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.

Beate Head



Beate vom Aspen Canyon (pronounced be-ah-tuh - we call her Bea) is a lovely black and red girl who is 9 1/2 years old and weights about 75 lbs. Bea was returned to rescue due to an unforeseen change in family circumstances. Originally adopted out in 2010; in her previous home she was living with kids, a small dog, and a male German Shepherd.

Unfortunately, Bea has experienced neglect over the last few years, and her previous owner informed us that she was primarily an outside dog and was sleeping in a crate in the garage. She came into rescue with an ear infection, stiffness in her backend, and thinning or missing hair on her legs, tummy, back end and tail. Rescue is providing the necessary medical care to clear up these issues, and restore her health.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added March 2017


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.

Chloe May

Chloe May

Chloe May is a 5-6 year old girl who 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 is living with 2 other dogs and loves being part of a family.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added August 2016


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.

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

Updated January 2017, Added October 2015


Griff Head


Griff is a strong, handsome black and tan male, weighing 90 lbs, and is approximately 3 years old. He is a stray from a Yolo County shelter, so we have no information on his background. Sometime in Griff's past, something created a scar across his muzzle, but it doesn't take away from his ability to take great pictures.

Griff has nice house manners, only moving things around being silly, not damaging anything. He knows basic commands, including sitting before going through doors, and sitting before being allowed to eat. He currently sleeps on the floor in his foster's bedroom and is very quiet. He walks nicely on a leash, but can get excited when he sees other dogs.

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

Added February 2017


Jersey Head


Jersey is a black and light tan, 7 month old female weighing about 52 lbs. She was a stray out of Placer County, so nothing is known about her background. The shelter said she was very timid when she arrived and therefore made her available to rescue. She clearly was a staff favorite at the shelter, based on the number of people who came to say goodbye to her. She has been in our group since March 2017.

Jersey loves being around other playful dogs. She can be insecure and anxious, but having playful, confident dogs around her, helps her get used to new environments and she seems to accept new people easier when she sees the other dogs getting attention from the human(s). She is house broken, crate trained, loves car rides, and lives nicely with cats.

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

Added March 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


DogName Head

Luna Bella

Luna Bella is an 8 month old Black and Cream Girl, currently weighing only 48 lbs. She is on the thin side, and could stand to gain 5 or 10 pounds. She was an owner surrender, who could not provide her the care and exercise she needed.

She is housebroken; crate trained, and is learning that riding in the car can lead to great adventures. She is your typical young juvenile with lots of energy. She is learning house manners, and not to jump up on people when she is excited.

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

Added May 2017


Moses Head


Moses is a handsome Black and Tan male, approximately 4 years old, weighing 78 lbs. He was a stray from a Sacramento area shelter, so nothing is known about his past. He was covered in foxtails when he arrived at the shelter, he was treated with antibiotics and several were removed while under anesthesia during his neuter surgery. It appears Moses was restricted to outdoor living in his former life, but he quickly adapted to the comforts of indoor living and displays good house manners. He remains uncertain with new experiences like walking on slick floors. With patience and encouragement, he opens up with enthusiastic curiosity.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 2017


Nancy Head


Nancy is a 2 year old white female. She was a stray from the Merced shelter, so nothing is known of her background.

Nancy is a beauty, with a constantly wagging tail. She loves life, playing with other dogs, and getting cuddles on a dog bed. She is energetic, so no cats or young children for her. She would love agility or jogging, and a playful dog buddy would keep her busy in the yard.

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

Added November 2016


Rocco Head


This very special boy came to us as a stray from a Sacramento shelter after he had been hit by a car. Both sides of his pelvis were fractured, and he had lots of other cuts and bruises. After FHO surgery, several weeks confined to a crate to recover, and some therapy for his leg muscles, he is ready to find his forever home.

Rocco is an absolutely charming 2 year old dark black and tan male. He is on the small side at around 70 lbs. Rocco loves meeting new people, and likes everyone he's met so far.

He is in a foster home with another large male and an older female GSD. He gets along nicely with both, but he will get pushy when another dog is getting attention or affection from people because he doesn't want to miss out.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 2017


Sofie Head


Sofie is a 46.5 pound, petite red and black female who was adopted from us 4 years ago and given up due to her destructive behavior when left alone during the workday. Sofie meets other dogs of all sizes easily. Her current foster home has a large German Shepherd and a Pug. With use of a dog door during the day, Sofie has not displayed any destructive behavior, but does bark at the neighbor's dogs. She is a very good alarm barker when she feels there may be danger and sounds like a big dog.

Sofie meets most people nicely, but can become anxious in new environments and if a situation is new to her, i.e., did not like a person on crutches and refused to approach to see there was nothing to fear.

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

Added April 2017


Tipper Head


Tipper is a 2-3 year old female long-coat. She weighs about 55 lbs, but needs to gain another 10 or so. She was surrendered by her owner when their job relocated them.

Tipper is an outgoing, friendly girl who loves people. She absolutely loves car rides and walks! She knows the basic obedience commands of sit, down, stay, and heel, as well as shake. She gets along well with the large dogs in her foster home. She barks and chases cats, and small dogs are still an unknown.

She's a fairly easy girl to have around the house, accompanying you outside for yard work and napping when you are watching tv.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added June 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.

DogName Head


Cassius is a 12 week old Black and Tan German Shepherd Mix puppy. 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. The puppies are not completely housebroken yet but are trained to use potty pads.

Cassius is the alarm barker and protector of the three puppies, he also loves to give kisses. More to come on this cute little guy as we get to know him better.

This is a Level 2 Dog!

Added May 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.

First Saturday of every month in Modesto:
2100 McHenry Ave
Modesto CA 95350
(209) 574-0441

Third Saturday of every month in Rancho Cordova (Sacramento):
10830 Olson Drive
Rancho Cordova CA 95670
(916) 851-1813

Fourth Saturday of every month in Roseville:
Pet Food Express

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