Well, yes and no. Some Pokemon are based off of real animals. Take Staryu, for example. It's fairly clear that it's a seastar, and given the special ability of water shooting and psychic controlling. Seel is quite obviously based off the animal of a seal, except with water and ice abilities.
Then there are some Pokemon like Wobuffett which is not based on a real animal at all. Rather, it's just based off the concept of countering and passive battling. I love Pokemon too, and I think it's interesting that some of them can be thought up of through concepts and not just real life objects.