John Grogan might tell you a dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes – and that a waterlogged stick will do just fine – but that certainly isn’t the case for a German shepherd known as Gunther VI.
By all accounts, he’s just a regular dog. He spends his mornings playing with a tennis ball, rolling in the grass to collect some interesting smells, slobbering a little here and there; before undertaking daily obedience training, accomplishing a few heckin’ big stretches (ooh, big stretch), and finding a shady corner to nap. The one major difference here, of course, is the US$500 million / AU$690 million trust in Gunther VI’s name, as well as everything else being the world’s wealthiest canine entails.
There’s firing up his private jet for trips to Milan and the Bahamas, where Gunther VI recently dined out at restaurants every single evening (“his handlers like to make sure he’s well socialised,” noted NPR). There’s having a chef cook his breakfast each morning, consisting of the finest meat, fresh vegetables, rice, occasionally caviar, though never any kibble. And then there’s the matter of his sprawling nine-bedroom, Tuscan-style waterfront mansion located in Biscayne Bay, Miami… which his handlers purchased from – get this – fucking Madonna, and are currently attempting to sell for US$31.75 million / AU$43.77 million. Even his collars are a certifiable step up from the ordinary: faux diamond for meetings, real gold for home.
“He lives in Madonna’s former master bedroom,” confirms real estate agent Ruthie Assouline, referring to where Gunther’s red velvet bed is situated at this moment.
“He literally sleeps overlooking the most magnificent view in an Italian custom bed in the former bedroom of the greatest pop star in the world.”
“When it was explained that this house was bought by this German shepherd, I was like, ‘What are you talking about? I’m not following you.'”
So how exactly did Gunther VI come about his riches? Did this pooch make some well-time crypto investments like a certain market-beating hamster who quietly outperformed Warren Buffett? Or did he dig until he struck oil a la Daniel Plainview? As his name suggests, the answer lies in good old fashioned inheritance.
In 1992, Gunther VI’s grandfather – Gunther III – inherited a US$80 million / AU$110 million fortune from his late owner, the German countess Karlotta Liebenstein. It’s unclear how the line of financial succession is determined given how multiple pups are birthed in every given litter, i.e. whether the trust is bequeathed upon the goodest boi in its entirety or divided between several dogs within the living demographic of the Gunther bloodline. What we do know is that a group of handlers have been employed to help maintain both said trust and a “jet-setting lifestyle for a succession of dogs” ever since.
Carla Riccitelli is one of Gunther VI’s main caretakers who sits on a board that manages his nine-figure estate; an estate predominantly involved with the buying and selling of hot property, sports teams in men’s soccer and women’s swimming, and so forth. Gunther himself apparently plays on the field and attends meets.
Riccitelli, a 52-year-old animal lover who resides in Tuscany, first encountered the organisation charged with taking care of the Gunther lineage almost 30 years ago, and instantly “connected” with not just the dog(s), but also the objective at hand. She has reportedly ensured the last three Gunthers lived lavishly and was also integral to establishing the Gunther Rescue a few years prior to care for other animals.
“He’s not aggressive at all,” explains Carla Riccitelli.
“He’s very good with other animals. They’re very protective with their owner, with their people. They like to have the family around so I usually invite friends with other dogs over.”
Granted, his life is far easier than most, though not without its own fair share of dramas. Over at his main residence across the pond where he’s hosted by Riccitelli, while Gunther has no issues with his caretaker’s other two dogs – “his favourite playmates” – he does take some issue with his feline roommates.
“He’s still learning to be with six cats.”
UPDATE [1/03/22]: Gunther VI has officially sold his sprawling nine-bedroom, Tuscan-style waterfront mansion which formerly belonged to Madonna for US$29 million / AU$39.9 million.