Men’s Beards Carry More Bacteria Than A Dog And We’re Concerned

This is ruff. Scientists in Switzerland have released a study that determines that men’s beards carry more germs than a dog’s fur. So it’s time to start cuddling up to your dog at night rather than your boyfriend.

Scientists weren't even trying to determine if men's beards were worse than dog's fur either — they just stumbled upon that accidentally while trying to research something else. Are we happy they discovered this? Not really. Ignorance is bliss, right?

The Study

man with dog at NEC in Birmingham
Photo Credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Photo Credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

Researchers at Switzerland’s Hirslanden Clinic were performing a study to determine if humans could contract dog-borne diseases through medical equipment. They wanted to test an MRI scanner that was used for both humans and animals, but instead, they ended up with some other results.

In order to test this, researchers at the clinic took swabs from the beards of 18 men and the neck fur of 30 dogs to test for bacteria.

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Studies Show...

man with beard and dog in Northern Italy
Photo Credit: DeAgostini/Getty Images
Photo Credit: DeAgostini/Getty Images
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The results are in, and it’s not good for hipsters, the men of Duck Dynasty, or anyone in between. After testing 18 men between the ages of 18 and 76, studies determined that allof the bearded men had a high microbial count. Seven of the men even reportedly had microbes that could be considered a "threat to human health" - clarification on what this actually means hasn't been given.

In comparison, of the 30 dogs that were tested, only 23 of the dogs had high microbial counts. The remaining dogs had moderate microbial counts.

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What They Were Originally Looking For

dog getting MRI in Munich, Germany
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Photo Credit: Agency-Animal-Picture/Getty Images
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Just as an FYI, scientists were also presented with the results that they originally intended to get from this experiment, regardless of how dirty your husband's beard is.

In terms of humans contracting diseases from dogs through medical equipment: the results suggest that there is no significant risk for a human entering an MRI scanner after an animal has used it, especially if it has been disinfected in between. Not sure if this is implying they're not always disinfected in between, but we'll ignore that for now.

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Some People Were Not Pleased With The Results

ZZ top in 1984
Photo Credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images
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Keith Flett, the founder of the Beard Liberation Front, was not happy about the results though, and said in an interview that "I think it's possible to find all sorts of unpleasant things if you took swabs from people's hair and hands and then tested them." He's not wrong in pointing out that the scientists only tested beards, so the results may have differed depending on what they studied.

Flett also believes that the study stemmed from pogonophobia - a fear of beards and mustaches - which seems to discredit his opinion a little bit...

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The Takeaway

couple with dog on ground outside a tent
Photo Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
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Professor Andreas Gutzeit of the Hirslanden Clinic confirmed with the BBC that "on the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean, compared with bearded men." Remember that the next time you refuse to let your dog on the bed. You already have someone up there with the same level of bacteria...

The general takeaway, says the researchers, is that men need to make sure they're washing their beards properly. That'll basically solve the issue. Also, from us to you: bathe your dogs more often - they deserve clean fur too.