The warthog is a medium-sized species, with a head-and-body length ranging from 0.9 to 1.5 m (3.0 to 4.9 ft), and shoulder height from 63.5 to 85 cm (25.0 to 33.5 in). Females, at 45 to 75 kg (99 to 165 lb), are typically a bit smaller and lighter in weight than males, at 60 to 150 kg (130 to 330 lb). A warthog is identifiable by the two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth and curving upwards. The lower pair, which is far shorter than the upper pair, becomes razor-sharp by rubbing against the upper pair every time the mouth is opened and closed. The upper canine teeth can grow to 25.5 cm (10.0 in) long and have a wide elliptical cross section, being about 4.5 cm (1.8 in) deep and 2.5 cm (0.98 in) wide. A tusk will curve 90° or more from the root, and will not lie flat on a table, as it curves somewhat backwards as it grows. The tusks are not used for digging, but are used for combat with other hogs, and in defense against predators – the lower set can inflict severe wounds.
Common warthogs are not territorial, but instead occupy a home range. Common warthogs live in groups called sounders. Females live in sounders with their young and with other females. Females tend to stay in their natal groups, while males leave, but stay within the home range. Subadult males associate in bachelor groups, but live alone when they become adults. Adult males only join sounders with estrous females. Warthogs have two facial glands: the tusk gland and the sebaceous gland. Common warthogs of both sexes begin to mark around six to seven months old. Males tend to mark more than females. They mark sleeping and feeding areas and waterholes. Common warthogs use tusk marking for courtship, for antagonistic behaviors, and to establish status.