Gunther IV (Dog)
Gunther IV the German Shepherd was the original “World’s Richest Dog” and he lived until the age of 13 (1992 until 2005). His official caretaker was Maurizio Mian, who also ran The Gunther Corporation. His story was that his dad, Gunther III, was left an $80 million dollar trust when his human, German countess Karlotta Leibenstein, passed away in 1991. Gunther IV was well known in his home country of Italy during the 1990s. He became famous in the United States in 2000, after buying Madonna’s Miami mansion for $7.5 million, which his grandson, Gunther VI, sold in 2021 for $32 million. After the release of the 2023 Netflix docuseries Gunther’s Millions, it became widely known that the story of the countess was fake and that the money was Mian’s family’s. Gunther IV was a puppy related to Gunther III, who was actually the pet of Mian’s former girlfriend, Antonella Signorini.
Gunther III (Dog)
Gunther III is a German Shepherd that started the “Gunther Dynasty” of the world’s richest dogs, with his great-great-grandson Gunther VI currently holding that title. He lived from 1980 until 1992. The story was Gunther III was the dog of a German Countess named Karlotta Leibenstein, but was previously Leivenstein’s son’s dog. Her son, also named Gunther, committed suicide at the age of 26. Leibenstein had no other children or family, so she left her $80 million fortune to the dog. After Gunter III passed away in 1992, his son, Gunther IV, took over his estate.
When the 2023 Netflix docuseries Gunther’s Millions was released, it was revealed that the story of the Countess was a hoax by Maurizio Mian, the official handler of Gunther III and his succession. Gunther III was actually Antonella Signorini’s dog, who was Mian’s girlfriend in the 1980s. Gunther III’s real story is he started to get very ill at four years old. Mian, who considered Gunther III his dog as well, tried out a new osteopetrosis drug that his family’s pharmaceutical company created. The drug worked, improving Gunther III’s health and letting him live to the age of 12. Mian used Gunther III to help promote the new drug. This ended up inspiring him to create the story of the Countess and Gunther IV.
Gunther III was actually named after Gunter Sachs, who was one of iconic French actress Bridget Bardot’s husbands. The “III” comes from Gunther being Signorini’s 3rd German Shepherd.
Karlotta Leibenstein (Charlotte Liebenstein)
Karlotta Leibenstein, also known as Charlotte Liebenstein, is a fictional German countess invented by Maurizio Mian as the previous owner of Gunther IV, the world’s richest dog. She was made up as part of an elaborate hoax by Mian to claim the millions of dollars left to Gunther IV were from Leivenstein’s trust. The money was actually from Mian’s family’s pharmaceutical business, which Mian was avoiding paying taxes on in Italy.
For more info and frequently asked questions, visit our Gunther’s Million’s Recap.
Check out more celebrity pet profiles from Gunther’s Millions below:
Maurizio Mian – Gunther IV-VI’s handler and CEO of The Gunther Corporation
Cristina Mian – Mother to Mian’s daughter Joy Ann and his second ex-wife
Carla Riccitelli – Main representative to The Gunther Trust and Mian’s first ex-wife (who had a son together that’s also named Gunther)
Antonella Signorini – Mian’s ex-girlfriend and owner of Gunther III
Lucy Clarkson – Head of PR for The Gunther Trust
Lee Dahlberg – Official spokesperson for Gunther VI and The Gunther Trust