Never kept any other sort, so I can't really compare.
I had an old pair for at lest two years. inseprable, they were. He started to look old and we know he was going. We also knew that if he died, she would be lost without him. We were right. She died a few days later. I can honestly say that it was quite upsetting.
They really do have personallities of their own. They don't only act upon inate behaviour.
That's a really really tough one, as gouramis are probably my second favorite fish (after loaches). That said, while there are good things to be said about pearls, moonlights, true gouramis, dwarfs, honeys, and sparkiling, my favorite is probably the ubiqitous blue gourami in the Opaline color morph. They're big, but not too big, aggressive but not too aggressive, colorful without being cartoonish, and they have definite personality. I found pearls to be much too timid for my liking, and as gorgeous as moonlights are, I understand they are even more timid.
ide have to say dwarf because my dwarf gourami is so cool if i come into the room he goes to the fron of the tank and folows me, also he races around my 30l biOrb in... well the quickest time i ever got was 1.12 seconds when i had my betta they used to race eachother. and i love my dwarf gourami because hes called heinikin, what a name