on a leash or walk up and greet every dog and person he sees.

While at the shelter, Vegas did need a kennel with a secure top on it as he was climbing out. We think this was due to overstimulation and stress in the shelter environment as he has not displayed this behavior in his foster home, but a home with a securely fenced yard and supervision is strongly recommended.

Vegas would do best in a home with an active family, older children as he can be very jumpy and exuberant and may knock small kids over and someone who will continue proper socialization and boundaries. Vegas is a dog who will require daily mental and physical stimulation to have his needs met. He is a smart boy and if he's bored, he will find something to do. Vegas doesn't care much for the ball or other tug toys but he does enjoy something to chew on.

It is unknown how Vegas does with cats and small critters.

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



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.

Blackjack Head


Blackjack is a 5 month old male. He came to us as an owner surrender with his three brothers, Coalton, Gibson, and Gretsch. They are a little slow to warm up to new things, but they love to play with other dogs their size.

More information to come as we get to know him better.

Cats and small critters unknown.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Coalton Head


Coalton is a very affectionate 5 month old male. He came to us as an owner surrender with his three brothers, Blackjack, Gibson, and Gretsch. He gets along with other dogs, sleeps well in a crate, and enjoys being with his human or just laying out on the back deck, enjoying the outdoors.

Coalton gets along with the other GSD's in the house, and loves to play with the young 3 mo foster Maisy. He is working towards pottty training, using a dog door most of the time. He still has an occasional accident when it is dark outside as he is still a litlte unsure about new situations. Coalton rides well in a car and does not get sick on the winding roads home. He is still learning to walk on a leash, but does great overall.

Cats and small critters unknown.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


gibson Head


Gibson is a 5 month old male. He came to us as an owner surrender with his three brothers, Coalton, Blackjack, and Gretsch. They are a little slow to warm up to new things, but they love to play with other dogs their size.

More information to come as we get to know him better.

Cats and small critters unknown.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


Gretsch Head


Gretsch is a 5 month old male. He came to us as an owner surrender with his three brothers, Coalton, Gibson, and Blackjack. They are a little slow to warm up to new things, but they love to play with other dogs their size.

More information to come as we get to know him better.

Cats and small critters unknown.

This is a Level 2 Dog.


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 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.