Well, it's not completely unheard of. I would say that it's a slightly demonstrative way of communicating experience or knowledge. Let's say Person A strikes up a conversation with Person B about the "monstrous Pitbulls" and the absolute need to outlaw the ownership of all dogs belonging to that particular race. Person B happens to be a highly qualified and responsible owner of Pitbulls and answers: "I have such dogs. And I have had them for over 30 years as the owner of breeding kennel X. I have never had any problems whatsoever connected with them, and I'm of the strong opinion that the problems associated with this particular race stems from the type of owners they sometimes attract rather than anything inherent with the dogs themselves. It's basically a cultural issue rather than a genetic one."
It should be said that English is not my first language though.
Whether an expression is common or not has little bearing on whether it is useful for learning a grammatical point or new vocabulary. Also, you have to remember that many phrases are more common in the original language but sound awkward when translated - this is all standard for language learning. Instead of focusing on how natural and common the sentences sound in English, let's just learn some Spanish!
Since "tales" translates to "such-and-such" when I clicked on it, I answered "I have such-and-such dogs". Imagine a group of dogs and someone asking "What kinds of dogs do you have?" My answer could be "I have such-and-such dogs" while pointing to the dogs I was referring to. It is a strech and unusual, but I'm not sure if it should be an incorrect translation of the statement, especially since "such-and-such" is listed as a possible translation of "tales."
Replace the plural noun with a singular, I'm using "collection", and insert an indefinite article: "I have such a collection." Now insert an adjective: "I have such a great collection." Which you hear all the time. So you can see this is grammatically correct, since I've done nothing illegal. As to the questions above, it is correct, and common, English, but only in formal contexts: "I have such a collection, and I'll have you know that collecting Pygmy skulls is a perfectly respectable pastime. Now good day."
Honestly that's a separate use of 'such', it's an intensifier that makes 'a great collection' into 'a REALLY great collection'. We're talking about 'such' as a determiner here, a way of referring to a kind of thing that we established earlier.
Picky I know, but the adverb form is incredibly common, whereas the determiner one isn't, and people can tell the difference even if they don't know the rules or the technical grammatical details. That's what's throwing everyone - people are happy to say "he is such a child", but they'd never say "I know such a child" in everyday speech, even though both are completely fine.
They have different meanings, and people aren't used to using 'such' to express that second kind of meaning. We'd normally say 'I know a child like that' or some other phrase along those lines. 'Such' has just fallen out of fashion, unless you're reading or listening to historical language. So long as you understand what it means, apply that to 'tales' in Spanish and just be aware that it's common to talk that way in Spanish even if the direct English translation sounds a bit dated. (Assuming it IS common phrasing in modern Spanish of course!)
LOL! "collecting Pygmy skulls is a perfectly respectable pastime." However, I have to note that you added an indefinite article that didn't exist in the original sentence. I agree that 'I have such a collection' is common in a more formal context, but I don't think you would really ever hear 'I have such collection', that would be awkward.
I checked with someone who speaks Spanish and he said no one would say this sentence in Spanish either. Though maybe Spanish in another region is different... I wouldn't say "I have such dogs" unless it was in answer to a question, and it would be an awkward way to respond. I would say "I have such happy dogs" though.
http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/tal This site explains the different uses for the word quite well, 'tales' being the plural of 'tal'. In this context it could mean 'I have such dogs!' like, 'I have such incredible dogs!' I can't be sure but that's what I took it to mean and it fits with the examples in the above site. Maybe it can mean both that and 'I have dogs like that'... Neither read all that well in English though
The expression definitely exists in English, like many people have said it's a fairly formal way of speaking. It would come after some kind of description, something like:
"There are dogs that are playful, loving, and fiercely loyal. I have such dogs."
It's basically a way of saying "something that fits that description", or "that kind". It works, but it threw me too - maybe because it was presented without any context?
This sentence might be slightly quaint if translated word for word, but with a slight adaptation it would be perfectly normal to my (native English) ear.
Imagine a customer walking into a pet shop and saying, "Can you suggest a breed of dog that doesn't shed, will not trigger allergies, is extremely gentle, doesn't bark too much and is playful?" The pet shop keeper might well respond, "Yes, as a matter of fact, I have just such a dog. It's actually a mixed breed known as a Golden Doodle."
This would be a perfectly idiomatic and common turn of phrase, and I am sure I could find many other such usages.