Meet Gunther. He has a self-claimed net worth of $400 million and dines on gold-flake-covered steaks prepared by a private chef. He reportedly has both a security and public relations team. Oh yeah… he’s also a dog.
The handlers of this German shepherd (and good boy) claim he’s the world’s richest dog, even boasting that he bought a $7.5 million mansion in Miami from Madonna, only to later sell it for $29 million. But exactly how much of the mythos that has been created around Gunther is true is questionable—and is now being explored in a new Netflix series.
The official story of Gunther goes like this: He inherited his wealth from his grandfather, Gunther III, who was allegedly left $80 million in 1992 by a German countess named Karlotta Leibenstein, who did not have a living relative. That story, though, seems to have plenty of holes.
Fox Business, for instance, says there’s no evidence the countess ever existed. And the Daily Beast says Gunther’s handler, Maurizio Mian, created the story to avoid Italian taxes.
Either way, the money is real (though that $400 million figure has been disputed). And its impact on the humans around him is disturbing.
Mian, who was reportedly a professor before making Gunther his full-time job, allegedly created a company that hired models to sing and dance for the dog, but it was disbanded after he was accused of conducting “science experiments” to study happiness. The Netflix special also details sex parties, Gunther recording an album (“Wild Dog”) and the canine’s ownership in a horse-racing company.
It’s a collection of accusations and salaciousness that rivals that of Netflix’s other shockumentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Only Gunther is a lot more sympathetic than Joe Exotic.
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