An abnormal development of the epidermis of the footpad was observed in Irish terriers. At the age of six months, the affected animals developed smooth parchment-like footpads. The pad epidermis then hardened and grew lateral cone-like protrusions of up to 5 mm in diameter. Fissures and cracks developed and these predisposed the animal to secondary infection. The repeated occurrence in subsequent generations led to the assumption of a hereditary form of hyperkeratosis. Evidence for an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance was derived from a retrospective analysis of the breeder's records. The clinical, histopathological and ultrastructural features of the disease are presented and the genetic transmission and its implications discussed.