There are a lot of benefits that come from owning a dog. Dogs typically earn their keep by warding off thieves, keeping a neighbor's cat out of the yard, or just by being good company. However, some of the harder-working dogs out there do just fine without their master's paycheck, thank you very much. We took a look at the earnings of some of the most famous and highly pampered dogs in history and found a number that not only out-earned their owners, but kept them fed and happy — making people question just who the pet is in that equation.
Estimated Earnings: $13,000 to $22,000 per Instagram post and $4,000 a year on YouTube alone
Jiffpom once held the record for world's fastest dog on two front paws. But having more than 1 million Facebook followers, 2 million Instagram followers, a calendar and his own emoji app in the App Store has bumped up this Pomeranian's earnings potential.
Estimated Earnings: $3,000 to $5,000 per Instagram post
Tuna is a chiweenie (or chihuahua and dachshund mix) who was found on the side of the road in San Diego and adopted by his current owner after being spotted at a farmers market in Los Angeles where he was being shown for adoption. He has nearly 2 million Instagram followers, a book ("The Underdog with the Overbite"), guest spots on the Today show, and an East Coast tour. This little influencer owes a lot to both his owner and his recessed jawline.
Estimated Earnings: $1,700 to $2,800 per Instagram post and $10,000 to $15,000 per sponsored post
Owners Amber Chavez and Jon Huang helped build this French bulldog into a marketing machine. With 1.1 million Instagram followers, 1.7 million Facebook followers, and his own online store, book, and charitable foundation, Manny is nearly as famous as his namesake: boxer Manny Pacquiao. He even has endorsement deals, shilling for Turtle Wax when the occasion calls for it.
Estimated Earnings: $5,400 to $9,800 per Instagram post and $27,400 a year on YouTube
Doug is a social-media beast. With 6 million Facebook followers, 3.5 million Instagram followers, a prolific streaming presence, multiple books, a store full of merchandise, and a whole lot of celebrity friends, Doug has a full social schedule. After owner Leslie Mosier bought him from an Ohio breeder and moved him down to Nashville in 2012, Doug's life got a whole lot more exciting than most pugs could imagine.
Zhou Tianxiao had a $500,000 dog mansion built for his border collie, Sylar, in Beijing after a series of tricks performed online to Lady Gaga songs made Sylar famous. That prompted Tianxiao to open a dog food and toy store on Taobao, a popular Chinese e-commerce website, and make enough money to be financially stable. As a thank you to Sylar, Tianxiao converted an old warehouse into a pet mansion with a spa, a trampoline, an indoor pool, two huge portraits of Sylar and a party room. "Before I had Sylar, I had nothing to live for," Tianxiao said. "He gave me a purpose."
Estimated Earnings: $3,900 to $6,000 per Instagram post and $3,000 a year on YouTube
Time Magazine came up with 21 reasons why Maru, a Shiba Inu, is the best dog in the world. Adobe Systems appointed him chief advertiser last year to celebrate the Year of the Dog. Being the "smiliest dog in Japan" has its benefits, including an adoring 2.5 million Instagram followers.
Estimated Earnings: $1,850 per sponsored post
A King Charles spaniel rescue dog also had a huge Instagram presence (more than 400,000 followers and counting) and counted as an "influencer" before her death in December 2017. She posed as a sunglasses model, Harper Collins published her book, and she appeared on a Parker Thatch tote.
Estimated Earnings: $3,000 to $5,000 per Instagram post, $1,000 a year on YouTube
Another rescue dog — courtesy of television producer Shirley Braha — Marnie has an Instagram account Marnie has an Instagram account with more than 2 million followers, a Facebook page with more than 400,000 likes, an online shop, a book and an app.
Earnings: $1 million a year
It helps to know the right people. Boo's owner worked for Facebook and set up a page for the Pomeranian. Ke$ha tweeted a link to his page, which led to his role as Official Pet Liaison for Virgin America, which led to a deal for a book that's been printed in 11 languages.
Earnings: $3.2 million
Better known as Eddie, the Jack Russell terrier from the '90s sitcom "Frasier," Moose earned $10,000 per episode. His fortune added up to $3.2 million, but his legacy was not universally cheered by his "Frasier" castmates.
Earnings: $250 a week (between $4,400 and $4,500 when adjusted for inflation)
From 1932 to 1941, Skippy had a prolific Hollywood career. Known as Asta in the "Thin Man" movies, he was also featured in "The Awful Truth" and "Bringing Up Baby." Skippy was well known for his acting abilities and holds a place in the hearts of many movie lovers. It should be noted that while Skippy's highest take was $250 a week, his trainer was getting just $60.
Earnings: $50,000 to $100,000
Though he only appeared in two "Men in Black" films before his unfortunate death, the pug that played Frank in the first movie and its sequel got VIP treatment throughout the process: Flying business class, getting a hotel room, being fed room service. However, Mushu's greatest legacy remains: A constant reminder that pugs are fairly high-maintenance dogs that require just the right owner.
Earnings: $125 ($2,250) a week
Terry has a filmography of more than a dozen movies, but the greatest role Terry ever played was her gender-swapping role as Toto in the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz." So desperate was that era during the Great Depression that Terry was paid more than the actors playing the Munchkins.
Earnings: $200 million
Higgins, better known as Benji, may well be the best-paid animal actor of all time. The star of a number of movies and television shows, Higgins earned the bulk of his kibble as Benji. Owner Frank Inn was coy about exact figures, but Higgins' work and merchandising was rumored to have brought in more than $200 million.
Earnings: $4.2 million
In 1968, oil heiress Eleanor Ritchey left $12 million,114,000 shares of Quaker Oil stock, bonds, real estate, and Treasury bills to Auburn University with one minor stipulation: They had to spend $4.2 million taking care of her 150 adopted stray dogs. The school received the $12 million only after the last survivor, a mutt by the name of Musketeer, slipped the mortal coil.
Earnings: $3.3 million
Bathroom fixture manufacturer Sidney Altman left $6 million to his cocker spaniel, Samantha, when he died in 1998 at age 61. His girlfriend, 32-year-old Marie Dana, was stunned by the matter and sued for $2.7 million and custody of Samantha, saying Altman's will was "stale."
Earnings: $4 million+
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's wife set up a $4 million trust for their dogs, putting aside another $1 million for an employee to care for them to live in the couple's mansion and care for the dogs. When she died in 2009, the dogs became richer than their caretaker.
In England, Ramsden Brewery heiress Diana Myburgh left $50,000 trust funds each to Jasper, a Labrador-Doberman mix, and Jason, a Whippet, when she died in 1995. They were also given a 1,236-acre estate, rides in a chauffeur-driven stretch limo, and meals of mussels, sirloin steak, and Dover sole prepared by a personal chef.
Earnings: $80 million
Ella Wendel was the last remaining sister of an old-money New York family that dates back to the Gilded Age. An urban legend says her fortune was passed along to the poodle. However, Tobey outlived his owner by a only few months, after which the fortune was divided among multiple recipients. It is believed that only Wendel's home was reserved for the dog, and it was bequeathed to Drew University only after the dog died.
Earnings: $2 million
Trouble was former Manhattan real-estate mogul Leona Helmsley's white Maltese and is buried beside her in a mausoleum. That said, Helmsley died in 2007 and left the dog $12 million and a caretaker. The move spurred a nasty headline in The New Yorker, "Rich Bitch," A judge trimmed Trouble's inheritance to $2 million. In the dog's post-mortem published in The New York Times, it was revealed that the dog lived a lush life in Sarasota, Florida, on its owners' millions.
Earnings: $400 million
Countess Karlotta Libenstein of Germany left approximately $80 million to her German shepherd, Gunther III, in 1992. However, her trustees invested the money and tripled the fortune and bought the dog villas in Italy and the Bahamas, as well as a Miami Beach mansion formerly owned by Madonna. Gunther IV inherited his lavish lifestyle from his father, Gunther III.
Earnings: $4,500 (more than $46,500 when adjusted for inflation)
Memphis barber G.S. Richberg didn't think much of his family. When he died in 1948, he left the entirety of his estate to his dog, on the condition that it be paid out each month for the rest of the dog's life. The family argued the case all the way to the Tennessee Supreme Court, to no avail.