Adoption Policy

Considering Adoption?

Learn about the breed: Is the German Shepherd Dog right for you? Temperament, health, size, nutrition, training, leadership, and life expectancy are just some of the factors you need to take into consideration. Are you committed to a relationship that could last 10+ years? Do you have time for walks, play time, and consistent training? This commitment requires the GSD to be part of your family 24/7, and it is your responsibility as a parent, to supervise your child’s interaction with your dog at all times. German Shepherds require a kind, firm, consistent, strong pack leader. If you aren’t sure what that takes, are you willing to attend training sessions with your dog? The GSD is a very intelligent breed compared to others. Your GSD will NEED you to provide consistent leadership, otherwise, if left to lead themselves, they may discover trouble they don’t know how to get out of. Adequate routine veterinary health care can add up. Vaccinations and preventatives alone can average over $500 annually. Feeding a healthy diet with correct nutrition will also be costly. Consider your future and how your dog will fit the picture. Marriage, family planning, job changes, potential moves, etc. All of these factors impact your family and are some of the reasons these dogs have ended up in the shelters. We try our utmost to ensure this will not impact their lives ever again. Be honest with yourself as you ponder the possibilities.

Thank you for your interest in adopting from GHGSDR! We feel that it is very important to consider the safety of the dog and the family, when we place our dogs into their new homes, and that the guidelines in our policy are best practice for everyone involved. Please read our Adoption Policy before submitting an application for adoption. Thank you!

Step 1 - Congratulations on Your Decision!

Application Submission

Your application will help us better determine which, if any, of our current German Shepherd Dogs may be the right dog for you. Be as detailed as possible in your answers.

After we receive your application, please allow 2-3 weeks for processing. Once your references have been checked, someone will contact you to schedule a home visit. Please alert your references that you have submitted their name as a contact for your application and that someone from Greater Houston German Shepherd Dog Rescue will be contacting them.

If you are renting, please provide your landlord information as we will be required to contact them to confirm eligibility of having a pet on premise and any restrictions the landlord may have regarding a pet.

We do not adopt to homes with unaltered pets unless there is a medical or other acceptable reason for ownership of a non-altered pet. This will need to be documented via your vet and your application. We do not normally adopt out dogs under the age of 6 months to homes with children under the age of 7 years.

We may be unable to place a dog in your home due to our inability to perform home visits outside of the Greater Houston area.

Most dogs require a minimum transitional period of several weeks. The first few weeks may be challenging while your new dog adjusts to his/her new surroundings. Adding a new dog to the family upsets the balance of your current “pack” no matter how good the match. Your resident dogs will need time to adjust to your new dog and you may become stressed as a result. Please remember that we are here to help walk you through any difficulties you may encounter. We recommend that dogs go home at the beginning of a weekend or other time such as beginning of a vacation, when you will be home to help advance the adjustment period comfortably.

Step 2 - Anything Worth Having Is Worth Waiting For – Please Be Patient

Veterinary Reference Check

Please do not apply if the below information cannot be verified by your veterinarian. Your application will be denied if any of the below requirements are not met:

Your vet must confirm that ALL dogs have been regularly on heartworm preventative, the entire time they have been in your care (unless there is a verifiable medical reason for ceasing heartworm preventative).

Your vet must confirm ALL pets are altered (spayed/neutered) unless there is a medical or other acceptable reason for ownership of a non-altered pet.

Your vet must confirm ALL pets have a consistent history of recommended immunizations, vaccinations, medications, and health checks/screenings. If you have a different immunization/vaccination/medication schedule with your veterinarian, tell us about it, and we’ll be happy to consider it as we review your application.

On your application, list the vet(s) that have the most current information regarding your pet(s). If you have additional information to share regarding the health of your pet(s), please note it in the “comments” section of your application. Please call the vet you have listed on your application and give them permission to release your information to us. We try our best to call them within 48 hours of receiving your application!

Personal Reference Check

Upon approval of the vet reference check, we will contact your personal references. It is important that you provide us with references that know you well. If you have pets, please make sure you choose references who know you, your pets, AND how you care for those pets. We require at least one non-family member as a reference.

Home Visit

Upon approval of the veterinary reference check and personal references, you will be contacted and a home visit will be arranged. Please note that ALL family members must be present during the home visit. The home visit will be performed prior to adoption. No adoptions will be approved without a home visit.

All homes must have an existing, secure fenced yard, with shade, access to water, and shelter so that the dog is protected from the weather when outside. Promises to fence in a yard are not accepted. We will make a second home visit if the fence has been replaced or repaired.

Please note that the intent of our visit is not to see how clean your house is! The purpose of our visit is to see the environment that the dog will be living in to ensure that adequate provisions are made for the dog’s care and to discuss dog ownership with you.


Once all reference checks (vet, personal, and landlord, where applicable) and the home visit have been completed, an adoption coordinator will contact you. If we have further questions or concerns, they will be discussed at that time. If the vet reference check and home visit prompt no further questions, and the adoption coordinator is confident that you can provide an excellent home for one of our dogs, a volunteer will notify you of your approval as soon as possible. At that point, you may start visiting with dogs.

GHGSDR is a 100% volunteer organization. Please allow 2-3 weeks to process and review your application. In most cases, applicants are approved or declined within 5-10 days.

Finding the Right GSD

Once you have been approved to adopt, an adoption coordinator will be happy to discuss the dogs you are interested in visiting, and may have suggestions for dogs that would best fit in your particular home environment.

We try to place every dog with a foster family, where they are treated as an important part of the family. They are given love, attention, boundaries, and in most cases, a home and life better than they’ve ever known. Most of these dogs have been abandoned and neglected, and we do everything within our power to make sure the home they go to is truly a “forever home” where they will be loved and well cared for physically and emotionally. There are too many variables to put on one general page, but once you are approved and begin visiting the dogs, please discuss how long it took the dog to adjust to the foster home. This will give you a good indication of how long it will take them to adjust to your home.

When you decide which dog(s) you would like to meet, your adoption coordinator will discuss your family situation with the foster of each dog. If there is some reason that the foster home feels your family and this dog are not a good match, the adoption coordinator or the foster will discuss the reason with you. This can be because of other pets in the house, how the dog gets along with particular people, such as children, men or women, or many other factors. It is important for us to find the “right” match between the you and the GSD, as we want your home to be the dog’s forever home.

You can meet an individual dog as many times as needed, as long as the foster home feels comfortable that you are a good potential match for the dog. All family members must be present when visiting a dog, so that interaction between the dog and all family members may be assessed. Depending on circumstances, you may have additional meetings to have your current pets meet the dog on neutral turf or in your home. These options are available at the discretion of the foster. You will generally meet the dog at its foster home or another arranged location.

GHGSDR’s foster families take their responsibility to their foster dog very seriously and will always consider the needs of the dog above those of the potential adopter. GHGSDR believes a dog’s foster family knows that dog’s temperament and personality best. They will be your greatest asset (and ours) in helping to determine if their foster dog will be a good match for your family.

The foster’s assessment of the dog/adopter interaction and interview with the potential adopter will be taken into serious consideration in making a determination of approving a specific adoption. GHGSDR’s Board of Directors has final approval of all adoptions.

Some additional obedience training may be suggested or required based on the GSD being adopted.

The Adoption Contract

Once an adoption is approved, the adopter and a GHGSDR Representative (usually the foster or adoption coordinator) will finalize the process and sign the Adoption Contract.

Effective October 4th, 2021, the adoption donation fees* for our GSDs are as follows:
  • Puppies 6 months and under – $425**
  • Adult dogs – $400
  • Senior dogs (six years and older) – $225

* All adoption donation fees are non-refundable.
** Puppies that have not been spayed/neutered at the time of adoption will require a spay/neuter deposit of $150, which is refunded once GHGSDR receives written evidence of the surgery.

To adopt a dog, a person must:

  • Be a responsible adult who maintains responsibility for the well-being of your household.
  • Live in the Greater Houston Metropolitan area.
  • Be able to provide for the training and veterinary care of the dog and to pay an adoption fee to help cover the costs of rescue care.

Click here to apply: