Cleft palate is "a birth defect of the nasal and oral cavities...caused by a failure of the bones of the palate to form completely. It results in an opening from the oral to the nasal cavity, allowing food and liquid to pass between." The vets note that many puppies with this condition cannot adequately nurse, and survival becomes dependant upon hand feeding, if it all. If you think your dog has this condition a vet should be consulted or if any of the above conditions are present. Often times, this condition is diagnosed at birth and many puppies with this condition will be put down then. It may be hereditary, but solid proof on that is still up in the air. Consult your vet for more information on this condition!
Thanks for the picture Kelly!