Men with beards harbour more germs in their mutton chops than dogs carry in their fur, scientists say.
A study shows every sampled beard was crawling with bacteria, and nearly half had bugs that were hazardous to human health, the Daily Mail Australia reports.
The Australian publication says scientists wanted to discover whether there was a risk that humans might pick up a dog-borne disease from an MRI scanner that was also used for examinations by vets.
Research took swabs from the beards of 18 men and the necks of 30 dogs, across a range of breeds, and compared the results.
Researchers found a significantly higher bacterial load in specimens taken from the men's beards compared with the dogs' fur. Seven men were even found to harbour microbes that posed a threat to human health.
After the MRI exams of the dogs, the scanners were disinfected and showed lower bacteria count compared with levels seen when used by humans.
Professor Andreas Gutzeit, of Switzerland's Hirslanden Clinic told the Daily Mail the study found all bearded men, aged from 18 to 76, showed high microbial counts, but only 23 out of 30 dogs had high counts.
"On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered clean compared with bearded men," he told the Daily Mail.