The hobbits, or Halflings, were one of the speaking races of Middle-earth, closely related to Men. The hobbits were brought about early in the First Age, but lived in peace by the River Anduin. They were largely unnoticed until well into the Third Age. The hobbits, in 1050 of the Third Age, fled west from the Anduin because Mirkwood had become taken by evil. In 1600 of the Third Age, the founding of The Shire took place, and soon most hobbits lived either there or in Bree. There was a family of Stoors that still lived in the Gladden Fields, however.

Because of the protection brought by Gandalf and the Rangers, the Hobbits lived in comfort in the Shire, except in 1636, when there was the Great Plague, and the Long Winter of 2758, which the Rangers had no control over. In 2340 the Oldbucks settled in Buckland, and that area was added to the Shire, and in 32 of the Fourth Age the Westmarch was given to the hobbits by King Elessar. Men of the West did not know of the existance of hobbits. Only Gandalf and the Rangers seemed concerned with them, though the Elves added them to the Tales of Heroic Deeds because of Frodo's quest. The hobbits didn't care.

Hobbits seemed to have had matriarchal communities. Hobbits could be, in times of need, courageous and go undaunted by great terrors. This was the primary reason that Gandalf wanted a hobbit to be the Bearer of the One Ring. Hobbits did not trust the Outside World. Many had a strange fear of Big-folk, or Men, probably because of size alone. Hobbits usually lived to the age of about one-hundred. A hobbit's coming of age was upon reaching thirty-three.

Hobbits were small in stature, perhaps about three to four feet tall. They did not have beards, and could not. They tended to be fat and have curly hair, usually brown or red. Hobbits had high-pitched voices and hairy feet. They did not wear shoes because the foot-hair kept them warm, and the bottoms of their feet developed a leathery surface. They loved peace, and very rarely fought. They did not like machines, but were very good with tools. Hobbits credited themselves with the invention of smoking pipe-weed. Hobbits enjoyed a good hard-day's work just as much as they enjoyed a party. Usually on birthdays, a hobbit would give away gifts instead of receiving them.