Dolphins are crucial for the success of dolphin assisted therapy.

The therapy centres cooperating with dolphin aid have common bottlenose dolphins as fully-fledged team members.
Common bottlenose dolphins are known for their kindness, curiosity, willingness to learn and socialising with humans. Characteristics that make them the perfect partners for this kind of therapy.

Common bottlenose dolphins

Facts about the characteristics and way of life of these special mammals

The common bottlenose dolphin – the best known among the dolphins – may be, once full grown, between 1.7 and 4 meters long and weighs between 150 and 300 kilograms, sporadically even up to 500 kilograms. The dorsal fin is approximately 20 centimetres long, and the tail fin around 60 centimetres. Usually, the upper side of the body is black, blueish or grey, the bottom side is lighter. A special characteristic, that distinguishes the common bottlenose dolphin from other dolphins, is his seven- to eight-centimetre-long snout which is shorter compared to other species.

Common bottlenose dolphins have a highly developed brain which isn’t inferior to the human one.


The diet mainly contains fish, rays, cephalopods and crabs.


The gestation period averages eleven to twelve months. A new-born bottlenose dolphin is around one metre long and weighs twelve to thirty kilograms. They are born with their tails out first so they won’t drown. Right after birth, the mother pushes the new-born towards the water surface. The young dolphins get independent from their mother between six and twelve months. Females sexually mature at ages six to ten years, males at ages ten to twelve years.

A word about animal welfare

One of the fundamental requirements of dolphin assisted therapy’s success is the species-appropriate husbandry of dolphins. This is why dolphin aid holds animal welfare dear.

Since its foundation, dolphin aid has set great value on the protection of animal welfare and has taken it as its basis – at a time, when the rescue and protection of dolphins hasn’t been discussed broadly in Germany.

To implement the morally, ethically and professionally demanding contents, dolphin aid has elaborated ground-breaking guidelines to certify therapy centres. The organisation watches their implementation.

It is currently an important part of our work to fix those guidelines as mandatory EU guidelines for the execution of dolphin assisted therapy. We have significantly contributed to sensitise the public to the uniqueness of dolphins.

The therapy centres certified by dolphin aid implement ethical husbandry, which is a symbiosis between humans and animal welfare, exemplary.

dolphin aid disapproves of catching free dolphins for the purpose of therapy. In our therapy centres, we exclusively work with domesticated animals that have been born in the respective therapy centre and are used to interact with human from the beginning.

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