The Shire was the homeland of the Hobbits, usually they are smaller than Men. They were fairly good archers and quite skilled with stone-throwing. Did the Shire Have any Defense system to protect them from any invasions from their neighbour kingdoms ?

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    I'm sure any standing Hobbit army would have had more in common with Dad's Army, than a regular one :) Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 14:20

2 Answers 2


The section entitled "Of the Ordering of the Shire" in the Prologue to Fellowship of the Ring provides your answer.

The Shire had no standing army, but would conduct a muster as required, which would be commanded by the Thain (the similarities with Rohan are observable). In practice this never actually happens:

The Thain was the master of the Shire-moot, and captain of the Shire-muster and the Hobbitry-in arms, but as muster and moot were only held in times of emergency, which no longer occurred, the Thainship had ceased to be more than a nominal dignity.

Aside from that, they did also have the Shirriffs who would also act as a "peace-keeping" force (among other duties) and could even "rustle up a posse" if required to deal with Outsiders:

A rather larger body, varying at need, was employed to 'beat the bounds', and to see that Outsiders of any kind, great or small, did not make themselves a nuisance.

Per Simon's comment (below), they also had the Dunedain, which took care of a lot of outsiders; however the shire had no control over these. After the events at the end of Return of the King they gain Pippin and Merry.

And that's about it.

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    Yes, Hobbits had a defense militia. Bullroarer Took led a fight against goblins from the Misty Mountains at the Battle of the Greenfields in TA 2747. He knocked the head of the king Goblin into a hole and won the battle and invented the game of Golf.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 17:46
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    @Oldcat - true that; also from the Prologue: "To the last battle at Fornost with the Witch-lord of Angmar they sent some bowmen to the aid of the king, or so they maintained, though no tales of Men record it".
    – user8719
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 18:55
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    @JimmyShelter: I bet a swift check of the records would show that Bullroarer Took's story can't be corroborated either. Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 21:55
  • @SteveJessop There wouldn't be any (external) records to check; that occurred nearly 800 years after the fall of the Northern Kingdom. It was also only 150 years before Bilbo was born, and part of an Orc invasion wholly unrelated to any larger war.
    – chepner
    Commented Aug 29, 2019 at 17:58

Who would invade them ?

Since they reckon more on their discretion than on their ability to fight, mostly because they hate troubles, they don't need any army. If they suddenly need one, they would build up one, if not crushed before, else they won't bother themselves by thinking about it.

You have a human mind, and in The Lord of the Rings, humans build up armies. Every time. But Hobbits are peaceful and troubles are considered as some marginal characteristic. You, as a hobbit, wouldn't want to be seen carrying armor and weapons, even for playing, because elders could think that you are serious, and then you should say good bye to you socail status. No more friends, no more party invitations, neighboors advicing youglings to not come near the guy-looking-for-adventures's garden, ...

It's the same for actual humans about sustainable Development. We know we should reduce our comfort in order to the environment to not weaken around us, but we can't bear this conclusion. We would, in fact, do sacrifices and afforts when we won't have the choice, like the Hobbits would build up an army if they were close to be crushed. But not significantly before that point.

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    Unless the hobbit's territory had zero value this would seem unwise. Do you have any references for this; Jimmy Shelter's answer also seems to contradict this
    – user20310
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 14:22
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    Who would invade the Shire? Well, apparently Saruman.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 15:11
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    Saruman, Wolves (during the Fell Winter), Golfimbul's Orcs, the Black Riders: there are cases of the Shire having been invaded in the past, yes.
    – user8719
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 19:57
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    Eventually Men, because even now Hobbits are hiding. Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 12:12
  • The Thain, at the times when the story takes place, is no mare than an honoific title, as said and showed in the book. Furthermore, even if I could admit that some people had happened to invade the Shire, it doesn't invalid my point. Regarding the case of Saruman, he succefully invades the Shire because they didn't defend themselves, that's why he so quickly invades the place and set up his own army. No actual military corpse to defend the Shire, so the Hobbit are took by surprise before they can make a move. If you compare them to the men, always patrolling all along their borders...
    – Sarkouille
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 10:09

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