10 of the Richest Pets in History

Steve Jennings, Getty Images for Civic Entertainment Group
Steve Jennings, Getty Images for Civic Entertainment Group

The relationship between man and animal predates capitalism, but that hasn't stopped some of the wealthiest people to ever live from trying to mix the two by leaving their ridiculous fortunes to their pets. Which means that there are cats and dogs on this planet who have more money than you could ever hope to accumulate in your lifetime.

Some of the richest animals in the world have made their money through inheritance, but others have made it through marketing or acting. Here are 10 of the richest animals in the history of the world

1. GUNTHER IV

Gunther IV is a second generation ​millionaire canine—and currently the richest animal in the world. His father, Gunther III, inherited $80 million from German Countess Karlotta Liebenstein. He, in turn, left that money to his son, whose caretakers have invested his fortune to the point where Gunther IV is worth approximately $400 million. He owns mansions around the world, eats caviar daily, and has his own personal maid.

2. GRUMPY CAT


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Grumpy Cat—real name Tardar Sauce—is arguably the most famous animal on the planet, thanks to one of the most enduring internet memes ever created based purely on her permanently disgruntled look. Apart from her social media and merchandising empires, she also starred in her own movie, Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever, where she was voiced by Aubrey Plaza. Though her net worth is often cited as being about $100 million, her owner said that's not quite true. Still, it's definitely in the millions—and a heck of a lot more than the typical American can ever hope to make.

3. OLIVIA BENSON

She may be owned by Taylor Swift and share a name with a Law and Order: SVU character, but Olivia Benson doesn't just sit back and let the money flow in through her songstress benefactor. She has a huge social media presence and has starred in ads for Coke and Keds Shoes, netting her a personal fortune worth about $97 million.

4. OPRAH WINFREY'S DOGS

Luke, Layla, Sadie, Sunny, and Lauren have the distinction of being the dogs of Oprah Winfrey. That alone would make them rich in spirit, but it has the added hook of an assured inheritance. Winfrey has already agreed to leave the five dogs $30 million upon her death.

5. GIGOO

Gigoo, the chicken formerly belonging to the late British publisher Miles Blackwell, sits on a nest egg of $15 million. Blackwell sold his business and retired to the country just three weeks before he died, meaning that he was basically a middleman between Gigoo and his own net worth.

6. TOMMASINO

Maria Assunta was an extremely wealthy Italian woman who, upon her death, left her $13 million fortune to her cat Tommasino. The wealth wasn't just in cash though; the cat also became the owner of several castles, villas, and estates throughout Italy.

7. BLACKIE

Blackie was once at the top of this list as he used to be the world's wealthiest cat (as confirmed by Guinness World Records). His $12.5 million fortune came purely from inheritance. He is the last surviving pet of Ben Rea, a multimillionaire who was estranged enough from his own family to bequeath his riches to a feline.

8. CONCHITA

When you can afford to buy your dog Tiffany's necklaces and cashmere sweaters, it might be the universe's way of telling you you have too much money. Regardless, deceased heiress and socialite Gail Posner left her Chihuahua Conchita a sizable fortune of $8.4 million—including a posh waterfront pad in Miami—for seemingly no other reason than because she could.

9. BOO

Boo, a famously adorable Pomeranian owned by Irene Ahn, has built a merchandising brand around himself based purely on his unfiltered cuteness. Life-sized stuffed versions of himself are available for purchase, he has his own book, and he has accrued several million social media followers. His net worth currently sits at about $8 million.

10. BART THE BEAR II

Bart the Bear II is one of the few animals on this list to have actually earned his wealth. Basically, if you've seen a bear in a movie in the last 20 years, there's a solid chance it was Bart, who was named after Bart the Bear—an Alaskan Kodiak bear who starred in dozens of projects between the late 1970s and the late 1990s. (Bart passed away in 2000.) Though Bart the Bear II has no biological relation to the original Bart, both are trained by Doug Seus. If Bart II looks familiar, you may have seen him in an episode of Game of Thrones, where he squared off against Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister. He has a net worth of around $6 million.

12-Year-Old Is Making Bow Ties for Shelter Dogs In Order To Help Them Find Their Forever Homes

GlobalP/iStock via Getty Images
GlobalP/iStock via Getty Images

At 2 years old, New Jersey native Darius Brown was diagnosed with delays in comprehension, speech, and fine motor skills. At 12, he’s already founded a company, spoken to a national news corporation, and sewn hundreds of bow ties.

Brown's company, Beaux and Paws, donates the bow ties he creates to shelters to help animals get adopted, Today reports. The hope is that since dogs and cats sporting bow ties are so unbelievably adorable, people won’t be able to resist taking them home. It combines two of Darius’s passions, fashion and animals, and the idea was years in the making.


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When Brown's sister, Dazhai Brown-Shearz, was creating girls’ hair ribbons in cosmetology school, she and their mother Joy Brown decided to involve then-8-year-old Darius in the process, thinking it might help him exercise his fine motor skills and also have a positive impact on other tasks he struggled with, like tying his shoes.

It worked, and it also ignited an enthusiasm for style and design that extended beyond hair ribbons: Brown began sewing festive, vibrant bow ties for himself, which he told Today he wears “literally everywhere.” People started stopping Brown on the street, asking where they could purchase them. Then, when the pre-teen learned about how shelters couldn’t accommodate all the animals displaced by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, he had an idea for how to increase adoptions. Brown sent batches of bow ties to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and has since expanded his shipments to shelters all over the country.


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With more than 47,000 Instagram followers and a personal letter of commendation from former President Barack Obama, Beaux and Paws has grown exponentially since its inception, and Darius no longer needs to pay for supplies out of pocket; his GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $11,000. Brown is planning to put some of that money toward a summer trip that will take him to five different states, so that he can deliver his bow ties to shelters and assist with adoption events personally.

“We’re definitely very proud of Darius,” his mom told Today. “He’s overcome a lot and he’s still on his journey of overcoming a lot of things. He just keeps going for what he believes in.”

[h/t Today]

10 Quick Facts About Roadrunners

MikeLane45/iStock via Getty Images
MikeLane45/iStock via Getty Images

Anyone who was raised on Looney Tunes cartoons might be surprised to find out that roadrunners aren’t long-necked or purple-crested—but roadrunners and coyotes do occasionally engage in chases. Here are a few fast facts about these unusual desert birds.

1. Roadrunners are members of the cuckoo family.

Found in deserts, grasslands, and forests, the greater roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) cruises through the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. Its slightly smaller relative, the lesser roadrunner (Geococcyx velox), is generally found further south. Both birds belong to the cuckoo family, Cuculidae, which also includes anis and malkohas. All the members of the family have zygodactyl feet, with two forward-facing and two backward-facing toes. The arrangement gives roadrunners X-shaped footprints.

2. Roadrunners are fast—but coyotes are faster.

Greater roadrunner in a desert habitat
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According to The Real Roadrunner by Martha Anne Maxon, scientists have clocked the speedy birds running at 15 to 20 miles per hour. Coyotes can run twice as fast as even the fastest roadrunners, but luckily for the birds, coyotes would just as well dine on small rodents, plants, and lizards instead of birds.

3. Flying isn’t the roadrunner’s forte.

Most of the time, roadrunners get around on foot, but taking flight is an option too. Roadrunners will sometimes glide down to Earth from tree branches or canyon rims, but they’re limited to short-distance powered flights because their wings are weak and their muscular legs weigh them down. To get airborne, they usually need a running start.

4. Lizards, seeds, and hummingbirds are on the roadrunner’s menu.

Opportunistic and omnivorous, roadrunners will eat seeds, cactus fruit, snails, snakes, lizards, insects, arachnids, and rodents. Smaller birds are fair game, too. Roadrunners will sometimes lurk around birdfeeders and, with a great leap, snatch songbirds in midair. Wildlife photographer Roy Dunn recently filmed a roadrunner capturing a hummingbird at his backyard feeder.

5. Roadrunners can out-maneuver striking rattlesnakes.

Roadrunners have no fear of venomous rattlesnakes—in fact, they find them delicious. But hunting one takes patience. When the two beasts face off, the roadrunner will fan its wings, which makes the bird look bigger and more threatening. As the snake strikes, the roadrunner nimbly leaps out of the way. This happens over and over until the bird, having learned the snake’s routine, grabs it by the back of the head in mid-strike. Then the roadrunner bashes the snake against the ground until it’s subdued or dead. Since they don’t have talons and their beaks aren’t equipped to rip through flesh, roadrunners swallow snakes whole.

6. Puebloan peoples believe roadrunners ward off dangerous spirits.

Roadrunners are viewed as protective entities among Puebloan peoples in the southwest U.S. Members of these tribes scratched X-shaped symbols designed to look like the birds’ tracks into the earth around dead bodies. The Xs were believed to secure them from evil spirits: malevolent beings would get confused because they couldn’t tell which way the roadrunner who left the “footprints” had been headed. Likewise, roadrunner feathers were placed over cradles to protect the babies inside.

7. Roadrunners do not say “beep! beep!”

Male roadrunners emit cooing noises while courting females and defending territories. Both sexes also use barks and growls to communicate—and for unknown reasons, roadrunners like to produce a long series of clicks by snapping their beaks. The clicks might be a message about one’s territory or a signal to broadcast one’s location to others.

8. Greater roadrunners team up to defend their territories.

Greater roadrunner running across a road
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Considered monogamous, greater roadrunners sometimes pair for life. To help maintain the relationship, males periodically dance for their partners. They’ll also offer food and materials that can be used during nest construction. Both parents take turns incubating their eggs, which are laid in clutches of two to six, and they share chick-raising duties later on. Defending the home turf is another task they perform together. A single pair of roadrunners may occupy a huge territory encompassing up to 250 acres.

9. Roadrunners can conserve energy by lowering their body temperatures.

Roadrunners don’t migrate. On cold nights, the birds reduce their own body temperatures by as much as 15°F, which allows them to burn less energy. To help warm themselves back up, the birds like to sunbathe in the early morning [PDF]. They even raise their feathers to expose their skin directly to the sun’s warming rays.

10. The roadrunner is the state bird of New Mexico.

The greater roadrunner was formally chosen to be the Land of Enchantment’s state bird on March 16, 1949. Since then, the anti-littering organization Keep New Mexico Beautiful, Inc. has adopted an anthropomorphic roadrunner named Dusty as its mascot.

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