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->''"Did you know dolphins need to be in a pool with other dolphins? It's a law, because they're so social... like us... or me, anyway."''
-->-- '''Hazel''', ''Film/DolphinTale''

In most media, especially most fiction, dolphins are portrayed as playful creatures, who will easily befriend humans and like to play around in the water with them.

In real life, the extent of this varies. Tame dolphins are usually trained to be like this, and stories of friendly behaviour by wild dolphins abound and predate dolphin training. However, wild dolphins are often hard to predict, and like any other animal, they can be dangerous. Experts recommend keeping your distance from them.

Sometimes overlaps with HeroicDolphin, or SapientCetaceans, or both. Compare SweetSeal, PlayfulOtter, and WarmHeartedWalrus for other friendly sea mammals.

Contrast with DeviousDolphins.
!! Examples:


* Keyop in ''Anime/BattleOfThePlanets'' befriends a playful dolphin.
* Haru from ''Anime/RealDrive'' loved to swim with a dolphin as a boy.
* Tiffa in ''Anime/AfterWarGundamX'' goes swimming with some dolphins at one point. It helps that one of their number is apparently a psychic Newtype dolphin, allowing Tiffa to telepathically communicate with it.

[[folder:Classical Mythology]]
* Boys riding dolphins were a common mottif in Roman and Greek art and literature and in latter art inspired by Classical themes. In some of the stories, the boys are in fact gods or demigods. [[http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Palaimon.html Palaimon]] and Cupid are common choices. However, there were also stories of mortal boys that befriended dolphins and rode them. Pliny the Younger's letter include [[http://www.bartleby.com/9/4/1107.html such a tale]] of a boy in the North African town of Hippo. According to the tale, while swimming, the boy was befriended by a dolphin that allowed him to ride it.

* In ''Series/BloodDolphins'', Ric O'Barry claims that he brought a TV to the end of a dock, and the dolphins (that he had trained) would watch ''Series/{{Flipper}}'' with him.
* ZeusAndRoxanne, the movie about the friendship between a dog and a dolphin.
* ''Film/DolphinTale'' definitely applies this trope strongly to Winter, and indicates it for other aquarium dolphins as well.
* Averted in ''Film/DayOfTheDolphin'', when two dolphins are trained to assassinate the President.
* ''Eye of the Dolphin'' is about a 14 year old who bonds with a wild dolphin.

* In ''Into the Deep'' by Ken Grimwood a marine biologist learns from her dolphin friends that there is an earth threatening disaster.
* In ''Whispers from the Bay'' Mike Connely becomes friends with talking dolphins that show him their "top secret world".
* ''Dolphin Boy'' is about a boy who won't speak meets a lost dolphin. Trapped in loneliness, a bond of friendship grows between them that leads the way to happiness and freedom for both the boy and the dolphin.
* ''Dolphin Boy Blue'' takes place in the sparkling blue waters of the Australian ocean, a boy and a dolphin develop a very special friendship
* In ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'', this trope is why dolphins are a SuperiorSpecies -- while humans went around having wars and inventing the wheel, dolphins just splashed about in the water having a good time. Their final message to humanity[[note]]So long, and thanks for all the fish[[/note]] was misinterpreted as 'a sophisticated attempt to jump through a hoop while whistling The Star-Spangled Banner'.
* In ''Literature/TheMagicTreehouse: Dolphins At Day Break'', Jack and Annie are saved by friendly dolphins that allow Jack and Annie to ride them.
* ''Dolphin Tale: The Junior Novel'' is, as is apparent from the title, based on [[Film/DolphinTale the movie]].
* ''Riding the Storm Dolphin Diaries 3'' involves a girl finding buried treasure with her dolphin friend.
* ''Dolphin Song'' is about a girl who becomes friends with dolphins and learns how to communicate with them.
* There's also another book called ''Dolphin Song'' which is the second book in ''The White Giraffe'' series. The main character, a girl called Martine -- who holds a special gift with animals -- falls overboard during a storm while on a school trip aboard a boat. Several other students also fall overboard, and they are all rescued by a pod of dolphins who remain friendly to them throughout.
* A diver becomes friends with a dolphin pod after saving one of their babies in ''Dolphin Freedom''.
* ''Fast-Talking Dolphin'' is about a boy who befriends a dolphin that can talk and needs the boy to use his skills to save his life.
* In ''Dolphin Knight'', a girl bonds with a dolphin knight who helps her overcome her fear of water.
* Johnny Clinton is taken on an under sea tour by intelligent dolphins in ''Dolphin Island'' by Creator/ArthurCClarke.
* In ''Aka'' by Tristan Jones, the protagonist Conan is saved from drowning by dolphins.
* ''Maddy's Dolphin'' is about a girl who bonds with a talking dolphin. They have been friends ever since the dolphin saved Maddy from drowning.
* The young adult novel ''The Music of Dolphins'' features a [[WildChild girl raised by a pod of dolphins]]. Discussion of dolphin behavior and social structure ensues.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'':
** The series portrays the dolphin mind as inherently joyous and playful. The gang sometimes have trouble getting control over the morph for a few minutes because of this, although they still enjoy using it.
** This even becomes a bit of a plot point in the final book of the series -- [[spoiler:Jake is suffering from some pretty heavy PTSD, so his friends trick him into morphing a dolphin as a kind of intervention.]]
* In Discworld/TheLastHero Evil Harry Dread (a wannabe EvilOverlord) was conned into buying a pod of these for his SharkPool.
-->"I should've known better when Johnny No Hands ''told'' me they were sharks that hadn't grown all their fins yet, but all they did was swim around squeaking happily and start beggin' for fish. When I throw people into a torture tank it's to be torn to bits, not to get in touch with their inner self and be one with the cosmos."
* ''The Dolphins of Pern'', part of the ''Literature/DragonridersOfPern'' series, is about a group of people discovering the fact that "shipfish" are actually genetically engineered dolphins[[note]]They had been enhanced to have speech capabilities, as well as near-human intelligence[[/note]] who had been brought to Pern as colonists. They are hard workers when it's something they consider important, but otherwise they are carefree and love to play with each other and humans.
* [[UpliftedAnimal Neo-dolphins]] in the ''Literature/{{Uplift}}'' series are definitely playful, if lecherous, but "friendly" varies from 'fin to 'fin, just like other people.
* {{Subverted|Trope}} in Alastair Reynolds' ''Literature/ChasmCity''. The first of the Sky Haussman flashback episode introduces you to children Sky and Constanza who evade their parents' oversight to go visit the dolphins who are kept in the spaceship they live in. That looks very cute and slightly cliché... until you meet the dolphins, who after being used as experimental subjects by a radical transhumanist group and then kept and bred in captivity for centuries, have turned sadistic and totally psychotic.

* Darwin the Dolphin on ''Series/SeaquestDSV''.
* {{Series/Flipper}} the dolphin is a playful friendly dolphin, apart from being a helpful HeroicDolphin.
* ''Dolphin Cove'' introduced a man and his son and emotionally-disturbed daughter who move to Australia, where the daughter develops a special rapport with two wild dolphins.

* One of the animal species that ComicStrip/{{Popeye}} must rescue in ''Pinball/PopeyeSavesTheEarth'' are the dolphins.
* The playfield for the "Aquatic Adventure" table in ''VideoGame/ObsessionPinball'' shows a smiling cartoon dolphin.

[[folder: Toys]]
* Flash the Dolphin was one of the original nine Toys/BeanieBabies, and at least three have followed (Docks, Echo, Starboard). There are also several orca Beanie Babies.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the {{Creator/Sierra}} game ''VideoGame/EcoQuest'', befriending a dolphin is what leads the main character on his adventure.
* ''VideoGame/{{Petz}} Wild Animals Dolphinz'' is about training and taking care of dolphins. ''Petz Dolphinz Encounter'' allows the player to swim with wild dolphins.
* ''Aquapets 101 Dolphin Pets'' is a game where you can raise 101 different types of dolphins and play with them
* The ''VideoGame/EndlessOcean'' games naturally feature dolphins and larger cetaceans from various locations. You can befriend certain dolphins.
** ''Endless Ocean Blue World'' allows much more interaction with dolphins. You can tame them and take them with you on dives, where they can tow you faster than you can swim and help find items. You can also teach them to do tricks and put on shows at your island. You tame two species during the story, and can tame more with sidequests later. This game is also somewhat notable for simply having dolphins other than Bottlenose dolphins.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' has a dolphin that will help you get to Junon.
* ''[[VideoGame/WaveRace Wave Race 64]]'' has dolphins appearing in certain courses, most notably in Dolphin Park, in which the tutorial consists of following a dolphin. A code allows you to ''ride a dolphin'' in that course.
* In ''VideoGame/BanjoKazooie'', there's a dolphin that's [[AndroclesLion trapped under an anchor]] ''[[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill in grimy toxic water]]''. Swimming up into the ship and slamming the button to drag the anchor off of him causes him to thank you by leaving behind a [[MacGuffin Jiggy]].
* Mike rescues a dolphin in the second stage of ''VideoGame/StarTropics''. [[spoiler:[[AndroclesLion It returns the favor at the end of the game]]]].
* Helena swims with a dolphin in her ''VideoGame/DeadOrAlive 3'' ending cinematic.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'' has yellow dolphins that swim alongside the train while it's going over water. They squeak and jump out of the water when you blow the whistle, and they are ''adorable''. If you keep blowing your whistle, they give you hearts to heal your train.
* In ''VideoGame/RobotUnicornAttack'', a dolphin appears for each 5,000 points you earn. [[spoiler:(They don't really do anything.)]]
* ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' features dolphins that jump around you in Sonic's Stage One, Emerald Coast, if you're looking in right place at the right time. The appearance of these dolphins and their numbers seems to be performance based, or it might be random.
* The first two ''VideoGame/EccoTheDolphin'' games nearly avert it (the lone exception being Ecco being challenged to jump really high by a podmate), since the dolphins in question are in the middle of a war with space aliens, but ''[[OddballInTheSeries Ecco Jr.]]'' is about baby dolphins romping around, and ''Defender of the Future'' has a few playful minigames.
* Goggle-wearing dolphins show up in the game ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld''. They don't harm Mario (intentionally) and can be used as platforms. [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential And Yoshi can eat them.]]

* Initially played straight in ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'' when a pod of dolphins rescues Agent Bearclaw from the middle of the ocean. [[spoiler: Averted when they shoot him after reaching land. To be fair, he deserved it.]]
* ''Strongly'' [[http://www.bogleech.com/awfulhospital/climax-balmerdolphind7.png averted]] in ''{{Website/Bogleech}}'''s ''Webcomic/AwfulHospital''. Dolphins are the gleefully sadistic and violent servants of the Old Flesh, but even the Parliament, as best we can tell, can't do much more than point them in the desired direction and get out of the way as the dolphins destroy anything and everything they come across for no reason beyond 'fun'. Also, they reproduce parasitically and [[http://www.bogleech.com/awfulhospital/743.html emerge from their hosts]] in a manner not dissimilar to a [[{{Franchise/Alien}} chestburster.]] This is a running theme in Bog's works; see {{WebOriginal/Mortasheen}} below.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Averted (and combined with a dose of HumansAreTheRealMonsters) in {{WebOriginal/Mortasheen}} by [[{{Website/Bogleech}} Jonathan Wojcik]]. The 'Dolfury' monster is said to be a genetic combination of dolphin and human that was deemed 'too violent and cruel' to watch over ''human livestock'' by its [[OurVampiresAreDifferent octopus-vampire]] creator, who tried and failed to have them exterminated. They're regarded in-universe as one of the few examples of 'true evil' in a setting where BlueAndOrangeMorality is so prevalent that 'evil' as a concept practically doesn't exist anymore. Also, like Wojcik's other example above, they reproduce parasitically.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Hank Hill meets an OVERLY friendly playful dolphin in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill''.
* Aquaman's dolphin in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold.''
* In ''WesternAnimation/FlipperAndLopaka'', Lopaka is Flipper's best friend and they go on many adventures together.
* ''Zoom the White Dolphin'' is about a white dolphin who is friends with two children who live with their sailor uncle.
* Inverted in one of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' Treehouse of Horror episodes, where an army of dolphins kill or kick everyone out of Springfield.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Some scientific explanations of wild dolphin behavior subvert this. For example, male dolphins typically leave the pod when they mature to pursue a solitary life or a life with other males. Sometimes, when males refuse to leave the pod, the females will push the males above the water line and expose them to the sun. Too much sun-exposure can be very uncomfortable for the dolphins, so this convinces the males to swim away. Sometimes, they will do the same thing to humans, possibly mistaking the humans for males that refuse to leave the pod. Of course, humans aren't threatened by prolonged exposure to the sun, so they think the dolphins are swimming with them, when really the dolphins are trying to drive them away.
* Dolphins blow [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMCf7SNUb-Q bubble rings.]]
* There was an Australian surfer who went under the breakers and lost his board, only to be saved by a lone dolphin who not only kept him afloat and guided him towards the shore, but also chased off a shark.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opo_%28dolphin%29 Opo]] the friendly dolphin of Opononi.
* [[http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19950830&slug=2138965 Tiao]] started out friendly but eventually (accidentally) killed a swimmer who was harassing him.
* [[http://www.dodingle.com/Activities/fungi_dingle_dolphin.html Fungie]] the Dingle Dolphin.
* There are a number of instances of orcas (which are a species of dolphin) behaving friendly and playfully toward humans. One notable example is Keiko, the orca who starred in ''Film/FreeWilly''. Even after he was released to the wild, he was very friendly toward humans, and even let children ride on his back. Unfortunately, this meant that he failed to fully adapt back to the wild and died at the age of 27.
** Despite this, captive orcas can still be dangerous animals if maltreated. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilikum_(orca) Tilikum,]] for example, has killed three people while in captivity. He is believed to have been severely traumatized by his capture at the age of 1 and by the early years of his captivity, which he never fully recovered from.
*** Ironically two of these deaths were caused because he wanted to play with humans, [[DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength but did not know that they were easily breakable and couldn't survive long underwater.]] The exact circumstances of one of the deaths is unknown, because the victim had covertly stayed in the park after it closed and then [[TooDumbToLive snuck past the guards to swim with the orcas]]. It's also possible that in the first instance he wasn't trying to play, but to defend the two other whales in the tank (who unknown to the trainers were both pregnant).