He will appear again in the upcoming Bolt: Omega Dog (TV Series). He will appear again in the upcoming Bolt 2: A Roar of Thunder! (Sequel).
Bolt's past isn't completely explained, but as a puppy, he was adopted by 8-year-old Penny from an animal rescue shelter, implying that he may have been separated from his mother at a young age.
When Bolt is 8-weeks-old Penny takes him in and names him Bolt, and they eventually become the stars of a live-action series.
To gain a more realistic performance, the TV producers have gone to extreme lengths to get Bolt to believe his his TV life, as well as his powers, are real in order to result in the most realistic performance out of him, and he doesn't get to live like a real dog. During the filming of a cliff-hanger, Bolt escapes under the belief that his arch-nemesis, Dr. Calico, has kidnapped Penny, and ends up shipped to New York in a package of Styrofoam packaging peanuts. Desperate to find Penny, he is directed by a trio of conspiring pigeons to a sassy alley cat named Mittens who bullies pigeons out of their food.
Since Calico has a thing for cats, Bolt believes Mittens is one of his agents and threatens her to tell him where Penny is. Deciding to play along after seeing Bolt's tags, Mittens directs him to Hollywood, but Bolt brings her along against her will.
Along the way, Bolt notices his "powers" aren't working, but he brushes it off as a side-effect of the Styrofoam from the box he was shipped, much like kryptonite for superman. He also experiences pain and hunger for the first time, and Mittens trains him to use "the Dogface" to beg for food when they end up at an RV park. While suckering people out of their food, they meet a TV-obsessed hamster named Rhino who is a huge fan of Bolt's show and like Bolt believes it is all real. He convinces Bolt to let him tag along and leads them to a bridge over a railroad after Bolt states they'll "need a fast set of wheels." When Rhino mentions a "magic box", Mittens finally realizes Bolt is a TV star, but is unable to convince Bolt when they're captured by animal control. Bolt breaks free but it turns out Rhino let him out of the truck's cage, and the lightning bolt on his fur smudges, which finally knocks the truth into Bolt, depressing him. But his spirits are lifted after a brief pep talk from Rhino (who has yet to realize the truth himself), and they manage to save Mittens from the pound. The trio continue their journey and along the way, Mittens teaches Bolt what it means to be a real dog and how to act like one, like playing fetch, sticking his heads out a car window, etc. At first, when he was feeling depressed when he thinks Mittens doesn't believe in him as a super dog, she also cheers him up at one point by letting him in on a "little known cat-secret". Cats hate dogs because they wanna be dogs as she explains dogs have the greatest gig in the world. But when they end up in Las Vegas, Mittens refuses to continue on and tries to convince Bolt that Penny is just an actress and doesn't love him, but Bolt refuses to believe that. Mittens then reveals, while ranting, that her owners abandoned her and left "their declawed cat to fend for herself". Bolt sadly says goodbye to Mittens and wishes her the best, and continues on alone. Rhino then convinces Mittens to follow Bolt with another inspiring speech and they are off to LA as well.
Upon arriving at the studio, Bolt is shocked to see Penny hugging a lookalike of himself and leaves with a broken heart, not realizing it was all a rehearsal and that Penny still misses him.
Outside the studio, he runs into Mittens who explains to him she was in there when it happened and saw that Penny missed Bolt when she cried a little while hugging her mother: Penny truly does love Bolt and misses him dearly. Bolt then suddenly hears something and senses something's wrong and that Penny is in danger. He, Mittens, and Rhino run to the studio, which is on fire due to the lookalike panicking and knocking over some torches, and Bolt makes it inside. He locates Penny and they share a heart-warming reunion which is cut short when they have to get out. Bolt leads Penny to an air-vent but she begins to succumb to smoke asphyxiation. Penny tells Bolt to save himself but he refuses to leave her side. Bolt then realizes his bark echoes out the vent and barks in to the vent alerting the firefighters to him and Penny's location before passing out. They're rescued and sent to the hospital, while Penny's mother informs their agent that they quit.
Some time later, Bolt's show jumps the shark with an alien abduction plotline with his lookalike, and a Penny lookalike starring in the show (the show explaining the new Penny's different appearance as a result of facial-reconstruction surgery) while Bolt and Penny haved moved to a rural home and neighborhood with Mittens and Rhino, who Penny has adopted, and Bolt finally gets to be a real dog, Penny's dog.
But most important of all, Bolt has learned something very important.
You don't need superpowers to be a hero, so long as you have courage to believe in yourself.