Dude, you wrote 1,000 words on normal dogs – are you some sort of dog-freak?
Not really, I don’t even own a dog. But I have been running a reasonable realist PA game since the dawn of time (think more like ‘Alas Babylon’ and less like ‘Mad Max’), and one thing that has come out of thinking about the setting is that dogs would regain their old place as mans best friend. In my game the world slowly fell into dysfunction over about 15 years (long back-story for this) and then the game is set 20 years later – my preferred game-play involves normal people who find themselves in interesting (and dangerous) situations. These games, like many, escalate in power but during the early phases characters are doing things like sneaking into gang hideouts or escaping from evil overlords (“release the hounds”) and the like. To that end, I have found having a little more detail regarding dogs as very useful.
In practice, the tracking and guard dogs see the most game play with the occasional attack dog used by an NPC. Guard dogs are easy to keep, and not to hard to train – they create a simple alarm system for watching your hideout. Likewise, if you can afford the time and energy, some tracking dogs are useful if you need to follow someone through the ruin. In practice, my games are too deadly for a PC to keep an attack dog very long – sooner or latter he will use it on someone with a pistol, or even a security robot and that is the end of the dog.