If you've got a beard, or kiss someone who does, you might want to spring for some clippers: researchers say their facial fuzz carries more germs than a dog does.

The Daily Mail  reports the results of a small study from Switzerland’s Hirslanden Clinic, which was initially launched to see if dogs could transfer harmful bacteria to their owners.

In fact, the opposite turned out to be true.

The clinic's professor Andreas Gutzeit told the paper, "The researchers found a significantly higher bacterial load in specimens taken from the men’s beards compared with the dogs' fur."

The scientists studied 18 men of various ages, and the necks of 30 dogs from a number of breeds, and noted that nearly half of all sampled beards hid bugs dangerous to humans.

All of the men had high microbial counts, while 23 out of 30 of the pooches' fur did.

"On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean compared with bearded men," said Dr Gutzeit.

Keith Flett, who founded the beard promoting Beard Liberation Front -- yes, that's a thing -- chalked up the study to another example of pogonophobia, or the fear of beards.