Although covered in bristly hairs, their bodies and heads appear largely naked from a distance, with only the crest along the back, and the tufts on their cheeks and tails being obviously haired. The English name refers to their facial wattles, which are particularly distinct in males.

Warthogs have very distinct tusks, which reach a length of 25 to 60 cm in the males, but are always smaller in the females.