DNA-binding with one finger (Dof) proteins are a large family of transcription factors involved in a variety of biological processes in plants. In rice, 30 different Dof genes have been identified through genome analysis. Here we report the functional characteristics of a rice Dof gene, OsDof12, which encodes a predicted Dof protein. The nuclear localization of OsDof12 was investigated by the transient expression assays of the OsDof12-GFP fusion protein in onion epidermal cells. Trans-activation assays in a yeast one-hybrid system indicated that OsDof12 had transcriptional activity. RNA expression analyses showed that the expression of OsDof12 was not tissue-specific in general and fluctuated at different development stages in rice. In addition, OsDof12 was strongly inhibited by dark treatments. The transgenic lines overexpressing OsDof12 showed early flowering under long-day (LD) conditions, whereas OsDof12 overexpression had no effect on flowering time under short-day (SD) conditions. In transgenic lines overexpressing OsDof12, the transcription levels of Hd3a and OsMADS14 were up-regulated under LD conditions but not SD conditions, whereas the expression of Hd1, OsMADS51, Ehd1 and OsGI did not change under LD and SD conditions. These results suggested that OsDof12 might regulate flowering by controlling the expression of Hd3a and OsMADS14.