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.

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.

Thank you for an amazing 2021 Big Day of Giving!

A big thank you to everyone who supported GCGSR during the 2021 Big Day of Giving event. We set a goal of $15,000 and exceeded it by $2,000. These funds will go a long way in helping our dogs waiting to be adopted.

Big Day of Giving Thank You



** Announcement: ALL Adoption Day's have been temporarily cancelled **

Update: July 14, 2020 - In light of Governor Newsom placing greater restrictions on California to attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, GCGSR has cancelled the upcoming July 18th Adoption Day at Pet Food Express - Land Park and the July 25th Adoption Day at Pet Food Express - Roseville. GCGSR will resume Adoption Day's when such restrictions are lifted and California moves into a better phase of recovery.

March 2020: Due to community health concerns related to COVID-19 (also know as the Coronavirus), Greater California German Shepherd Rescue along with our partners - Pet Food Express and PetSmart, have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend in-store adoption events.



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.

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.




"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.

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




Augusta Head
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SENIOR

Augusta

Augusta is an almost 8 year old black and tan female German Shepherd. She was originally adopted from us in October 2015 and returned May 2021 from a family that had to move and couldn't find a rental that took large dogs. During her life she was known by her family as Sadie. Although she is almost 8, she is quite spry. She is quite playful and would love nothing more than to jump on your lap. And, if you throw her favorite blue balls she will be your friend forever!

Augusta came into rescue at over 90 lbs which was a little stout for her frame and hip issues. She has slimmed down to 84 lbs and is still losing some weight.

She is somewhat slow to warm up to strangers, and should be supervised when new people come to her home. Like a cat, Augusta has a limit for petting when she is on her back. If her eyes widen and her mouth opens, it's time to step away. She was probably handled roughly previously, and can play inappropriately. As a result of that she also startles easily if you come up quietly behind her to pet. She'll whip her head around with widened eyes. This behavior subsides as she gets to know you and realizes you don't mean any harm. Once she knows you she is quick to come over for pets and scratches and is very sweet.

Augusta walks well on leash and also rides in a car well. For some reason, she does not like the bicycles or motorcycles she encounters on her walks. She was an only dog her whole life, so should probably be an only dog. This girl is housebroken, comes when called, sits and will sometime lay down when told.

Augusta LOVES pools! She is in the pool or spa multiple times a day. She swims like Esther Williams!

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

Added May 2021

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Darlin Head
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SPECIAL NEEDS

Darlin

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.

Added April 2021

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Tarko Head
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SENIOR

Tarko

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.

He came to us wild and with no manners. He is currently working on sitting nicely for attention instead of jumping up, basic obedience and house manners. He has made great progress and is thriving in his strict, but loving, foster home.

He gets along with other dogs but isn't playful with them. He was introduced to cats and showed little interest, so he may be able to live with them.

Tarko is looking for an experienced home without children. Everyone in the home needs to show leadership with him. He needs daily exercise for both his body and his brain. In the right home, Tarko will be an awesome dog!

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

Added March 2021

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

The Adoption Fee for Adult Dogs is $300.




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Cognac

Cognac is a 3-4 yo black and fawn picturesque male who is slightly underweight at 55 lbs. Like so many of our dogs, he was a stray without a story book of his past. However, since his arrival into our program, he has blossomed into one of our most versatile social butterflies. He will eagerly meet all dogs with joyous curiosity and do his best to invite play. He is a bit awkward in his play style and has a tendency to become overly aroused at times, so extra care and supervision is needed with small dogs. However, continued supervision during his initial dog- interactions with redirection is rapidly helping him develop appropriate play-manners.

This guy is endearing and will accept any opportunity for pets and face rubs. He is slowly learning to 'wait his turn' when he sees his co-foster receive human attention. When he receives affection, he may begin puppy-mouthing his human. Continued reminders that let him know this is not acceptable will allow him to settle properly as he enjoys his friendly rubs. He occasionally will jump with excitement after reuniting with his human, so caution with small children.

Cognac appears to have had limited exposures to the world, including indoor flooring where he sometimes will come to a standstill freeze. Because he is a curious boy, he will choose to follow the action and rapidly overcome this fear. He also came to us with a benign growth under the tongue and is scheduled for surgery very soon. Thus far, it is not interfering with his ability to enjoy his meals and yummy treats!

Aligned with his exuberant party-personality, he is eager to join in on any adventure including car rides and walks. However, in the home, he settles nicely on his dog beds where he waits patiently while his human is at work. Cognac is housebroken, accustomed to a dog door, and sleeps calmly in his crate through the night. His excellent house manners makes him a delightful household companion.

Cats and small critters unknown.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Added April 2021

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Grizzly Head
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Grizzly

Grizzly is a pretty 5-6 year old female with a black and red long coat, and is a perfect weight at 64 pounds. She was surrendered to a local shelter along with siblings from the same household and the dogs had been kept outdoor with little socialization.

Grizzly is housebroken and uses a dog door. She is crate trained and seems to find comfort in being in a crate. As long as other dogs are along, Grizzly enjoys car rides.

This girl is very aloof and does not seek out people for attention, however she seems to enjoy lying nearby her person whenever she sits down. She can be uncertain in new environments and with new people. No young children as they scare her. She enjoys being with other dogs of all sizes and therefore must go into a home with one or more other dogs. Grizzly has moderate energy and is overall a calm, quiet girl.

Grizzly walks well on leash and seems to enjoy her walks. Her forever home must continue her low impact exercise and should appreciate Grizzly's aloof nature.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Updated May 2021

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Spritz Head
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Spritz

Announcing the debut of latest Princess, Miss Spritz. She is a delightful 4 yo Sable female. Found stray, we do not know details about her past other than the fact that she suffered from chronic bilateral ear infections. With the generous support from TEAM (Teaching Everyone Animals Matter, a local non-profit organization), she received necessary surgical care which involved the removal of both ear canals. This procedure left her with two floppy ears; however, this adds soulful charm to her irresistible face. One thing for certain, this does not stop her from enjoying life to her fullest.

Daily walks and car rides have become familiar in her routine and have allowed her to build strength and stamina. She bursts with delight when she reunites with her human or engages in a game of ball. She can also switch into an impressive 'play-mode' with some of her canine friends, yet will settle rapidly onto her dog bed or open crate with respectful house manners.

This gal has a gentle personality that quickly warms up to meeting all people and dogs (large and small). Her craving for human company and need for reassurance can, however, obstruct one's personal space even when unexpected. Spritz will therefore do best in a home with the guidance of another dog that offers her the comfort she needs. She is housebroken and quite skilled using the dog door. During the night, she sleeps calmly in her crate.

The surgery left Spritz with limited hearing, although she does capture certain frequencies. She is learning to respond to hand and light signals, and takes welcomed guidance from her canine pack friends. Care is taken to avoid startling her when she is napping. Due to suspected food allergies which likely contributed to her ear condition, she is maintained on a supportive diet.

Few dogs possess such a charming demeanor as this gal. She will melt your heart when she gazes into your eyes with her grateful soul.

Cats and small critters are unknown.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Updated July 2021

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Suarez Head
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Suarez

Suarez is a handsome 3 to 5 year old sable male. He came to us through a local shelter so little is known of his background. He originally tested as heart-worm positive but has successfully completed his treatment.

While Suarez can be nervous in new environments and with new people, once he gets comfortable, this young boy is very affectionate and just wants to be with his humans. He loves car rides.

Suarez is always excited to go out for walks and walks well on a leash. He knows some basic commands such as sit and has learned to sit and wait for his food or to come in from outside.

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

Updated July 2020

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Zelda A Head
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Zelda A

Zelda is a higher energy, spirited, happy, and sweet girl about 5 to 7 years old. She is not a dog for a first-time owner but would be a great addition for a family with German Shepherd or similar breed experience who understands the need for structure, leadership, and training. She should not go to a home with young children due to a strong herding instinct.

Zelda gets along well with the other dogs in her foster home but you won't have squirrels or cats in your yard if she has her way. She can be a little dominate over a submissive pack mate so she would do best as an only dog or with a confident male.

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

Updated July 2020

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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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Adoption Days

** Announcement: ALL Adoption Day's have been temporarily cancelled **

From 11 am to 2 pm every month, rain or shine, at these locations!
For directions, please see our Events Calendar page.

** New Location for the Modesto Adoption Day **
Modesto
** CANCELLED, COVID-19 **

Second Saturday of every month in Modesto:
PetSmart  
3900 Sisk Road
Modesto, CA 95356
(209) 543-9176
(From Highway 99 - take the Standiford or Pelandale Exit
Next to Target and Bed Bath and Beyond)

Third Saturday of every month in Sacramento:
Pet Food Express - Sacramento  ** CANCELLED, COVID-19 **
Loehmann's Plaza
2531 Fair Oaks Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 487-9999
(between Fair Oaks and Munroe - halfway between Watt and Howe)

** CANCELLED, COVID-19 **

Fourth Saturday of every month in Roseville:
Pet Food Express

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

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