The closest Smith has come IMHO is the 396/396NG. The are a little larger than the 'Dog.
If you had to use one in anger, which would you rather they confiscate?
I carry the Bulldog. It's accurate enough (especially with a Crimson Trace grip).
Yeah the build quality is one notch above crud (maybe) but I trust it to not blow up in my hand (barely).
I use a Mernickle holster for it.
Open carry, there is no question, the 396 wins.
BTW both the 696 and 396 fit well in the holsters that were made for the 3" 24 and 624.
The 396 won't necessarily fit in a 696 holster because of the high front sight.