Rare biosphere represents the majority of Earth's biodiversity and performs vital ecological functions, yet little is known about its biogeographical patterns and community assembly processes in terrestrial ecosystems. Herein, we investigated the community composition and phylogeny of rare (relative abundance <0.1%) and abundant (>1%) bacteria in dryland grassland soils on the Tibetan Plateau. Results revealed similar biogeographical patterns of rare and abundant bacteria at both compositional and phylogenetic levels, but rare subcommunity was more heavily influenced by stochasticity (72%) than the abundant (57%). The compositional variation of rare bacteria was less explained by environmental factors (41%) than that of the abundant (80%), while the phylogeny of rare bacteria (36%) was more explained than that of the abundant (29%). The phylogeny of rare bacteria was equally explained by local factors (soil and vegetation) and geospatial distance (11.5% and 11.9% respectively), while that of the abundant was more explained by geospatial distance (22.1%) than local factors (11.3%). Furthermore, a substantially tighter connection between the community phylogeny and composition was observed in rare (R2 = 0.65) than in abundant bacteria (R2 = 0.08). Our study provides novel insights into the assembly processes and biographical patterns of rare and abundant bacteria in dryland soils.