Have now finished the neck area and I am calling it done - minus the whiskers and, of course, the inevitable touch-ups I feel need doing after living with it for a while. BUT as you will no doubt notice, it is still without a background.
I have never been happy doing backgrounds for head studies - you can see this in my work - preferring to leave the white of the paper. Do they really need one? I'm not totally averse to them and will add one if requested to when doing a commission or if I feel it would benefit from having one - if I need to make a lot of white hair or whiskers stand out for example. Having said all this I do want to incorporate backgrounds more into my own work in the future and need to work on this.
If not done correctly a background can be overpowering, not harmonize with the subject or even worse, the subject could end up looking as if it has been stuck on. For these reasons alone I should have worked on the background while I was doing the dog and not left it to last - naughty I know and would probably get a slap on the wrist from many an artist for doing so. I was thinking about it all the way through, honest.
I just hope that whatever I choose to do for this drawing works otherwise I will have wasted 16+ hours working on the dog - another good reason for doing the background first or at the same time.