Question: Is one allowed to have a watch dog inside the house in the Maliki school? What are the conditions for having such a dog, if any? Are there specific criteria that need to be met concerning the *need* of this type of dog besides one’s own subjective interpretation of needing a watch dog?
Answer: If there is a reasonable cause to own a watchdog, then it would be permissible to own one. If there is a reasonable need to have that dog inside the house, then it would be permissible to keep the dog in the house.
What is ‘reasonable’ would be defined by the people of a certain area and the experts in that field. So, a person should ask the opinion of local enforcement as well as pious Muslims in that area to determine what is reasonable.
The criteria for owning a dog would be that one feeds it food that is not impure (najasa). Therefore, one would have to buy vegetarian food or use meat that is from a properly slaughtered source.
Another reason for not purchasing conventional dog food would be that Muslims should not support the modern, mass meat processing industry that is inhumane. The torture of animals is prohibited, and the modern meat industry has extreme torture in the raising and processing of animals for meat.
Another criteria for owning a dog is to make sure that the impurities of the dog, do not affect the clothing and area of prayer. The bulb of the hair of animals that falls out or is plucked is impure.