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This beast has to be fairly common, is trained to listen to people, maybe whistle commands, can't be too big, from the size of a poodle, to the size of a mastiff, can't be to smart, has to be inside the laws of my magic. Some tiny dragon type might work, but need cool name, and what it breathes if anything, fireball, ice, lightning bolt. The tech is medieval. Creatures have to be able to fight in close quarters, preferable not with wings.

Magic laws:

Magic runs in your blood. It is a second life source, if you run out; you die. The less you have the weaker you get, it is also second stamina. They way your body checks if it is strong enough to do something is it checks if your body has enough energy, and magic. The energy gets used up, but the magic doesn’t. Magic is different.

When you use magic, you don’t need energy. Magic has two ways of doing something; on release, and on impact. If you were to light a fire, let’s say, and you wanted to do it with magic, you could either send out the magic, still in magic form, and when you hit the pile of sticks, you can turn it into the fire. The other way is to make a small flame that shoots toward the fire and lights in when it hits.

Some spells can be both, but some are only on impact. If you send a spell to paralyze them, make them unable to move, there is no way, unless maybe sending a spray of paralyzing poison toward them, to do it on release.

Also, everyone has magic. Some just produce more than others. This is the reason that few can do great feats of magic, though if they knew how, almost anybody could conjure a candle-flame.

Another thing that you had to know about magic is the use of it. Special words, the Olde Tongue, were linked to the usage usually, but not always. The words just helped you to focus and ‘stay on target.’ These words helped magicians to focus on what they were doing and not get lost in the process.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by L.Dutch, Mołot, James, JDługosz Mar 19 '17 at 6:59

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Seems a bit broad and vague. What's wrong with a regular dog? $\endgroup$ – Mormacil Mar 18 '17 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ Does it have to be a normal magical beast, or can we make something up? $\endgroup$ – Gryphon Mar 18 '17 at 19:51
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    $\begingroup$ a regular dog won't cut it, these things go with the guards and soldiers who brake up street gang fights and the such, they need extra firepower. $\endgroup$ – user34780 Mar 18 '17 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ Gryphon, they don't have to be a normal beast but if you make it up, invent a cool name. $\endgroup$ – user34780 Mar 18 '17 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ Tibetan Mastiff would be quite the opponent honestly. Those dogs are huge and fierce. Otherwise try a owcharka, caucasian mountain dog. They're used to protect from threats like bears. $\endgroup$ – Mormacil Mar 18 '17 at 20:14
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I don't think you actually need to resort to magic, unless of course you absolutely want to. Of course you can add appropriate magic to any of these if desired (and allowed for by the rules of magic in your world). As you are asking about a magical creature, I suspect that magic is not limited to humans in your world; as such, it shouldn't strain suspension of disbelief too much adding magic to something like one of these, or you can base your creature off of one of these.

You say that you want something dog-like, in the size range of a poodle to a mastiff. Well, there are plenty of dogs that might fit the bill, particularly if actively trained for the work in question. Livestock guardian dogs provide a nice starting point, and the Wikipedia article has a pretty long, but likely not exhaustive, list of breeds.

Allow me to introduce you to the Anatolian Shepherd Dog:

You could also consider something like the Kuvasz:

Or try the Caucasian shepherd dog (kavkazkaia ovtcharka):

or the Great Pyrenees:

or any of several other breeds, many of which are bred purely for function and/or are recognized as purebred only by national kennel clubs, not internationally.

Livestock guardian dogs (LGDs) have been bred, often for thousands of years, to protect livestock against predators such as bears, wolves, and large cats. While much of the work they do is simply about being there (not many large cats are going to go teeth to teeth against a large, confident dog that stands its ground just for the possibility of a meal; there are easier prey), a hallmark of a well-bred LGD is that it also has the capacity to physically engage the predator if needed. As a consequence of this type of work, broadly speaking, LGDs tend to be bred to be wary of strangers, large but not extreme in size, physically strong, but also agile and not overbuilt, all of which are characteristics that you might want in an animal to be used for the purposes you describe.

Add a bit of directed breeding for willingness to follow commands from the handler (most LGDs are bred to work relatively independently, not like the dogs you see commonly which have been bred to work in close cooperation with the handler), as well as some specific training for how to bring down a human (read up on Schutzhund training, and look for videos on Youtube; there are plenty of videos showing the capabilities of "lesser" dogs, so you could just scale up a bit based on the breeding purpose of these dogs and the methods legally available to the guards), and you have a pretty formidable four-legged helper for the guards. By giving each guard party anywhere between two and a pack of these dogs (the number would probably depend mostly on how many guards there are in the party and how large groups people tend to form, the two of which are likely related), the dogs' mere presence (and the peoples' knowledge of what the dogs are capable of) should be enough to keep most people calm already, and the dogs certainly should be able to help the guards break up a brawl if needed.

For extra effect, if your society allows that, consider doing regular shows where a few people who have been convicted of serious crimes are given a close-range weapon (such as a knife or dagger) and a few of these dogs are pitted against them. Think something similar to the old Roman games where humans were pitted against wild animals. If the humans survive the encounter, they are free to go. There could even be a voluntary aspect to these; basically, you either take your chances against dogs and might end up dead or might end up free; or you are sentenced to life in prison. Now tip the scale ever so slightly in favor of the dogs -- you might send in one or two dogs more than you think you need, have the dogs commonly wear protective vests, spiked collars (the real stuff, not those just meant to look good), or whatever you prefer. Allowing or even inviting the people of your world to watch would give the -- hopefully large -- proportion of the people in your world who aren't likely to become major troublemakers an idea of what the dogs can do even to someone who is prepared and knows what to expect. There's nothing like a little psychology in the morning to keep people in line!

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A golem.

It is not alive so it has no fear and no pain. It can be as big or as small as you want to make it. It does not talk. It does not want. Destroying it requires the undoing of the magic holding it together, as its materials are impervious to harm.

One or more golems could be made as necessary. A new one might be made for each patrol and allowed to revert to earth when no longer needed. Or the guards themselves might make use available materials on site to make a golem to help them as the circumstances warrant.

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Perhaps the guard could have a cynogryphon, de-winged as a whelp and trained to attack. That way, it'll have sinister eagle eyes and talons, and shriek like a bird of prey, but be trained like your average guard dog.

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A go to standard in DnD is a direwolf. They are intelligent (for a wolf) and sentient food is only a preference, not a dietary requirement.

My personal favorite though would be a shape shifting animal. In non-combat form, it looks like a little yappy dog (or a kitten). In combat form, it grows into something slightly larger than a tiger. They should be given names like fifi or fluffy. Then you get to see the reaction on the faces of outsiders and the see the local riffraff clear the streets when a single watchman strolls down the street with a little yappy dog.

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  • $\begingroup$ That kind of difference in size would be even larger than that I discussed in Is there a credible way a shapeshifter could gain/lose body mass when changing forms?, which may be of interest to anyone wanting to make use of the suggestion in this answer. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Mar 20 '17 at 7:14
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling Short answer: because, magic. Longer answer: If some magical creatures are 4th dimensional beings, only the part of them that intersects with our 3 dimensions can be observed. Think of a human's interaction with a plane. If you poke your finger through the plane, from a 2D reference, you appear to be a small circle. If, instead you move to lay your whole body within the plane, you look a lot bigger, look to have a lot more mass and you have a different shape. All with no real changes to you. $\endgroup$ – ShadoCat Mar 20 '17 at 19:59
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How about Cerberus.

You can't beat a three headed dog for menace and trainability....

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  • $\begingroup$ Isn't Cerberus often depicted as a fair bit larger than what the OP seems to be after, though? And of course, "mythical" doesn't imply "magical"; I don't think I've seen an account where Cerberus is particularly magical (other than existing at all and surviving in the environment in question, that is), but is certainly mythical. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Mar 20 '17 at 7:12
  • $\begingroup$ A single mage would take him apart. It's obvious, and even vulnerable to a knife fight in some cases. A fireball to the chest and the thing keels over. You need something sneaky, not something that takes five minutes to maul somebody. $\endgroup$ – Gryphon Mar 20 '17 at 7:35
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling The question does ask for a magical beast, so I had the thought of creating one to match the mythical. A three headed dog would certainly provide the shock-and-awe that a normal dog might not. There's no reason why a magical version couldn't be more manageable in size... $\endgroup$ – Snow Mar 20 '17 at 7:39
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Given that it sounds like magic is commonplace the animal should have some basic adaptation to that.

What about a roughly cat/small dog sized animal with fur that has a series of urticating hairs. These would be tiny little hairs it can shoot out over some small distance. Maybe instead of causing irritation they can have a bit of a soporific effect. The thought there is that best way to control someone who can do some random magic is to be unobtrusive. Imagine a street brawl broken up as the combatants all just start to collapse and pass out, tiny creatures flitting about the feet of the gathered crowd or perched on nearby rooftops. Of course, maybe those are just the young of this species. The larger ones could have stiffer hairs that function like modified teeth (think shark skin). Just touching them would be like pressing your skin against a grater and would make them terrifying to fight in close quarters. I don't have a great name but this animal has some traits borrowed from antlions, spiders, cats, and sharks. Quillers, quillbacks, arlions are a few thoughts.

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Ovtcharka, Caucasian Shepard Dog or Tibetan Mastiff. Both are huge aggressive dogs that can fight of large predators. A thug with a knife shouldn't be a huge problem. As bred dogs they're also easy to train compared to a wild monster.

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