In the books, throughout their history, they've either lived on the Isle of Berk or the Island of Tomorrow. Their current Chief in the books is Stoick the Vast, and his son Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is the current King of the Wilderwest.
Unlike the movie, the Hairy Hooligans have trained dragons before the life of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, and kept them as pets to hunt with or fish with. In fact, to be an official member of the tribe, one must find a dragon, capture it, and train it.
Strangely, almost the entire population of the Hooligan tribe appears to be men and boys, with the only woman mentioned being Stoick's wife, the great Hero Valhallarama. Hypothetically, there must be more women, or they would not be able to keep their population up. Possibly Hiccup simply doesn't interact with any of the women.
Although the Hooligan Tribe has no official prominence above the other tribes, it has been the effective leader of the entire archipelago since the days of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock I. Almost every King of the Wilderwest rose from the Hairy Hooligans, and even after the kingdom disintegrated the Hooligans' exceptional Bashyball skills allowed them to consistently dominate proceedings at the Thing.
The Hooligan Tribe has an official salute, describe in How to Be a Pirate.
|“||DEATH OR GLORY!" yelled Stoick the Vast, performing the complicated Hooligan salute, which consists of making a slitting motion across your own throat while letting out a fart like a clap of thunder.||”|
|— Book 2|
Hairy Hooligan Members yell congratulations to another tribe member by chanting their name three times, followed by three "ughs". This is demonstrated in "How to Be a Pirate" when Snotlout find Grimbeard the Ghastly's treasure chest on the Isle of the Skullions.
|“||SNOT-LOUT SNOT-LOUT SNOT-LOUT, UGH UGH UGH.||”|
|— Hooligan treasure-seekers to Snotlout|
Hooligans have lived on Berk ever since the day when the Great Hairybottom landed on its shores and lost his boot in the bog, declaring that there will be barbarians in the archipelago as long as his boot remains in the bog. The Hooligan National Anthem commemorates that event.
The Hooligans run a Pirate Training Program and a shorter Dragon Initiation Program on the Isle, to teach the Tribe's children topics ranging from Badd Sppeling to Frightening Foreigners. It is unclear what the Hooligans actually do for a living apart from fighting, but the abundance of fish in Hiccup's diet suggests an economic base.
Berk is an absolute monarchy, led by a chief. It is worth noting, however, that although the chief has no legal checks on his power, Hooligans are unlikely to carry out unpopular orders. The current chief was Stoick the Vast who lived in the Hooligan Village with his son, Hiccup, and his wife, Valhallarama, until the little isle's population was enslaved and removed. But after the second dragon war, Stoick and the rest of the Hooligans returned to Berk to rebuild.
Chieftains of Many Generations (In Order)
- Hiccup Horrendous Haddock I (also King of Wilderwest)
- Grimbeard the Ghastly (also King of Wilderwest)
- Stoick the Vast
- Snotface Snotlout (only for a year)