Hereditary Footpad Hyperkeratosis

Hereditary Footpad Hyperkeratosis (HFH) is a skin disorder, with disease signs including hard, thickened, and cracked footpads and an abnormal coat.

Found in

1 in 5,000 dogs

in our testing

Key Signs

Hard and cracked footpads, A dull and softer (less wiry) coat

Age of Onset

0 to 2 yrs

Juvenile onset


Autosomal Recessive

For autosomal recessive disorders, dogs with two copies of the variant are at risk of developing the condition. Dogs with one copy of the variant are considered carriers and are usually not at risk of developing the disorder. However, carriers of some complex variants grouped in this category may be associated with a low risk of developing the disorder. Individuals with one or two copies may pass the disorder-associated variant to their puppies if bred.

Likelihood of the Condition

High likelihood

At risk dogs are highly likely to show signs of this disease in their lifetime.

What to Do

Here’s how to care for a dog with HFH

Partner with your veterinarian to make a plan regarding your dog’s well-being, including any insights provided through genetic testing. If your pet is at risk or is showing signs of this disorder, then the first step is to speak with your veterinarian.

For Veterinarians

Here’s what a vet needs to know about HFH

Hereditary footpad hyperkeratosis is a progressive condition characterized by dry and thickened footpads. The clinical signs include painful cracks and fissures on the footpads that may lead to secondary infections and lameness. Horny protrusions can be observed on all footpads. Affected dogs often avoid walking on rough surfaces. The signs result from abnormal keratinous proliferation of cells of the skin. Typical signs of hereditary footpad hyperkeratosis are observable in all four feet by the age of 4-5 months. Other characteristic signs are hard nails that seem to grow fast and a soft, dull, and less wiry coat.

Dogs suffering from HFH have a normal lifespan if the footpads and nails are monitored closely and cared for appropriately.

For Breeders

Planning to breed a dog with this genetic variant?

There are many responsibilities to consider when breeding dogs. Regardless of test results it is important that your dog is in good general health and that you are in a position to care for the puppies if new responsible owners are not found. For first time or novice breeders, advice can be found at most kennel club websites.

This disease is autosomal recessive meaning that two copies of the mutation are needed for disease signs to occur. A carrier dog with one copy of the HFH mutation can be safely bred with a clear dog with no copies of the HFH mutation. About half of the puppies will have one copy (carriers) and half will have no copies of the HFH mutation. A dog with two copies of the HFH mutation can be safely bred with a clear dog. The resulting puppies will all be carriers. Puppies in a litter which is expected to contain carriers should be tested prior to breeding. Carrier to carrier matings are not advised as the resulting litter may contain affected puppies. Please note: It is possible that disease signs similar to the ones caused by the HFH mutation could develop due to a different genetic or clinical cause.

Technical Details

Gene FAM83G
Variant G>C
Chromosome 5
Coordinate 41,055,619

All coordinates reference CanFam3.1

References & Credit

Credit to our scientific colleagues:

Drögemüller, M., Jagannathan, V., Becker, D., Drögemüller, C., Schelling, C., Plassais, J., … Leeb, T. (2014). A Mutation in the FAM83G Gene in Dogs with Hereditary Footpad Hyperkeratosis (HFH). PLoS Genetics, 10(5). View the article