Beards themselves are not necessarily unhygienic, however poor beard care including allowing it to become a food trap, makes a dog look positively pristine.
Beards themselves are not necessarily unhygienic, however poor beard care including allowing it to become a food trap, makes a dog look positively pristine.

Are beards more gross than dogs? Science has the answer

You're better off giving your dog a smooch than your bearded boyfriend because those whiskers could be a potential health hazard.

A recent study by Swiss scientists found there were more germs harboured in a beard's whiskers than dogs carry in their fur.

The study found all the beards sampled were rife with bacteria, and almost 50 per cent carried bugs harmful to human health. The dogs tested showed much lower levels of microbes.

The study was originally aimed at determining if humans were at risk of picking up a dog-borne disease from an MRI scanner used by vets.

Researchers took swabs from the beards of 18 men and the necks of 30 dogs, across a range of breeds, and compared the results.

They found "a significantly higher bacterial load" in specimens taken from the men's beards.

After the MRI exams of the dogs, the scanners were disinfected and showed a 'significantly' lower bacteria count compared with levels seen when used by humans.

'On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean compared with bearded men,' said director of the study, Professor Andreas Gutzeit, of Switzerland's Hirslanden Clinic.


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