Many breed clubs, either on their own or through affiliated breed clubs in different locations, manage breed specific rescue facilities. These breed specific rescues are different than the government run or community run animal shelters and SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) facilities since they are almost all non-kill facilities. This means that any dog that is accepted into these privately run rescues will not be destroyed or euthanized if they are not adopted. On the other hand, unlike a community run shelter, breed rescues do not have to take all dogs that are brought to the rescue facility. Typically they will only take dogs that are of their specific breed or a mixed breed that favors the appearance, temperament and behaviors characteristic of the breed rescue.
In short this policy means that a German Shepherd Dog club rescue will usually only take in purebred German Shepherds or mixed breed dogs that look and act like typical German Shepherd Dogs. Most rescues don't take in vicious or aggressive dogs since they have little chance of rehoming or finding someone to adopt these animals. Dogs that show signs of dog aggression or aggression towards people once they are in the rescue may be turned over to a SPCA facility or they may be euthanized, depending on the policy of the breed club rescue.
What breed club rescues attempt to do is to find the very best possible home for dogs. They do not provide breeding stock for kennels or private owners and all rescues only adopt out spayed or neutered pets. This prevents the rescue from having to worry if horrible breeders that run puppy mills or puppy farms are somehow using their facilities to obtain dogs for their inhumane breeding programs. Since this is the policy of the rescue they often don't take very young puppies or hold the puppies in approved foster homes until they are old enough to be spayed or neutered.
Most breed rescues will always maintain ownership of the dogs in the event that the adoptive owner does not take proper care of the dog from the rescue. This is outlined in the contract or adoption agreement that the adoptive owner signs when he or she picks up the dog. It will also prevent the adoptive owners from selling or giving away the dog privately without going back through the rescue. While some people see this as overprotective the rescue and breed club sees it as a way to keep track of the dogs that have been in their care and ensure that the new home is safe and appropriate.
One of the major benefits to getting a mature dog or even a young dog from a rescue is that the volunteers and workers at the rescue have typically worked with the dog and can match the personality and behaviors of the dog with what you are looking for. In order to do this most breed rescues have a very detailed application for adoption form that prospective owners have to complete. This may include all sorts of questions including what type of yard you have, how much time you will be at home with the dog, what types of other pets you have and even the ages of your children. Typically one of the first questions asks you how many dogs you have owned in the past and what breeds they were. This helps the staff determine what dogs in the rescue may be possible matches but also if the breed you are considering is even the right breed for you.
Dogs from a rescue are also up to date with regards to their vaccination, grooming, flea and worm treatments and general overall health. These costs are covered by the breed rescue, with proceeds from the donations collected at the time of adoption used to continue to support the program. Most of the adoption fees are extremely low considering the dog is fully vaccinated, spayed or neutered, vet checked and has at least basic obedience training. Since these rescues do run on donations and limited grants many people choose to donate dog food, money or time to the shelter once they understand the wonderful services they provide.
Most breed rescues don't house huge numbers of dogs since they are selective in their intake. This means that some people may have to wait several weeks or even months until a dog that is a good match comes into the rescue. In some cases when there is a crisis or emergency most dog rescues will help out and try to rehome or adopt out abandoned, surrendered or seized dogs, regardless of their breed. If you are interested in mixed breed or alternate breed dogs you may also want to talk to the staff at the rescue as they could possibly connect with other breed rescues or keep you on a notification list.
A good number of breed rescues work through volunteers that agree to be foster homes for dogs of a specific breed. While this may mean the dog getting used to one more home, it also gives the foster family time to interact with the dog and really get to know the animal's temperament and personality. They can also assess if the dog is good with other dogs of the same breed, smaller or larger dogs, kids of all ages or even other pets.
Virtually all rescues have a policy that if, for some unforeseen reason, the adopted dog doesn't fit into your home or if there is a behavioral problem that arises they will attempt to help you work it out or take the dog back. Remember that the volunteers and staff are all familiar with this breed, so they can provide some very helpful tips and strategies to work with the breed.
Adopting from a rescue is definitely something to keep in mind the next time you consider getting a dog. It is a wonderful way to provide a loving home for a pet plus get more involved in the breed club or organization in your area.