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I was wondering whether dwarfs (e.g. the ones from LOTR) are born with a beard.

enter image description here

I've just read something about baby hedgehogs getting born with a membrane on their spikes from hurting their mom (source). So I figured the beard of a baby dwarf could be covered with such a membrane just like the spikes of a hoglet.

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    Dwarves have, I believe, been known to call someone a 'beardless youth' or to reference someone 'coming into their beard'. Sadly, I can't recall if this was in Tolkein's work or just in things it inspired. – Jeff Aug 28 '13 at 19:48
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    I should point out that there's no reason to believe a beard would hurt a birthing mother. Newborn infants are often born with full heads of hair. The amniotic fluid soaks the child, and any hair tends to be sodden and plastered flat against the skin. – Jeff Aug 28 '13 at 19:53
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As it was originally tagged LoTR dwarfs:

Lord of The Rings

In The War of the Jewels , Tolkien wrote:

"no Man nor Elf has ever seen a beardless Dwarf - unless he were shaven in mockery, and would then be more like to die of shame... For the Naugrim have beards from the beginning of their lives, male and female alike..."


And to add now that the tag has been removed:

Nearly every writer has their own idea of Dwarfs, Dwarves and Mountain Dwellers! So to find reference to the way each idea of a Dwarf is born, would be madness, however, i'll give it a bash from the settings that I have seen, read etc.

Warhammer

No mention in the lore about Dwarf babies, there is a miniature of a Dwarven female villager holding a baby, however the face of the wee thing can't be seen and these were only made in the 1980s.

Discworld

I don't recall any mention of babies at all in Discworld. The only reason for mentioning anything in the books is about Women distinguishing themselves as such in society rather than just being "A Dwarf".

D&D, Forgotten Realms

No mention

Generally, I think it's a matter of interpretation. If you're reading/watching something based on Tolkiens version of Dwarfs then one should assume that they are born with beards. Otherwise, in stories where it's not necessary for Dwarfs to have beards and some are known to trim, style or completely shave off their beard; it can be assumed that there isn't much emphasis on the beardyness and it's doubtful that they are born with them.

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Since, Dwarf is a broad category of creatures finding their reference in most fantasy stories, it is very difficult to say whether dwarfs are born with beards. Also they are depicted in the later stages of their lives rather than pre-adolescent stage.

But what we find in the only depiction of a young dwarf, baby dwarfs are hinted to have no beard. In Disney's version of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS , Dopey was the youngest dwarf, this suggests that he has not yet entered adulthood and hence not grown a beard, which implies that he was not born with a beard. enter image description here

I would also like to point out that the modern concept of dwarf originated from the Norse and Germanic mythology. Dwarfs were 'produced' rather than 'born' and there is also no account of female Dwarfs, which rules out reproduction. Quoting Wikipedia:

Norse mythology, as recorded in the Poetic Edda (compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources) and the Prose Edda (written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century) provide different mythical origins for the beings. The Poetic Edda poem Völuspá details that the dwarfs were the product of the primordial blood of the being Brimir and the bones of Bláinn.

I think this might be the reason we never encounter 'Baby' dwarfs.

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    i read e.g., so it means: 'for example, the ones from the lord of the rings series' – Madeyedexter Sep 3 '13 at 18:28
  • e.g. or exempli gratia is latin for 'for example'. I meant dwarfs in general. – Joren Sep 3 '13 at 21:31
  • @Joren: I think you should then consider removing the tag 'lord-of-the-rings' in your question by editting it. – Madeyedexter Sep 4 '13 at 1:40
  • Good suggestion, done. – Joren Sep 4 '13 at 7:42

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