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.




** 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.




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SENIOR

Dex

Dex is a 10.5 year old black and tan 90 lb male. He was raised by one family who developed health issues (theirs not his) and could no longer care for him.

Dex loves being with humans and dog friends alike. He is house-broken and working really well with the dog door. He was an outside only dog, yet really enjoys being indoors now. He follows his humans around and sometimes likes to chat if he feels ignored. He hangs out peacefully with other dogs.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Added June 2020

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SPECIAL NEEDS

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. Based on X-rays and a physical exam by our vet, Grizzly has a decreased range of motion in her hips and is also showing signs of spondylosis (arthritis in her spine) by the occasional dragging of her rear feet. Anti-inflammatory medication is given daily to keep her comfortable.

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 is a Level 2 Dog.

Added June 2020

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SENIOR

Ida

Ida is an 8 yo, mostly tan senior female weighing approximately 75 lbs. She was found as a stray, so we do not know much about her. Upon arrival to our group, she was understandably confused and "lost", searching for her former life. Within a short period, however, she has calmed down to enjoy the company of many fellow dogs and adult humans in the home environment.

Ida is housebroken and has good house manners. She is rather anxious at times, but will slowly warm up to you with her gentle soul. While she is 'low energy', she is eager to go on walks and join you on car rides. It is apparent that nothing pleases her more than to be by your side. However, this girl needs time to adjust to those moments where she is left alone.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Added April 2020

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SENIOR/SPECIAL NEEDS

Moses

Moses is a Handsome 8 yo Black and Tan male weighing 80 lbs. He was originally found as a stray when he first arrived to us 3 years ago. While we do not know much about his early past, he was returned to us after living with a family for 3 years due to a change in job location. As always, Moses remains very social and curious. Like many dogs, he displays moments of hesitation with some new experiences, however he will eagerly join you with positive and confident leadership. Due to years of living outdoors, he used to avoid all tile/linoleum floors. Happily, this has been completely overcome. In fact, Moses finds the indoors to be his preferred sanctuary where he often may entice play even on slippery surfaces.

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

Updated July 2020

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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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Easton

Easton is a big, handsomme male who is 2 to 3 years old and was found as a stray, so not much is known of his past.

He is a big, bouncy, and a bit mouthy waiting for the right handler to show him the ropes. Easton is crate trained and working on his house manners.

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

Added July 2020

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Firbol

Firbol is a gorgeous red and black two year old adult male that was a stray from a local shelter. Although he was initially underweight at 80 pounds and had some minor skin issues and hair loss, it is hard to tell with his long coat. He is a straightforward dog that reliably drinks his water, eats his food, takes his medicine, and is agreeable to grooming and bathing. He is responding to care, progressing well and now has some pep in his step as when he is on 3 mile daily walks with the foster family's resident dog. In the yard, he has started running alongside the foster family's dog and is discovering toys and monitoring the yard for squirrels.

Firbol loves to be with his people and rests quietly nearby in the same room as much as possible. He is housebroken and learning the commands of sit, down and come. He enjoys riding in the car and the stimulation of being outbound.

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

Added July 2020

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Gina

Gina is a small female (around 50 lbs) and is just under a year old. She came into a shelter as a stray with superficial injuries and wearing a cone, but no owner claimed her.

This cutie is a playful, friendly girl. She greets people politely on leash and loves her walks. She is treat motivated and is quick to catch on to new obedience lessons.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Added August 2020

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Maui

Maui was pulled from a local shelter as a stray so nothing is known of her past. If she could be described in three words they would be loving, loyal, and companion.

Maui is a beautiful spayed 2-year female black and tan German Shepherd. She had a few sores on her back-right leg that have healed up nicely. Maui was a quick introduction to the large breed family of pups (2 male / 1 female) and a 6 month old Catahoula puppy in her foster home. She is respectful of dog savvy cats. She loves going on car rides and does not get sick on the winding roads.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Added August 2020

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Simona

Simona is a striking 2 yo bi-colored female, currently underweight at less than 60 lbs. She was found as a stray, so not much is known about her previous life. This girl is a true dog's dog filled with a delightful puppy-soul who will spontaneously romp with bursts of joy with her canine companions.

It is evident that this girl chooses her canine pack mates over human companionship. In fact, she is very content spending her days with other dogs in the safe outdoors, then retreat to her quiet zone for rest and safe slumber.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Updated July 2020

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Sinead

Sinead (pronounced sha-nayd, like the bald singer Sinead O'connor) is a red and black cute female, underweight at about 52 lbs. and almost two years old. She was a stray from a local shelter, so nothing is known of her background.

She was extremely underweight and missing a lot of her fur when she first came to us. She has had at least one litter of puppies. Once her hair fully returns (will likely have a plush coat) and she gets to a healthy weight, she will be stunning. Despite her rough start, she has the sweetest disposition and is a happy girl.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Added July 2020

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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

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.




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Bindi

Bindi is an adorably sweet 5 month old white and blonde female weighing about 55 lbs and growing. She was found by a Good Samaritan, who tried for two months to find the owner with no luck, so surrendered her to us. Common in large breed dogs, she has pan osteitis aka growing pains in a rear leg but no serious problems. This is easily resolved with anti-inflammatories, pain meds and rest.

Bindi is in a foster home with a 3 year old large male German Shepherd, a 6 year old female German Shepherd and a 13 year old male German Shepherd and is good with all of them. If she is uncertain of their approach with her, she submits by rolling on her back. She had previously been kept as an outside only dog, but she prefers the cool house, comfy beds and to be by her human.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Added August 2020

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Still Looking?

Can't find a dog you've been looking at? Check our Adoption Pending page to see if the dog has gone to a new Foster-to-Adopt home, or our Recent Adoptions page to see if the dog has been adopted.

Didn't find exactly the dog you'd like to adopt? Check out the Owner Referral Dogs for other dogs that aren't in our program.




Courtesy Listings

Owner Referrals & Independent Rescuers

We will list spayed/neutered and vaccinated German Shepherd Dogs or mostly-GSDs for owners or other smaller rescuers who wish to rehome their own dogs on our Owner Referral Dogs page. These dogs are not in our program and we can make no assurances about the accuracy of the listings.  

Lost Dogs

Nothing is more heartbreaking than losing a beloved companion. We will post your missing dog for you on our Lost Dogs page!

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GCGSR Dog Rating Levels

Please note there are no universal Rating Levels for dogs; this is how we rate OUR dogs. Other groups may use different rating levels for their dogs.

All German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) share certain traits, that's what makes them a German Shepherd. These dogs generally mature into serious individuals and tend to be more discriminating about their circle of friends. Most are not "dogpark" dogs as adults.

ALL German Shepherds:

  • Are intelligent, energetic, powerful, alert, bossy, noisy and mouthy (like to use their teeth)
  • Are protective, possessive and territorial, and usually won’t let strangers walk in the door
  • Are control freaks with strong herding drive (instincts), and usually have strong prey drive
  • Shed all year long, and will shed twice as heavily in the spring and fall
  • Need ongoing socialization, structure, leadership, exercise, training and affection
  • Need to be made a part of the family, and are not good as outside-only dogs
  • Need a purpose in life, or will find their own amusements by barking, chewing, digging and escaping

The Dog Rating Levels are based on the GSD’s inherent drives, confidence, attitude and personality. The higher the Rating Level, the more confident and demanding the dog is, and the more of everything the dog will require. Young dogs under 2 years old will probably mature up a Level. Don’t mistake a smaller size for an easier dog!
Note: Any dog can exhibit atypical behavior under stressful conditions.

Level 1 – Soft & Submissive

  • Very submissive, born followers not interested in taking a leadership role. Willing to go along and get along, and try to avoid trouble. Sweet, soft, mellow or timid, can easily be overwhelmed.
  • Usually Low to Moderate Energy. May need socializing, housebreaking, house manners. Suitable for senior or sedentary households, will enjoy occasional walks, trips in the car, or light play sessions.
  • If needs are not met, can become clingy, needy, fearful or overly-submissive. Can submissively urinate, can develop Separation Anxiety.
  • This level is rare for this breed.

Level 2 – Moderate & Adaptable

  • Balanced mix of confidence and submissiveness. Middle of the road dogs, fairly eager to please. Will occasionally test leadership abilities, but really don’t want to be the leader.
  • Usually Moderate Energy, can range from Low to High, which can be satisfied with daily walks and play or training time. Need some basic obedience lessons, then may need occasional refresher courses.
  • If needs are not met, can be insecure leaders and can become overly protective, possessive, and territorial. Can develop Separation Anxiety.
  • This level fits the widest variety of households.

Level 3 – Confident & Challenging

  • Confident with very little submissiveness, the standard breed temperament. Assertive and pushy, will challenge leadership status. Independent problem-solvers that will try to out-think their owners.
  • Usually Moderate to High Energy. Need a job, with physical and mental exercise regularly for life.
  • If needs are not met, can take over household in a hot second. Can become destructive or escapists.
  • This is the most common level in rescue.

Level 4 – Competitive & Intense

  • Very confident, very pushy, extremely competitive, adrenaline junkies. Usually ball, toy or prey obsessed. Very high drive and high focus, will often scream, whine and nip in frustration to DO SOMETHING, NOW!
  • Very High Energy, always in high gear. Need several hours of physical and mental challenge every day, live to outwit, outplay and outlast everyone else. Never slow down, never wear out, never shut up.
  • If needs are not met, can become obsessive and very destructive.
  • Ideal for working K9 dogs or for competitive dog sports such as agility, flyball, herding and Schutzhund.

Level 5 – Tough & Serious

  • Supremely confident, have high energy, high focus, and high fight drive. Love to fight, and willing to back everything up with their teeth. Serious dogs who measure everyone for weakness. True tough guys, will never give up and will go down fighting.
  • Very High Energy. Needs highly structured life with a full-time job. Not suitable for the family home.
  • If needs are not met, can bite and become dominantly aggressive.
  • We will never knowingly bring this dog into rescue.
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Adoption Days

** 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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