This article is about two races from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Legendarium, races that are similar but still very different, although both of them play a large role in the larger lore of Middle-earth. They are the Dwarves and the Hobbits, and I am going to tell you the similarities and differences between these two races.
The differences and similarities between the Dwarves and the Hobbits
Dwarves and Hobbits are smaller than Men and Elves, while Dwarves are slightly taller than Hobbits. They are very strong and have excellent durability. They have heavy legs and can make a loud noise while walking. Their natural lifespan is around 250 years, but some Dwarves can live even longer. Dwarves are quite hairy, with both men and women having beards from early childhood.
As for Hobbits, most of them are 3 to 4 feet tall. They are particularly light and quiet while walking, which they often use to their advantage. This is in part why Gandalf selected Bilbo as the “thief” in The Hobbit. Most Hobbits are completely hairless, with only a small number of Hobbits having small fluffs on their beards. They usually don’t wear shoes or boots because the soles of their feet are thick and covered with curly hair, both of which act as protection. Hobbits usually around 90 years but some have lived for more than a 100 years.
Both Hobbits and Dwarves are mortal, but for different reasons. Hobbits are descendants of Men, who are the younger children of Ilúvatar (God). Like Men and unlike Elves, they die from aging, and when they die, they cross the Circles of the World.
The Dwarves were not created by Ilúvatar, but by the great Vala blacksmith and craftsman named Aulë. Aulë couldn’t wait for the Children of Ilúvatar to arrive, so he made his own version, the Dwarves. Ilúvatar wasn’t happy with it, but Aulë repented. Ilúvatar forgave Aulë and gave the Dwarves free will and independence. It’s unclear what happens when Dwarves die, but it is believed that Aulë, their maker, cares for them in halls set aside for them.
Family is an important part of the lives of both Dwarves and Hobbits. Both races show an interest in genealogy and the familiar relations between the members of a group. However, Dwarves tend to have very small families. In theory, only half of the Dwarf men marry because there are two Dwarf men for every Dwarf woman. The actual number is even smaller, as not all Dwarf women marry during their lives.
(As it seems, both races are exclusively monogamous and heterosexual, as there is no indication to the contrary.)
Hobbits, on the other hand, have a normal gender ratio of roughly 1:1. They mature by the age of 33 and usually marry around that time. Apparently, Hobbits tend to get frisky, which is why they often have large families. Large families can live together in a huge network of ancestral holes. Examples include the Tooks, who occupy the Great Smials, and Brandybucks, who live in the Brandyhall. Genealogy is a passion for Hobbits. Only Hobbits and the Men of Bree use last names. Everyone else, including the Dwarves, is referred to by a patronymic (i.e., son/daughter of so-and-so)
Most of the differences between the two cultures have been explained in the sections about the races (see above), where we have written about their living customs, habitats, occupations and leisure activities. This is why we do not think that we have to stress out all the differences, but we would like to emphasize that both races enjoy a good meal and that they both enjoy smoking pipes, which are the two main similarities between the races in the cultural sense.