Here’s the True Story of the World’s Richest Dog!
Have you ever been envious of a dog’s life? Eating, sleeping, playing fetch, being spoiled—sounds pretty great, right? Well just imagine if you had the life of a dog that inherited millions of dollars along with a staff whose sole purpose is to ensure he is living his best life no matter what the cost. That’s the story we’re going to tell you today. It involves Madonna, a million dollar truffle, an eccentric corporation, incredible luxury, and a dog named Gunther. This is the real story of the richest dog in the world, but first let’s talk about the person behind his fortune.
- Who is Karlotta Leibenstein?
- How it Works
- The Gunther Corporation
- Where He Lives
- Day-to-Day Life
- Other Rich Pets
- The Quote
Here’s the full article in a form of a video, packed for the Aluxers who like some colors along with the news:
With that said, let’s dive into the story.
Who is Karlotta Leibenstein?
Karlotta Leibenstein was a German countess who had a multi-million dollar fortune. She never had any children but cherished her pet dogs throughout her lifetime. Karlotta passed away in 1992. At the time, she had no close family to share her fortune with except for her dog—Gunther III—and she made sure he would be well taken care of for the rest of his life. She willed her entire fortune of 80 million dollars to him. When Gunther III passed away, the inheritance was passed along to his son, Gunther IV.
Over the years, Gunther’s caretakers have accumulated even more wealth for the dog through strategic investments and surprising ventures, and today the dog has a net worth of $373 million. By the way, Gunther IV is supposedly 28 years old today, but the average lifespan of a German Shepherd is 10 to 13 years, so it’s likely that it’s actually Gunther 5 or 6 by now, but the dog is still referred to as Gunther IV. Now that we’ve gone over some background, let’s take a look at what happens when an owner leaves a large sum of money to their pets.
How it Works
When a pet owner leaves an inheritance for their pet or pets, that money is typically put into a trust. A designated trustee is put in charge of the money and can determine how and when it gets paid out. Then there’s a primary caretaker who looks after the pet and requests payment for their services and all related expenses from the trustee.
There is also an enforcer who ensures that the trust is being managed properly and the funds are used only in the interest of the dog, cat, bird, or whatever other pet won the owner lottery. The enforcer can be named in the will or can be court appointed. But what happens to the leftover money after the pet dies?
Typically the owner determines that in the will, and the money is usually then donated to a charity or a specific individual. In Gunther’s case, the money is passed on to the offspring of the dog. There have been cases where the pet has died but the caretaker doesn’t want to lose their salary and other benefits, so they secretly try to buy a new animal to replace the one that’s passed away.
For this reason, pet owners have started putting time limits on how long the trustee can withdraw money from the trust. Let’s take a look now at how Gunther’s money is handled.
The Gunther Corporation
Gunther’s wealth is in a trust that is managed by the Gunther Corporation, which Gunther is the CEO of. It doesn’t appear that they are very limited in how they spend or invest Gunther’s money. Although the purpose of the corporation is to ensure that Gunther is taken care of, they have used his money in a number of unusual ways.
For example, they put together a theatre show called the Burgundians, which toured in South Florida in 1999. They spent millions producing a television musical special called Global Revolution, which aired once on Italian television. In 2006, they purchased the Pontedera Football Club, an Italian association football club in Tuscany. Officially, Gunther is the owner of the football club and all other assets of the Gunther Corporation. This includes a number of properties that have been purchased in his name.
Where He Lives
Gunther owns a number of properties, including several villas in Italy, properties in the Bahamas, and a German estate. His highest profile purchase came in 2000 when he purchased a 7.5 million dollar mansion from Madonna in Miami. The Gunther Corporation also looked into buying Sylvester Stallone’s 27 million dollar Miami villa before deciding on Madonna’s mansion.
The 7,000 square foot Mediterranean-style home has nine bedrooms and eight and a half bathrooms. It was purchased by a group that called themselves the Burgandians, who revealed Gunther as their mystery investor in a press conference after the sale had been finalized.
When in Miami, Gunther mainly stays in the master bedroom while the rest of the house is rented out for movie and television shoots. This is just one way that Gunther’s net worth steadily increases. Let’s take a look at how this wealth is spent in Gunther’s daily life.
Gunther is waited on paw and foot constantly. He has a personal maid who cleans up after him in addition to a butler who attends to his every need along with his many other caretakers. A typical day might see him taking a swim in his customized pool, taking a drive in his luxurious limousine, eating the finest steaks, caviar, and truffles, relaxing in one of his many enviable estates, drinking the finest bottled waters, and perhaps going to the spa or a high-end groomer.
He even goes to the occasional auction. In 2001, Gunther along with two of his staff showed up at a high-dollar auction in northern Italy. He even successfully bid on something—a 1.1 million dollar truffle. Gunther also has around the clock security. You can definitely say that Gunther is living the good life as the world’s richest dog.
Before we wrap up, let’s take a look at some other animals that have inherited incredible wealth from their owners.
Other Rich Pets
While Gunther is the wealthiest animal by far, a number of other animals have been given substantial inheritances by their owners who have passed away. In 2011, Maria Assunta, the widow of an Italian real estate investor, left her cat Tommaso 13 million dollars. Tommaso had previously been a stray cat she rescued from the streets of Rome. British antique dealer Ben Rea left nearly his entire 12.5 million dollar estate to his cat Blackie when he passed away in 1988.
In 2007, billionaire real estate mogul Leona Hemsley left her dog Trouble with a 12 million dollar trust fund after she passed away. Meanwhile, two of her four granddaughters were left out of the will entirely. A judge ruled that the 12 million was excessive and dropped the amount down to 2 million.
In 2001, publishing magnate Miles Blackwell left 10 million dollars to his pet hen named Gigoo. We promise we’re not making this up. And the final pet inheritance we’ll mention is for Bubbles the chimpanzee. You may recognize Bubbles as he was owned by Michael Jackson. He left $2 million for the monkey to be taken care of after his death.
While we’re on the topic of dogs, we thought we’d share a famous dog-inspired quote from Dwight Eisenhower that goes like this:
What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight—it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
Just a quick reminder that whatever weaknesses you think you have can likely be overcome by determination, perseverance, and the will to fight for what you want. And also on the dog theme, we’d like to recommend a book entitled Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing. In this interesting book, New York Times best-selling authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman offer insights on how to triumph while avoiding tragic failures.
Their advice is backed by cutting-edge science and is gleaned from successes in a wide range of areas, including politics, military training, sports, technology, and more. This popular book costs over 28 dollars, but you can check it out for free on Audible. Just go to alux.com/freebook and sign up so that you can get the audiobook version for free thanks to our partnership with Audible!
Now that we’re wrapping up this story, we’d like to know: Do you think wealthy people leaving millions to their pets is thoughtful or going overboard? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Thank you for reading until the end. Here’s a bonus fact just for you:
Oprah absolutely loves dogs, and she owns at least five herself. Around 2007 she rewrote her will to include a 50 million dollar inheritance for her dogs so that they could be taken care of if they outlive her. Her longtime boyfriend Stedman, on the other hand, was left out of the will completely.
Resource: 10 People Oprah Winfrey Made Rich