A view of an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin from the side.

Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are medium to brownish gray in color. Their backs are generally darker than the rest of the body, and their bellies may be white, dull white, or light pink. A bottlenose dolphin has a prominent rostrum projecting from a round and slightly slanted melon. Their pectoral (side) flippers are triangular and slightly concave on the back edges. Their dorsal (top) fin is normally a very similar shape to that of the flippers; however, every individual bottlenose dolphin has a unique dorsal fin – no two fins are alike.

Different subspecies of bottlenose dolphin may be shaped slightly different, but they all are very similar.