A German Shepherd sold a Miami estate once owned by Madonna for $29 million, but it was all a ruse.

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The story of Gunther VI, reportedly the world’s richest dog, is explored in a new Netflix investigative docu-series, which premieres February 1, titled Gunther’s Millions. The four-part series follows how a high-ranking dog amassed his wealth and how the owners managed to look after the coveted trust.

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“It’s a truly shocking story that feels larger than life,” director Aurélien Letourgi told FOX Business. “Sounds like a fairy tale. You have this dog – the richest dog in the world – with the most luxurious life and glamorous surroundings. The story sounds crazy. So, naturally, we were intrigued from the very beginning. many media outlets have been reporting stories about Gunther, but this time we were able to gain unprecedented access. No one has been given the access we have to fully tell the story and dig deeper.”

Gunther rests in an Italian villa

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The story goes that the spoiled dog inherited his fortune from the late German Countess Carlotta Liebenstein, who lost her beloved son, also named Gunther, to suicide. The noblewoman, who had no heirs or close relatives, set up a trust before she died in 1992 and left her entire $80 million fortune to her furry companion. The dog – Gunther VI’s grandfather, Gunther III – was placed in the care of a close friend of her deceased son, Maurizio Mian. The offspring of an Italian pharmaceutical company quickly built an empire around his beloved pet.


Gunther VI surrounded by his followers

However, there is no evidence that the Countess ever existed. Some reports claim that there may even be more than one Gunther.

“There are a lot of things that we have discovered,” Letourgy said. “This is the story that was presented to us in the first place… We learned later that Maurizio is very attached to the story of the Countess and the Countess’s son. I mean, these are… characters that represent something very deeply to him. We had to dig deeper to understand this. But it’s important to him because it’s his story.”

Günther VI is served by the chef

But one thing is for sure, according to the filmmakers, Gunther is very serious.

“Guenther lives in Italy,” said executive producer Emily Think. “He has a very good life and is very well taken care of. There have been several Gunthers over the years. Obviously, Gunther doesn’t necessarily travel or do all the chores – that’s what caregivers do. They will have a deputy if they feel that it is not advisable to take Gunther with them for security reasons. They are also very protective of him.”

Today, Gunther’s fortune is estimated at $400 million. According to reports, some of the assets of Gunther Corp. include villas in Italy, an estate in Germany, real estate in the Bahamas, private jets and a yacht.

Günther posing next to Carlotta Leibenstein

Mian told an Italian publication that the Gunther fiction was “just a fiction to popularize the philosophy of the Gunther Group and Gunther Foundation,” as the Tampa Bay Times reported in 1995. from the Italian press”, which was unfair to the Gunther Foundation, now known as Gunther Corp.

In 1999, the Miami Herald reported that Gunther tried to buy the mansion from Sylvester Stallone. The next day, the publication reported that it was just a publicity stunt.

“If you want to write that it’s a joke, you can write it,” Mian said. “I will not do anything”.


Carlotta Leibenstein with Gunther

Gunther may not spend money, but he is depicted in the film as someone who lives the high life. According to reports, Gunther is expected to be on his feet with several caretakers, eating steaks with golden flakes for dinner, drinking bottled water, and frequenting a top-notch groomer to make sure he’s always ready to shoot. Gunther is also well protected by the security team.

According to Thinking, Gunther’s curators are actively looking for ways to further expand his brand. There have been discussions of a “digital collection” that will allow fans to interact with it.

Mian gave an in-depth interview for the documentary series. At one point, he stated that Gunther was cloned, but then quickly hinted that this was nothing more than a joke.

Maurizio Mian on a yacht with Gunther

“He’s a typical Maurizio,” Think chuckled. “He lives between reality and fantasy. And for him, the loss of the history of the countess and son was a very big blow. This is what has been with him for so long. It became part of his personality. was trying to recreate something, trying to maybe build a new storyline where he could control the narrative, maybe something to shock the audience. There is always something important in his story. It is always an attempt to get media attention. I believe [the claim of clones] he’s trying to feed another story in there.”


Several German Shepherds were believed to be Gunther

“There are aspects of this story that are real,” Letourgy said. “Gunther pretty much exists. But there are other aspects of the story that took us quite a while to understand. Of course, this required our study. But Gunther is also an ideology. Gunther epitomizes the way of life. over the years to understand where reality ends and fiction begins. A little bit of both.”

Mian’s own money appears to have come from his family’s Italian pharmaceutical business, Istituto Gentili, which, along with American pharmaceutical giant Merck, developed a cure for osteoporosis, which causes weakening of the bones. It was bought by Merck in 1997.

Young Maurizio Mian with Gunther

Carla Richitelli, also interviewed in the film, is Gunther’s handler and Mian’s “ex-partner”.

Maurizio Mian and Carla Richitelli in Italy

“As interesting and eccentric as Maurizio was, over the years he surrounded himself with people who added to his eccentricity and supported different parts of his story,” Letourgi said. “Each of them was a lot of fun and exciting to interview. It was probably one of the things that surprised us every time we sat down and met a new person for an interview.”

Letourgi admitted that it’s “difficult for us to know” if Mian and his family are still hiding secrets.

Carla Richitelli showing off her Gunther tattoo

“Every good story has secrets,” he said. “But I think we did everything we could to reveal everything we learned. But with Maurizio, you never know. That’s the beauty of it.”

“I think Maurizio is looking for happiness,” he continued. “I believe that this story about the countess and the son and all these elements, all these great chapters of his life, was his way of surrounding himself with people and keeping himself motivated, entertained. I think it helps him find happiness. … But no matter how rich Maurizio is, money can’t buy happiness.”


Leturgy believes that Gunther is indeed the richest dog in the world.

Members of the Burgundians in the pool with Günther

“Judging by the publications, Gunther always comes first,” he said. “Since Gunther is the beneficiary of the trust and the trust owns all this money, then yes, Gunther is the richest dog in the world. Whether the money comes from the Countess or the Mian family, it still makes Gunther the beneficiary. Therefore, Gunther is the richest dog in the world.”

“And this is not the end of the story,” added Think.