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.

Adoption Fee for these Special or Senior Dogs is $100.

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.

Amanda A. Head

Amanda A.

Amanda A. is a lovely black and tan 2.5 year old female who is a very sweet, happy, exuberant girl. She weighs approximately 55-60 lbs. Amanda was an owner surrender to the Solano County Shelter due to a child in the family being highly allergic to her.

She gets along with other dogs large and small; her best friend is a Chihuahua. She hasn't been around cats much but doesn't seem to have a lot of prey drive so she could probably learn to live with them.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2017


Baldwin Head


Baldwin is a 5 yo male Black Shepherd weighing about 90 lbs. His previous owners relinquished him to a Sacramento area shelter due to their inability to provide adequate care. When Baldwin arrived, he was missing almost his entire coat, likely due to food and/or flea allergies affecting his skin and coat. With immediate medical care and high quality diet, he is rapidly re-growing his fur. It is unknown whether all of his coat will return, however. Sunscreen is needed in the meantime to keep the exposed skin from getting sunburned.

Baldwin is interested in meeting all dogs, large and small. Once familiar with their presence, he is calm and comfortable. He enjoys human company and appreciates any affection that comes his way, even if it means taking pills or getting his ears medicated.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added July 2017


Bearinger Head


Bearinger is an approximately 18 month old black and tan male who weighs around 75 lbs. He was surrendered to us when his owners had a baby and no longer had the time to spend with him.

Based on his sweet demeanor and beautiful, healthy coat, Bearinger ('Bear') was obviously loved and well cared for but seems to have limited exposure to new situations and other dogs. With proper introduction he does well with other large dogs. He has not been tested with small dogs. His foster home has a 4yr old male GSD and two adolescent females and he is adjusting well to being part of a pack.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2017


Bochy Head


Bochy is a handsome black and tan 2-year-old male with floppy ears. He is currently overweight at about 95 lbs, but he's energetic and with regular exercise he should be able to lose another 15-20 lbs to get to a healthy weight. One photo shows a recent photo of Bochy and the other is how he looked last September at a healthy weight.

Originally an owner surrender in Sept. 2016, when his family's child became sick and they didn't have time to care for Bochy; he was adopted from us but returned after six months. The second family didn't spend time training or working with him and he became too much for them to handle.

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

Added July 2017


Buster Head


Buster is a 4.5 year old male black & tan German Shepherd with one floppy ear. He weighs about 89 lbs and is on a diet to lose a few pounds. He was originally adopted from GCGSR at the age of 18 months where he shared his home with another dog. He was recently relinquished because the owner will be moving and is unable to take him along. Despite this change, he has adapted rapidly to his new foster home, sharing his life with another GCGSR foster dog. He doesn't seem interested in playing with the other dog, as he prefers to be by his human.

Buster enjoys the presence and attention of all humans, and is comfortable in the presence of other dogs, both large and small. He will benefit from firm boundaries to prevent attachment to or claiming of his human.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2017


DogName Head


Cassius (Cash) is an 8 month old black and tan German Shepherd Mix. He is one of 3 puppies who were surrendered to us by a Good Samaritan who took in their pregnant Momma when she was dumped on their property. Cheyenne and Decker have both found homes, and Cash is looking forward to the day when he will have a family of his own as well.

He is housebroken, rides well in a car, and does great on a leash. Cash is a great alarm barker. He is a little shy at first, but once he gets to know you, he loves to give kisses and have his belly rubbed.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added July 2017


Chloe May

Chloe May

Chloe May is a lovely black and tan female who is about 6 years old and who weighs about 82 lbs. She was found in a rural area of Merced County, so nothing is known of his background. It appears she has had several litters and was kept outdoors for most of her life. Chloe has had a long time skin condition, and evidence of her skin irritations, and worn down teeth says she has been scratching and itching for a long time. Now that she is on good food and in a healthy home, she is thriving and her skin and coat look great.

Chloe May has lived with 2 other dogs and loves being part of a family. She readily jumps up in the car for a ride, and has appropriately greeted everyone she has met so far.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2016


Clarissa Head


Clarissa is a 2 year old black and tan female GSD mix and is petite at 52 lbs. She was a stray from a local Sacramento shelter and not much is known about her background.

She is currently living with a large male GSD and multiple cats who she is ignoring. She prefers human company and will follow her foster mom everywhere. She rides nicely in the car and is house trained. She is learning to walk properly on a leash, learning house manners and basic commands. Clarissa is learning not to jump on people and counters.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2017


Corri A. Head

Corri A.

Corri A. is a beautiful black and tan female, who is a sweet, goofy girl about 3 years old, and weighs about 70 lbs. Corri was picked up as a stray and taken to the Ukiah shelter, so nothing is known of her background.

Corri is shy at first but warms up quickly-especially if you have cookies! She loves other dogs, is very playful, and has abundant energy but eventually will settle down and snuggle. She is a great snuggler!

No cats or small furry critters for this gal!

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2017


Grace Head


Grace is a pretty black and tan female, approximately 6 years 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 around a year ago and was recently returned because she was too much to handle for her new owners.

Grace is a nice, friendly girl but is a little timid with new people and she needs to be properly introduced. She knows basic commands and can walk on a leash fairly 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


Gus A. Head

Gus A.

Gus A. is a big, strong, handsome black and tan boy who is about 6-7 years old, and 90lbs. Gus was picked up as a stray and taken to the Solano shelter, so nothing is known of his background.

He's a very loving, affectionate dog who will do his best to please his person but the big fellow did not get the training he needed as a youngster. He's learning to walk nicely on a leash and other basics, and with consistent handling and training, Gus will be a devoted, wonderful family member.

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

Added August 2017


Kairos Head


Kairos is a one year old, handsome black and tan male weighing 60 lbs. He was an owner surrender to a Sacramento area shelter. He was previously kept outside and given up because the family could not afford to care for him properly. He appears to have food or flea allergies that have caused major hair loss and skin irritation. He also was very underweight. With proper diet and medicated baths, in a short time, this boy is already showing improvement.

Kairos is living with a large male German Shepherd and a senior male pug, and gets along well with both. With use of a doggy door, Kairos appears housebroken, however, he is needing to learn proper house manners. Kairos is a good eater and is beginning to put weight on.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 2017


Kazan Head


Kazan, pronounced Kuh ZON, is a 2 year old longcoated male. He was a stray at the Merced shelter, so not much is known of his background.

He loves people and will lean against your leg for affection. He gets along with other dogs, and is learning to live with cats. He is medium energy and loves his walks, although he does need more leash training.

Kazan was apparently an outside-only dog, as he has no house manners yet.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2017


Laurentz Head


Laurentz is an approximately two year old, very large black and tan handsome male. At 90 lbs, he's very thin and should weigh closer to 100 lbs . He's eating well, so it shouldn't take long for his weight to come back. He was picked up as a stray by a local shelter, so nothing is known of his background.

He met the two senior male German Shepherds and the 2.5 year old female German Shepherd in his foster home fairly easily. Laurentz appears starved for attention and does get snarky when the resident dogs are near his favorite human. A strong, experienced handler will be needed to watch for the signals, correct, and end this behavior.

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

Added August 2017


Leilani Head


Leilani is an adorable 10 month old, white female weighing 55 lbs. Her previous owners adopted her from Craigslist when she was only 6 weeks old. She spent most of her life in a crate or tethered in the yard, as they didn't have a fenced yard. After 8 months, they decided they didn't have time for her and left her at a shelter in Roseville.

Leilani needs slow introductions with people she doesn't know. Once intros are done, she becomes excited and happy to have attention and affection. If she thinks she's in trouble, she submissively pees. She is mostly housebroken and loves toys and a good game of fetch. She especially loves soft toys, but will shred them and then bring you the remains. Like most young dogs, she will put almost anything in her mouth, so having many toys to direct her to stay away from inappropriate chewing is a must. She is learning house manners and to settle when she's inside the house. She is crate trained, but is only crated at night for sleep in her foster home. When in the yard, she is usually quiet.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2017



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.

Zayla Head


Zayla is a 13 week old Belgian Malinois puppy. She was a stray in the Modesto area so nothing is known about her background. She currently weighs 27 lbs., and will most likely be 45 - 50 lbs. when she is full-grown.

Zayla is a high energy, very confident little girl. She is currently fostered in a home with 2 adult male GSDs and 2 puppies. She is already exhibiting typical Malinois energy and behavior. She isn't afraid to take treats or toys away from the other dogs.

Zayla will need a home with Malinois or similar breed puppy experience, and a dog buddy to play with.

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

Added July 2017


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.

** New Location **
Riverbank (Modesto)
First Saturday of every month in Riverbank (Modesto):
Crossroads Shopping Center
2341 Claribel Road
Riverbank, CA 95367
(209) 863-1384

** New Location **

Third Saturday of every month in Sacramento:
Pet Food Express
Loehmann's Plaza
2531 Fair Oaks Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 851-1813
(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