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.




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**Greater California German Shepherd Rescue**

2020 Calendars are now available to order

GCGSR 2018 Calendar





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.




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.




Coy Head
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Coy

Coy is a handsome black and tan, three-year-old male German Shepherd with a dash of white on his chest. He weighs 65 pounds but can stand to put on a little weight. He was a stray from a local shelter so nothing is known of his past.

Coy is currently very nervous and hides a lot. It takes awhile for him to feel comfortable with new people, places and cars. He does bark however when someone is on your doorstep. So far he has shown low energy.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Added January 2020

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Haley Head
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Haley

Haley is a pretty two year old black and tan female weighing 75 lbs. She was a stray from a local shelter, so we have no background information on her.

She is an affectionate, friendly and very playful girl. She is getting along with another German Shepherd and a small terrier type dog in her foster home. She does exert her dominance over the small dog, so she requires supervision when they are together. She is still in need of lots of chew toys and is learning not to counter surf.

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

Added January 2020

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Kessi Ann Head
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Kessi Ann

Kessi Ann is an intelligent, loving, black and tan female, approximately 7 yrs old and weighs 68 lbs. She was originally a breeding dog, however not much more is known about her past. She was brought to us by a good Samaritan who rescued her from the breeder.

Kessi has had good house manners in her foster home and is fully housebroken and knows how to use a dog door. She absolutely loves to go on walks and short hikes (~5 miles) and is a joy to walk with. She mostly keeps to herself while on the leash unless given the opportunity to sniff other dogs or humans, though she sometimes gives a bit of a pull towards small dogs, cats, and squirrels to investigate.

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

Added January 2020

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Merc Head
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Merc

Merc is a stout 80 pound 12- 18 month old boy. He was pulled from a local shelter after a month when he was not re-claimed or adopted. He was picked up by authorities after evading Animal Control officers for a couple hours by jumping fences through several backyards. Merc is an energetic athletic boy who can be a bit mouthy when excited or protesting. He will pull if given the chance, so a correction collar such as a prong collar is needed when walking him. He is very amenable to corrections, and is eager to learn, but does need a handler who is clear with expectations. He sleeps quietly in a crate all night in his fosters bedroom, and settles nicely in the house after a walk to burn off his energy. He rides nicely in a vehicle, easily jumping in and out.

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

Added September 2019

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Shocon Head
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Shocon

Shocon was a stray from a local shelter so not much is known of his background. He has a lovely black and tan coat, and the most spectacular auburn eyes. He has a large frame weighing just less than 100 lbs. He is in good physical condition and at his ideal weight.

Shocon has excellent leash manners, and makes daily walks enjoyable. He is very attentive to his human, and not easily distracted by other animals.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Added October 2019

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Suarez Head
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Suarez

Suarez is a handsome 18 month 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.

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. He appears housebroken and is OK in a crate.

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

Added April 2018

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Terex Head
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Terex

Terex is a striking black and tan male German Shepherd approximately 2 - 3 years old. He is an unclaimed stray from a Modesto area shelter, so nothing is known of his background.

He loves to go for rides in the car. He is house broken. Terex occasionally pulls on the leash when excited, but corrects easily.

This is a Level 2 Dog.

Added January 2020

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Trinity Lynn Head
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Trinity Lynn

Trinity Lynn is a cute black and tan 9 month old female who weighs about 50 lbs. She was a stray from a local shelter so we have no background information on her.

This girl is housebroken and uses a doggy door. She knows the sit command and is pretty good with the "leave it" command. She is learning house manners but is having a tough time with the off command, will jump on people in excitement and is still very mouthy. For these reasons, she should not go into a home with young children or with people unstable on their feet.

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

Added December 2019

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Zelda A Head
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Zelda A

Zelda is a high energy, spirited, happy, sweet girl about 3 or 4 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.

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.

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

Added July 2019

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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

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

Riverbank (Modesto)
Second Saturday of every month in Riverbank (Modesto):
Petco
Crossroads Shopping Center
2341 Claribel Road
Riverbank, CA 95367
(209) 863-1384

Sacramento

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

Roseville

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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