13 Main Difference between Shark and Dolphin with Similarities

What is the difference between shark and dolphin?

Most of us love spending the weekend along the beach. The fin of dolphin and shark from a distance can arouse panic among many people. The majority of people do not know how to tell the difference between dolphins and sharks.

The lesson provides detailed insight into the difference between shark and dolphin with a comparison table. You can use the comparison video to get more information on these aquatic animals.

difference between shark and dolphin

What Is a Shark?

A shark is an aquatic animal that looks like fish and belongs to the class of Chondrichthyes. They are quite common in oceans but some species can survive in freshwater.

According to research, there are about 450 species present in the world. The type of fish tends to scare a lot of people who love going to the beach.

Characteristics of Sharks

  1. They are cold-blooded fish
  2. Have a muscular and streamlined body
  3. Skeleton has cartilage
  4. Have gill slits for breathing
  5. Feed on fish, seals, and penguins.

What Is a Dolphin?

A dolphin is an aquatic mammal that belongs to Cetaceans. These aquatic mammals are quite intelligent and friendly to human beings.

They spend most of the time in the water due to the presence of many aquatic features. They are quite playful especially when they encounter human beings in the water.

Characteristics of Dolphins

  1. Quite intelligent and playful
  2. Show friendly behaviors to humans
  3. Quite common in warm and tropical marine habitat
  4. Have teeth and grey
  5. There about 67 species of dolphin
  6. Give birth to young ones

Comparison Chart: Shark vs Dolphin

Basic Terms Sharks Dolphin
Classification Fish Mammal
Thermoregulation Cold-blooded Warm-blooded
Respiration Organ Gills Lungs
Type of Reproduction Ovoviviparity viviparity
Skeleton Made up of cartilage Made up of bones
Teeth Several row teeth Single row teeth
Digestive System Shorter intestines Longer intestines
Behavior Solitary hunters Friendly to humans
Mouth Located in the skull Located in front of the skull
Skin Quite rough due to denticles Quite smooth and streamline
Intelligence Less intelligent Quite intelligent
Fin Have vertical tail fin Have horizontal tail fluke
Habitat Cannot survive for longer in water with less salt Can survive in rivers

Core Difference between Shark and Dolphin 

  1. Sharks are fish while dolphins are mammals
  2. Sharks are cold-blooded while dolphin are warm-blooded
  3. Dolphin breathe through lungs while shark breath through gills
  4. Sharks reproduce by ovoviviparity while dolphin by viviparity reproduction type
  5. Skeleton of shark is made up of cartilage while that of dolphin made up of bones
  6. Sharks have several rows of teeth while dolphin has a single row of teeth
  7. Sharks have shorter digestive system while dolphin have a longer digestive system
  8. Sharks are solitary hunters while dolphin are friendly to humans
  9. The mouth of sharks is located in the skull while the mouth of dolphin is in front of the skull as snout
  10. Sharks have rough skin while dolphin have smooth skin
  11. Sharks are less intelligent while dolphin are quite intelligent
  12. Sharks have vertical tail fin while dolphin has a horizontal tail fluke
  13. Dolphin can survive in the river while shark cannot survive in water with less salt

Read More: Difference between Hawk and Eagle

Comparison Video



Sharks are fish which are natural predators while dolphin is mammals which are socially friendly. Dolphin tends to nurse babies while sharks do not nurse babies.

Read More: Difference between Wasp and Hornet 

Leave a Comment