yes, you did help!
Thanks Boris for the reply. I agree with you about the liability in some dogs and their training and/or temperment. I don't want a dog that has a higher risk of doing something damaging, but I also realize that a lot of that risk can be minimized by proper training and breeding and care.
What we're interested in is a family dog that will act as an alarm, one that's big enough to be a deterrent but also not so big that it's a liability or one that my wife couldn't control or hold back on a leash.
German Shepards keep coming up but I've never been fond of them due to their long hair, and they are a little bigger than what I would prefer. I would like something around 25-30 pounds, short hair, good with kids, but is an alert-type dog. Thanks for any suggestions!