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Maybe it's because I'm a dog person, but I've always really loved Ace, the Bat-Hound. I think he's a better sidekick than Robin.
The original Ace was a farmer's German Sheppard that helped Batman solve a 1955 counterfeiting case in the caper appropriately named "Ace, the Bat-Hound!" (Bruce Wayne has a remarkable detective mind, but he lacks for creativity. I mean, he does carry the Bat theme a little far, you've gotta admit: Batmobile, Bat Plane, Bat Cave, Bat Computer, Bat-Hound, Bat Shark Repellent... the list goes on.)
Bruce gave the dog a mask to prevent anyone recognizing him and linking the Batman and the Bat-Hound back to Bruce Wayne and Ace. Trust me, while it may seem that a mask on a dog isn't really going to disguise much of anything, in the world of comic books, that's some very sound reasoning indeed.