Are werewolves real?

I mean, are there animals that are a bit like that, or are they totally made up?

Totally made up. One interesting possible source for the myth that I have read are the giant lemurs that used to live on the island of Madagascar. They went extinct not long after the island was first settled by humans and there is evidence that stories of these large animals made it back to ancient Europe via traders and explorers.

There are also stories of dog-headed people that have been around for a while and simialr to Brent's comments, these are supposedly linked to sailors seeing animals like baboons - that are obviously primates and so human-like (with grasping hands, capable of falking on two legs etc.) but do have a rather dog-like snout and are covered in fur.

The origins of the werewolf myth are tied up in things like these and doubtless many others (there is a medical condition that can cause people to grow fur all over their bodies for example), but it is a myth.

I'm always a little hesitant to link mythical animals (like werewolves) to imaginative or superstitious interpretations of real ones (like lemurs or baboons), unless the myths include details that clearly support the link. If eastern European folk tales said that werewolves had brightly coloured rumps and lived in Africa, I'd believe that the folk tales were based on baboons.

Traditional stories about people turning into animals (or vice-versa) are so common that I don't think there's any real need to look for something in the natural world that could have inspired the idea of lycanthropy. Of course, sightings of lemurs, baboons and very hairy people might have reinforced the myths and added to their credibility.

But yes, werewolves are completely imaginary.

I did used to have a book on such myths and fables that included a medieval drawing of a dog-headed man and it did look like it *could* have come from a baboon or similar.

I do think it credible (if of course impossible to prove) that sailors (who would hardly have been experts in biology, especially way back when) might have seen such animals and considered them half-man half animal and help drive or reinforce the myths, though probably not the origin for them I agree. Though it's a good point that people changing into animals are almost universal in a wide variety of cultures.