- Info: When Dolphin Watching in Los Angeles the Common Dolphin can often be seen jumping and wake riding our boats. There are two types of Common Dolphins, the short beaked and long beaked. Common dolphins are noted by their intricate coloring. From head to tail, their color ranges from gray forming a pattern of a V below their dorsal fin. Their sides are gray below the dorsal fin and a beige color from the dorsal to head and the belly is white. Short beaked and long beaked common dolphins can be differentiated by their foreheads. Short beaked common dolphins have a rounder forehead that meets their beak at a sharper angle while the long beaked common dolphin has a thinner forehead that meet its beak at a more gradual angle. Southern California Common Dolphin Behavior Common Dolphins are very social, traveling in pods of up to 50 and will many times congregate with other pods to form schools that can range in the thousands. These schools have a tendency to be very active, jumping and playing together. When they are playing, they will often breach the surface of the ocean, and swim along the bows of ships on their wakes. They are incredibly fast swimmers, able to reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. They have also been known to travel with other dolphins and even whales. It is thought that they learned how to bow ride on the wake of ships and boats by riding the wake of larger whales. They are also very affectionate. They will take care of their sick and make friends with other dolphins, showing genuine affection for them. When a member of the group dies, common dolphins will display sadness and longing for their friend. The more mature dolphins will also take care of younger dolphins, acting as teachers and mothers will share responsibilities for the young.