I am so happy to say that the Boxer is finished! Believe it or not this is a little girl, too. The photo was generously made available at a picture library, and in the file it stated that this cutie's name is Lucy. It must be a lucky name for me! :) The background is blurred out grass. In retrospect, it would have been easier to do a faint cloudy background to this one and probably would have been just as effective. Of course, I planned to keep with the photo. After completing the background, the pattern and depth of graphite seemed to be overpowering. My husband agreed. So... the background got some rework :( and a considerable amount of lightening to it. Now, both of us are happy with the result. A lot of time could have been saved by opting out of the reference background, but of course as most of you know, my preference has always been for busier ones. :) (Of course during the rework, I might have given a different answer!)
I did go back and work some 9b into the dog's face and ears. It helped to define the whiskers as they went in. Quite a few of the hairs around the lower jaw were not defined. Sometimes it is tempting to get carried away and put them in there, but then it throws off the natural appearance and makes the subject come across flat. I remind myself of that all the time, since whiskers are my favorite part of animal drawings!
So what is next for the drawing board? I have a lovely shot of my son with a little tree frog sitting on his hand that I would really like to do, but my husband is pushing for another dog. His choice is a darling picture of a little Yorkshire Terrier. I might do a line drawing of each and decide then, since I'm sure both will be renderings for this year. ;)