German shepherd Günther spent a recent morning playing with his tennis ball, rolling in the grass, slogging a little and taking a lot of naps. Later, he had a “meeting” with real estate agents selling his Miami mansion, which his operators had bought from Madonna.
And of course Gunther was wearing her best faux diamond dog collar for the meeting—her real gold collar is back at her main home in Tuscany. As crazy as it sounds by Florida standards, Gunther VI inherited his vast fortune, including an eight-bedroom waterfront home once owned by the “Material Girl” singer, from her grandfather, Gunther IV. Was. At least that’s what the operators managing the property have to say.
A Tuscan-style villa overlooking Biscayne Bay went on sale Wednesday for $31.75 million — a huge markup from a $7.5 million purchase from the pop star two decades ago. The house also has a gilded portrait of Gunther IV above the living room fireplace.
The dog’s pedigree dates back decades when Gunther III inherited a multimillion-dollar trust from the late owner, German Countess Carlotta Liebenstein, who died in 1992. Since then, a group of handlers have helped maintain the jet-setting lifestyle for a succession of dogs. There are trips to Milan and the Bahamas, where the latest Gunther recently dined at restaurants every evening—his handlers want to make sure he’s well-socialized.
A cook prepares breakfast every morning with the finest meat, fresh vegetables and rice. Sometimes he enjoys caviar, but there is never any kibble in sight. He travels by private jet, works on obedience skills daily with his instructor and sleeps on a gorgeous round, red velvet bed that overlooks the bay.
“He lives in Madonna’s former master bedroom,” said real estate agent Ruthie Assouline, who made the listing with her husband, Ethan, for a 1.2-acre (0.5 ha) property in a row of half a dozen waterfront homes next to a public county park. And in the same street where Sylvester Stallone once lived.
“He literally sleeps in the former bedroom of the world’s greatest pop star overlooking the most spectacular view in an Italian custom bed.”
Carla Richitelli is one of Gunther’s chief caretakers and is on a board that now manages a nearly $500 million trust, deciding when to buy and sell real estate. The group has also bought sports teams including the men’s soccer team and women’s swim team and yes, Gunther played on the field and attended meetings, she said.
Richitelli, a 52-year-old animal lover who lives in Tuscany, met with Gunther’s caregiver group about 30 years ago. She immediately became involved with Dog and the Trust’s mission, and joined the team. She also helped build Gunther Rescue a few years ago to care for other animals.
She has cared for three previous Gunthers and often brings the current dog with her on regular trips to the market or visits to the kennel where she cares for stray animals.
“He’s not aggressive at all,” she said, with many people writing off the breed as wolves. “He’s great with other animals.”
“They are very protective with their owner, with their people. They like family so I usually invite friends over with other dogs,” she said during a phone interview.
She talks to the board that oversees the trust several times a month. The Miami real estate market is so hot, with such limited inventory, they decided it was an opportune time to sell.
Asolines are accustomed to multi-million dollar listings, but this one looked unbelievable.
“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,'” said Ruthie Asouline.
When she first met Gunther, he covered her face with such sloppy kisses that he licked her lipstick, she laughed.
As great as Gunther’s life sounds, he still has drama and hardships like everyone else. Back in Italy, Richitelli has two other dogs who live with Gunther – his favorite playmates.
But he also has six cats and a few hens.
Guess it’s a work in progress, Richitelli said.
“He’s still learning to live with six cats.”
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