I mentioned to friends that I often like my SF to be somehow Traveller-esque, that is in the style of the Traveller role-playing game setting, and this was the recommendation that followed.
And my friends were right - 'The Pride of Chanur' is _very_ Traveller-esque. The setup is a family-owned merchant ship (the 'Pride' of the title) and that of course is the basic setup for many a Traveller campaign. Even more Traveller-esque is the alien race who own the Pride. The hani are lion-oids, and pretty damn close to being direct copies of Traveller's Aslan.
Or vice versa.
The Aslan first appeared (as far as I'm aware) in issue 7 of the Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society in 1981 and 'The Pride of Chanur' was apparently first published in an issue of 'Science Fiction Digest', also in 1981. And the Aslan and the Hani really are very similar in appearance and very similar in culture. It could be a coincidence - both creators essentially thinking along the same lines when imagining a lion-oid spacefaring race perhaps.
It's a pretty good setting. The twist is that it's a setting where humans are the weird aliens, and this twist is presented well. The hani are also fleshed out well. However, the other alien races don't come into this first (of seven, although there are other books set in a different part of the same universe) book enough to make much of an impact.
Ultimately I was somewhat disappointed by The Pride of Chanur. I really wanted to like it because it is so Traveller-esque. At 200+ pages, it's not a long novel, but neither is it a very short one and I just didn't feel that much happened. It was originally published in a shorter format and subsequently lengthened to novel length. I don't know if this is the reason, but the book feels 'padded', like an old Doctor Who serial where the writer was asked at a late stage to make it a six-parter not a four-parter.
So, conclusion: Interesting setting, well-developed main race let down by poor pacing. I will read the next one, just not imminently.