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.

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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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.

Evita Head



Evita is a cute, funny and charming mature lady around 5-6 years old and average-sized at around 65 pounds. She was a stray in a local shelter, so her background is unknown, but she came to us with decent house manners and takes direction well with a good understanding of most basic obedience. She's very food-driven, and will try to stay as close to the kitchen as allowed, but understands when told to get out of the kitchen. She will sit (after spinning in circles a couple of times first) and wait for her meals, will speak on command, and understands coming in and going outside, and has decided that having a dog-door is the coolest thing in the world. Once she discovered she could go in and out as she pleased, she spent a whole day doing just that.

This feisty girl is very well-socialized to people and dogs, and lives quite comfortably with two mature male German Shepherds, although she tends to be very bossy and would really rather have all the attention and toys for herself.

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

Added January 2018


Grace Head



Grace is a pretty black and tan female who is approximately 8 year old now. Animal Control picked her up in a small rural town in Yolo County, and her family never came for her. She was adopted out in 2016 and was returned in 2017, approximately a year after being adopted, because she was too much to handle for her new owners.

Grace was a little timid and uneasy when approached by new people when she was returned. However now she loves to be pet and get attention from any human. She knows basic commands and walks on a leash well. She is house trained and currently left free in the house when left alone; she has a dog door to go outside whenever she wants to.

No cats or small furry critters!

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

Updated January 2017, Added October 2015


King Head



King is an 8.5 month old, handsome, large sable male weighing 71 lbs. He was surrendered by his original owners when they learned he has a dislocated left hip and signs of hip dysplasia on his right hip.

This boy had previously lived with children about 10 years old and up. He is currently living with three German Shepherds and a cat. He is being given pain meds and anti-inflammatory meds and he's feeling much better. He tries to play with some of the other dogs, but is not up to chasing them. Originally an outdoor only dog, King had a few accidents and took a few days to accept the crate at night.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added January 2018


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.

Banks Head


Banks is a 4-5 year old black male with silver feet. He was abandoned at a training/boarding facility several years ago. The facility is now closing, and asked us to find him a home.

Banks is a mellow boy that is easy to have around the house. He gets along with other dogs and also with cats. He walks fairly well on leash and will sit for his meals.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added September 2018


Camila Head


Camila is a 2-3 year old extra-large white female with one floppy ear. She was an unclaimed stray from the Merced shelter, so nothing is none of her background.

Camila is a big, goofy girl. She is friendly to people and is learning it's not appropriate to jump up to greet. She has a medium energy level, but can become over-excited easily. Because of her size, she is looking for a home without small children that would accidentally be knocked down. She would love older kids to play with.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 2018


Dundee Head


Dundee is happy 2 year old black male Shepherd. Weighing in at 75lbs, this handsome boy is at a good body weight. Dundee was an owner surrender to a local area shelter when his owners of 4 months could no longer care for him. Although Dundee lived only outdoors in his previous home, this boy appears to be fully housebroken. Dundee came to us with a mild skin infection, but it is clearing up nicely.

Dundee has gotten along with all of the large male and female dogs in his foster home. At first he was a little unsure, but now he pals around with his pack mates.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2018


Georgette Head


Georgette is a petite female GSD, approximately 10 months old, weighing about 55 pounds. She could stand to gain a few pounds. She is a stray from a local shelter, so nothing is known about her background. She was found with a broken leg and a badly infected sore on her haunch. She had a small growth removed from the top of her head, but due to her young age, the vet felt it was nothing to be concerned about. Her leg was repaired with a plate, she has completed all of her antibiotics and she is healing nicely. She is ready to start with gentle walks as she eases back into normal activities over the next few weeks.

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

Added September 2018


Gus A. Head

Gus A.

Gus A. is a very loving, affectionate black-and-tan dog who will do his best to please his person and will be a devoted, wonderful family member.

Approximately 7 years old, he can walk nicely on a leash and knows the basics but he is a big, strong, handsome, confident, 95 lb. boy, and he needs consistent firm leadership. Gus was picked up as a stray and taken to the Solano shelter so little is known about his background.

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

Added August 2017


Hans Head


Hans is a handsome 2 year old, 80 lb, black and red male that came as a stray from a local shelter, so his background is a mystery.

Hans is very affectionate and loves head rubs, belly rubs, back rubs- you name it! He has moderate energy and behaves quite maturely for his young age (although occasionally he can't contain his excitement and he jumps up). His goofy, puppy side comes out when you break out the toys! He lives with 3 other Shepherds in his foster home--a young male, young female and middle aged male. He gets along with and has has accepted the older male and female as pack mates and just started showing interest in playing with the female. He can get competitive with the young male and occasionally needs to be reminded not to push boundaries with the resident dog, but learned to tolerate him.

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

Added August 2018


Lara A. Head

Lara A.

Lara A. is a real sweetheart who gets along well with other dogs, loves all the people she has met, and will make a wonderful addition to a family that will make her an active member.

Now 4 years old, this black-and-tan girl weighs about 70 lb. She was an owner surrender to a local shelter, so little is know of her background. Since her rescue, Lara has received some basic training and has really blossomed.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added September 2017


Shep Head


Shep is a very handsome, 55 pound, three year old black and tan male. Shep was a stray from a local shelter, who arrived there with a major injury to his front leg and a dislocated rear hip, likely from being hit by a car. His front leg was amputated before he was transferred to us.

Shep has undergone another major surgery on his hip and has been receptive to all medical treatments and attention he has received. Shep is currently recovering from his hip surgery and will need additional, slow walks until he is fully recovered. Due to his need for recovery, small children are not recommended.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added July 2018


Suarez Head


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


Zirka Head


Zirka is a 2-3 year old slender female Belgium Malinois who ended up in the shelter with a tramatic injury to her rear leg. She was found to also have a dislocated hip, and had surgery to help correct that injury. She has almost fully recovered and has regained close to full use of her leg.

She is very friendly with the dogs she has met so far, and is currently living with 4 to 10 other dogs in her foster home. Zirka will chase squirrels around the ranch where she is living, and likes to try and catch frogs that live in the pond.

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

Added August 2018



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.

Kylo Head


Kylo is an adorable spunky 4-5 month old male puppy. He is mostly black with a white patch on his chest. This boy is a joy to have around. He loves the adult dogs in his foster home, but really wishes that one of them would play with him.

Kylo is learning leash manners and loves to investigate the world around him when out and about. He loves to run and jump and splash in his baby pool in the yard. This boy is a talker and wants to tell you about his day every chance he gets.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added July 2018


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.

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):
Crossroads Shopping Center
2341 Claribel Road
Riverbank, CA 95367
(209) 863-1384


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)


Fourth Saturday of every month in Roseville:
Pet Food Express

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