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6 Best German Shepherd Rescues In California (2024 Update)

Last Updated: January 1, 2024

Are you searching for German Shepherd rescues in California? 

Well, that shouldn’t be a difficult task. 

German Shepherd rescues in California are plentiful, and here are the top 6:

  • Westside German Shepherd Rescue of Los Angeles
  • Coastal German Shepherd Rescue 
  • Second Chance German Shepherd Rescue 
  • German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County
  • Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue 
  • Redwood Coast German Shepherd Rescue 

The presence of numerous German Shepherd rescues in California shows how popular the breed is in this state. Californians love sharing their natural geography of terrains, mountains, river valleys, and beaches with their high-energy, outdoor-loving furry friends. Unfortunately, some of them also end up in shelters and rescues.

If you are a Californian who subscribes to the “Don’t Shop, Adopt” philosophy, this post is for you. You’ll read about the best efforts of German Shepherd rescues in California, where you can start your search.

German Shepherd Rescue California

German Shepherd Rescues In California

California has dog rescues exclusive for German Shepherds in many cities. Discover the uniqueness of German Shepherd rescues in California in the rest of the article.

1. Westside German Shepherd Rescue of Los Angeles

At first glance, the Westside German Shepherd Rescue’s homepage ( confirms that the Rescue is a serious advocate for dog welfare. Its main office is situated at 3016 S. Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90007.

The non-profit 501(c)3 organization is committed to saving German Shepherds from euthanasia in kill shelters and placing them in new loving families.

How They Do It

Since 2002, Westside German Shepherd Rescue has worked with numerous volunteers and German Shepherd supporters to rescue dogs at risk of being put to sleep. Owners who can no longer keep their dogs for different challenges also surrendered their GSDs.

Since its inception, the Westside Rescue has rehomed more than 13,000 German Shepherds into loving families. 

The Rescue is also committed to post-adoption follow-up to ensure the GSDs receive the best care. In fact, there’s a 53-page chronicle of pictures and testimonies telling “Tails of Joy” from previous adopters.

On the Rescue’s website, you find applications for volunteering, fostering, adopting, or surrendering a German Shepherd. 

Adopting a German Shepherd

Persons interested in adopting a German Shepherd from Westside begin the process by filling out an adoption application form. You then wait for an adoption counselor to contact you within 72 hours.

Potential adopters are discouraged from visiting the Rescue before their online application is approved. You will not meet any dogs if you visit without notice. Note too, that the Rescue is closed to the public except on adoption days; Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Once your application is approved, the adoption volunteers will visit or ask you to send a picture presentation of your home. From there, they will arrange a meet-and-greet.

Adopting a puppy will cost you $475. You pay $375 to adopt an adult GSD.

Adopters from outside the state and Canada are also allowed to adopt. However, the adopter has to cater for aerial or ground transportation of the dog.

You can get additional info about the Westside Rescue by email to [email protected]

German Shepherd Waiting For Adoption with paws hanging onto cage

2. Coastal German Shepherd Rescue

Coastal German Shepherd is another 501(c)3 non-profit rescue in Orange County. The volunteer-run organization began in 2004 and has dedicated its resources to saving and rehoming dogs in Southern California. 

Special Attention for At-risk German Shepherds

Coastal German Shepherd Rescue has a special eye and attention for abandoned seniors and sick dogs that need medical care

In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, hordes of dogs that provided loving company to their owners during the lockdown months were abandoned on the streets or surrendered to shelters. Coastal German Shepherd Rescue saved many of these dogs from lethal injection, especially in 2022.

To enhance the safety of the GSDs, the Coastal German Shepherd Rescue partners with Fi to track rescued dogs using the GPS collar. Adopters will know where their dog is in real time. You also receive a notification from the app should the dog leave the safe zone of your home. 

How You Can Help the Rescue

You can help Coastal Rescue by adopting one of the many Germans Shepherd dogs and puppies listed on the ‘Available Dogs’ page. 

Other ways you can support the Rescue include:

  • Becoming a volunteer or foster parent.
  • Making a donation through PayPal or Zelle.
  • Purchasing Coastal German Shepherd Rescue gear (T-shirts, caps, hooded sweatshirts, baseball jerseys, etc.).
  • Using the Rescue’s link to shop at Amazon or donating an Amazon product through their wish list.

If you want more info on any of the above, you can:

  • Visit the Rescue’s website: 
  • Send an email to [email protected] for general inquiries or to [email protected] for donation and business inquiries.
  • Call (714) 528-4730 only when necessary.
  • Send a snail mail to 23615 El Toro Rd Ste X #276 Lake Forest, CA 92630 or 50726 Irvine, California 92619-0726.

3. Second Chance German Shepherd Rescue

Second Chance German Shepherd is a non-profit rescue in Auburn, California. The 105(c)3 registered organization was started by 2 volunteers. It has saved more than 4000 German Shepherds in its 20+ years.

Second Chance’s Goal and Identity

Second Chance Rescue’s goal is to find a good match for GSDs who need a new forever-loving home. The Rescue provides dog supplies and vet care while the volunteer fosters give love and care to the dogs. 

Second Chance Rescue also supports a unique initiative dubbed ‘Private Party Dogs.’ Through this initiative, German Shepherd owners who can no longer care for their dogs post info about their GSDs on the Rescue’s website to find an adopter. 

However, the Rescue does not evaluate private party dogs. It also doesn’t take responsibility for any problems encountered between private GSD owners and interested adopters. 

Collaborating with Second Chance Rescue

The best help you can give Second Chance German Shepherd Rescue is to provide a foster home or adopt a dog. 

Should you decide to adopt, you will follow this process:

  1. Complete an adoption questionnaire.
  2. Go through a phone interview.
  3. Allow a virtual or in-person home visit.
  4. Take home your German Shepherd on scheduled adoption days or by appointment once the adoption is approved.

Potential adopters must meet these conditions:

  • Live within the Rescue’s service area (Peninsula, East Bay, South Bay, Placer, San Francisco, Marin Greater Sacramento).
  • Have their landlord sign an adoption approval form if they do not own the home.
  • Confirm that children in the home, and those who visit, are above six years.
  • Have a fence above 5ft securing the premises.

The adoption fee varies according to a German Shepherd’s age, as indicated below: 

Age of GSDPrice
Puppies below 1 year$350
1-3 years$400
3-6 years$360
Over 6 years$300

Interested persons can get more information by calling the Rescue at 888-815-6222, sending an email to [email protected], or posting mail to 2625 Frontier Road Auburn, CA 95603. You can also surf their website:

Long Haired German Shepherd

 4. German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County

German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County is another 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. The Rescue is dedicated to saving purebred German Shepherd dogs at risk in Southern California regions, including Orange County, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Greater Los Angeles.

Unique About the Rescue

The volunteer-run Rescue has a 50:50 ratio of dogs abandoned by their owners and those rescued from animal shelters. Mixed German Shepherd dogs are also accepted.

Due to the rise in cases of abandoned Belgian Malinois dogs, the Rescue personnel has recently opened its doors to the breed.

Rescued dogs stay in foster homes or private boarding facilities.

Helping or Adopting a Dog at the Rescue 

If you want to adopt a German Shepherd from the Orange County Rescue, you begin by filling out an application form. Completing the application can be done online or at adoption events.

Once the adoption application is received, an adoption counselor contacts you by phone or email for an interview.

An accepted application is the key to a meet-and-greet appointment. Potential adopters are encouraged to bring the entire family, including existing canine members.

The rescue then organizes a home visit before you can finally bring home your new furry friend.

Apart from adoption, there are several other ways you can help a German Shepherd at the Orange County Rescue: 

  • Making a tax-deductible donation.
  • Becoming a volunteer.
  • Walking dogs at adoption events to promote them.
  • Transporting rescued GSDs to vet appointments.
  • Organizing fundraisers.

You can access more information about the German Shepherd Rescue on the events page:

You can also write an email [email protected], make a call to 714-974-7762), or use this mailing address: 120 Tustin Avenue Suite, C-1111 Newport Beach, CA 92663.

5. Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue

Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue is a not-for-profit organization serving the Sacramental Valley and Northern California. The Rescue works to find new families for homeless German Shepherds, thanks to the services of an able volunteer team. 

How the Rescue Works

Bay Area German Shepherd rescues dogs from shelters and owners giving up their furry friends for varied reasons.

Once rescued, the GSDs are placed in foster homes so that volunteers can study them and know the kind of family they need. 

The Rescue also considers other large breed dogs, including Anatolian Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, and German Shepherd Mixes.

What if You Wish to Adopt?

Lack of knowledge of the breed is one of the reasons dogs end up in shelters and rescues. For this reason, the Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue encourages prospective adopters to learn about the breed before expressing interest in adopting.

When you express interest in adopting a German Shepherd, the rescue volunteers work with you to determine if you are a good fit for a dog.

Here’s what you’ll do if you decide to adopt a GSD from Bay Area Rescue:

  1. Complete the adoption form.
  2. Wait for the adoption counselors to contact you.
  3. Facilitate a home assessment by mailing pictures of your home, gate, and fence.
  4. Once approved, visit the Available Dogs page to find a preferred dog.
  5. Meet the dog to confirm it’s the right match for you.
  6. Pay a $400 adoption fee and bring your new furry friend home.

Other ways to support Bay Area German Shepherd rescue include donating funds, volunteering, becoming a foster, and shopping on Amazon through their website. 

Find out more about the Rescue by:

German Shepherd puppy chewing on a wooden brush.

6. Redwood Coast German Shepherd Rescue

As with many other rescues in the State, Redwood Coast German Shepherd Rescue is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming GSDs and GSD mixes.

The all-volunteer organization is in Ben Lomond, California. 

What’s Unique about the Rescue?

Redwood Coast German Shepherd Rescue works for the good of German Shepherds using these four pillars:

  1. Trustworthy professional staff who dedicate their time to rescuing the dogs and helping them to be well-adjusted.
  2. Nurturing socialization and organized rehoming by ensuring rescued dogs and interested adopters are a good match and that the dogs end up in a loving home.
  3. Guaranteeing safety to adopters and their families. The Rescue does not accept or present for adoption aggressive dogs who are potentially dangerous.  
  4. Providing quality vet care while dogs await adoption. This includes neutering and spaying services, microchipping, vaccinations, and monthly preventative meds. 

Want to Lend a Hand?

There are several ways you can support a German Shepherd dog at the Redwood Coast GSD Rescue: 

  • Join the Rescue’s team as a foster or volunteer.
  • Give a monetary donation through PayPal or eBay Charities.
  • Adopt a dog.

The adoption process happens in 7 precise steps:

  1. Complete an application form.
  2. Take an interview.
  3. Allow a home visit.
  4. Meet your prospective dog.
  5. Sign an adoption agreement.
  6. Pay the adoption fee (Puppies: $400; 1-6 years: $350, over 6 years: $200).
  7. Bring home your new dog.

Contact with the Rescue can be made by:

German Shepherd Clubs in California

Joining a German Shepherd club is a good way to determine which German Shepherd Rescue you want to work with.

Here are 3 German Shepherd clubs in California you can join:

San Bernardino/Riverside German Shepherd Dog Club 
German Shepherd Dog Club of the San Gabriel Valley 
Diablo Valley German Shepherd Dog Club 

Helpful German Shepherd Articles

If you are thinking about rescuing a German Shepherd but are not sure if it is the right breed for you, these articles provide valuable information and insights about the breed. They can help you make an informed decision and improve a dog’s life.

Final Thoughts

You’ll find many other dog rescues dedicated to German Shepherds in California. We picked these top 6 to help you start your journey of helping a homeless German Shepherd. 

By adopting, becoming a foster or volunteer, or making a donation, you can become part of the noble mission of German Shepherd rescue.

Hey! Are you looking for a German Shepherd rescue countrywide? Check out this article, 45 Best German Shepherd Rescues In The US.

Joice Njeru
Joice Njeru is an avid pet lover, professional author, and skilled researcher with a heart for pets. A former university lecturer of 14 years but now turned freelance writer, Joice has created hundreds of articles on dog behavior, training, care, and pet health. She is an expert in everything pets and hopes to educate and inspire other pet lovers through her writing.

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