Thread: dwarfish birth
The first Dwarves were created by Aule from stone and given wills by Iluvatar. They became living beings. I think if you read it carefully, you will find the Silmarillion only says that to other races, it may appear as if Dwarves pop out of the ground. They have women-folk who bear their children, just like any other race, but these females are kept guarded and few are ever seen by non-Dwarves. For this reason, the other races at first assumed Dwarves were created from the rocks in which they lived.
PS I will reread that part!!!
Now it may seem i'm way off the point here, but the whole cross-gender issue can be applied to Dwarf-ladies, imagine the embarressing "accidents" when a potential courtier of a fine looking dwarf lass finds out to his horror or pleasant surprise (depending upon orientation) that what he has fallen for is a Man-Dwarf!
It seems to me that there must be some "secret" way that a Dwarf innately knows male from female to avert this kind event, otherwise it would surely be the in-joke among the humans and elves of Middle-Earth - Or do Dwarf Ladies have stick-on fake beards like in "The Life of Brian"...
Dis was the daughter of Thrain II. She is the only dwarf-woman named in these histories. It was said by Gimli that there are few dwarf-women, probably no more than a third of the whole people. They seldom walk abroad except at great need. They are in voice and appearance, and in garb if they must go on a journey, so like the dwarf-men that the eyes and ears of other peoples cannot tell them apart. This has given rise to the foolish opinion among Men thaat there are no dwarf-women, and that the Dwarves ’grow out of stone’.
From The Hobbit
His only comfort was that he couldn't be mistaken for a dwarf, as he had no beard.
Neither of these quotes say explicitly that the female dwarves had beards, it seems to be implied that they did. "Voice and appearance" and "cannot tell them apart" would indicate that they had beards if all male dwarves had beards. And the above quote from The Hobbit would indicate that all male (since all in Bilbo's party were maie) dwarves had beards.
If anyone has "Peoples of Middle Earth" it may be more clearly stated in that volume.
Go ask your precious Manw’ the answer
*runs and hides from the wrath of the mighty Vala: INCOMIIIING!!!*
Anyway, Tolkien explains much of the later decline of the Dwarves attributing to the fact that there were very few dwarf-women and, it seems, there were rarely a large number of children per couple. Therefore, unlike Men and, to a lesser extent elves, they suffered more from setbacks such as war and plunder because of the amount of time it took them to reach their former numbers.