The colour pattern on the body is very characteristic of the common dolphin, with an hour-glass pattern on each side coloured light grey, yellow or gold in the front and dirty grey in the back.
Short-beaked common dolphins can live in aggregations of hundreds of dolphins, and they even sometimes associate with other dolphin species, such as pilot whales. They are very fast and playful animals, and breaching behaviour, aerial acrobatics and bow riding are common. They are very social animals and engage in most necessary activities such as traveling, eating, and breathing together. When some individuals are sick, others in the group assist them by using their fins to help keep them afloat so they survive.
This is a resident species in the Strait of Gibraltar, and its distribution is disperse, being closer to coast than other species. They can also be found in the inner bay of Algeciras throughout the year. In Cork county waters, however, they can only be seen on the second half of the year (August to December). In Canary Islands common dolphins appear by the end of November and stay until the end of May. They are more frequently seen in the channels between Tenerife and Gran Canaria, and North-East of Lanzarote.